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DMRF Fellowship in Population Health Research

In partnership with the Healthy Populations Institute

With funding provided by Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, HPI has selected four $10,000 Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Winners for 2020-2021. These highly qualified candidates are in a postdoctoral program supervised by an HPI research scholar and all have a population health research focus. Our hope is that these awards help to support these post docs to thrive in the interdisciplinary, collaborative network of population health researchers at HPI.

We are thrilled to announce the winners below.


Hilary Caldwell

HPI Supervisor: Sara Kirk

Hilary’s post-doctoral work will contribute to two of HPI’s Flagship Projects: Developing Meaningful Indicators to Measure Population Health and Health Equity in Health Systems and, Designing Supportive Environments for Chronic Disease Prevention. She will support a project that aims to determine the most meaningful indicators to measure population and health equity action within health service and delivery systems. Hilary will also contribute to UpLift, a school-community-university partnership to intentionally create, embed and sustain school environments that are healthy, connected, safe and empowering for students. 


Rebecca Hasdell

HPI Supervisor: Cathy Mah

Rebecca’s research examines socioeconomic inequalities in health and what we can do to address them. She is specifically interested in the role of social and economic policies in creating healthier neighborhoods and communities. As a Health System Impact Fellow embedded with the Food Security team at the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and in collaboration with Cathy Mah’s lab at Dalhousie, her role will be to assess the capacity of the BC public health system to develop and pilot a novel set of food security indicators that monitor food security and its determinants. This project will be the first applied Canadian example to evaluate a suite of food security indicators that monitor the full scope of intersectoral actions that impact food security. 


Nick Mercer

HPI Supervisor: 

Debbie Martin

Nick’s doctoral dissertation, in partnership with the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC), identified heat insecurity (i.e. access to clean, affordable, and reliable heat) as one of the greatest energy related challenges in NCC’s remote communities. Research respondents identified a community firewood service, where locals are trained to harvest and deliver fuel wood to those in need, as an ideal intervention to address heat insecurity. Nick will lend a hand in developing, managing, and evaluating the socio-economic and health impacts of the community firewood project in NunatuKavut communities.


Mohammad Habibullah Pulok

HPI Supervisor:

Mohammad Hajizedeh

Mohammad’s current research focuses on inequity in health care and health economics of frailty. His first project aims to investigate the trends and dynamics of income-related inequity in health care utilization in Canada using longitudinal data. This project also studies the effect of changes in the income distribution on inequity in health care. Mohammad will also investigate the determinants of out-of-pocket payments for health care and assess the characteristics of households facing catastrophic health care expenditures in Canada. Finally, he will study the impact of frailty on health care costs by linking a comprehensive geriatric assessment database with physician billing data from Medical Services Insurance in Nova Scotia.

Christopher Dietzel

HPI Supervisor: 

Matthew Number


Christopher’s research examines sexual consent practices among LGBTQ+ people and sexual violence against LGBTQ+ people. He is working in the SHaG Lab (Sexual Health and Gender Lab) to investigate how LGBTQ+ people have experienced sexual violence through their use of dating/hookup apps, how they negotiate consent when consuming drugs and alcohol, and how they manage their safety while under the influence of these substances. Christopher’s work will shed light on LGBTQ+ people’s experiences with technology and the impacts of those experiences on their mental and sexual health.

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