Stephanie Montesanti, who is in the fourth year of McMaster’s PhD in Health Policy program, has been accepted into the Ontario Training Centre (OTC) program for 2011-12, with funding provided through the Population Health Improvement Research Network (PHIRN).
Through this opportunity, she will become a PHIRN affiliate, and will be included in the network’s database of population health researchers in Ontario. OTC is one of four centres in Canada designed to increase the number of well-qualified health services and nursing researchers at the master’s and PhD level.
Montesanti hopes to increase her understanding of community participation initiatives involving marginalized communities in local health system planning. Community participation in local health system planning decision-making has been viewed as an essential strategy to improve the design and planning of health care services, particularly in areas perceived to be underserviced.
Her doctoral project involves a multiple case study analysis of community health centres in Ontario. She hopes this work will provide a better understanding of effective community participation strategies that influence local health system planning, and in turn optimize population health and reduce health disparities in marginalized community.
Montesanti is part of the inaugural class of the PhD in Health Policy program that was launched in 2008 and is unique in Canada. She is supervised by CHEPA faculty member Julia Abelson.
She earned her master’s in medical anthropology from the University of Toronto. Her previous experience working with community-based organizations on research projects in population health and community health interventions includes international development projects.
Two other second-year students in the health policy PhD program have been accepted into the graduate diploma program at OTC, in health services and policy research. Daniel Patino, who is supervised by John Lavis, will use the program to complement his education, particularly in regards to methodological tools. Sarah Boesveld, who is supervised by Julia Abelson, plans to use her involvement in the program to network with health professionals working in policy settings, and will partake in a policy-related internship.