Daniel Werb, senior research assistant at the Addiction and Urban Health Research Initiative (UHRI) at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE), has been awarded the 2012 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship for his PhD research project investigating initiation and cessation of injection drug use among street youth in Vancouver.
Announced today by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, Werb joins 14 Canadian doctoral candidates winning the scholarship for pursuing research of compelling, current concern, and touching upon one or more of the four themes of the foundation: human rights and dignity, responsible citizenship, Canada in the world, and people and their natural environment. The scholarship is worth up to $180,000 in funding over three years. In addition to the financial assistance, the Trudeau Scholarship offers recipients the opportunity to interact with a community of scholars, leaders and policymakers in every field of the social sciences and humanities.
“Mr. Werb is doing important research that will help inform effective, evidence-based drug policy reform to improve the health and safety of people who use drugs and the communities in which they live,” said Pierre-Gerlier Forest, president of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. “He is an ideal recipient of the Trudeau Scholarship for the potential his research has for positively impacting the lives of Canadians.”
“I congratulate Daniel on becoming a Trudeau scholar,” said Dr. Julio Montaner, director of the BC-CfE and head of the Division of AIDS in the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. “This recognition is a further testament to the wealth of talented and innovative thinkers we are blessed with at the BC-CfE and in the UBC community.”
Werb’s thesis focuses on mapping out the full cycle of injection drug use, from the circumstances under which individuals begin to inject drugs to determining what may make them more likely to cease their use. The research involves the identification of specific demographic and psychological factors that may put street youth at higher risk of initiating drug injection behaviour, and investigating whether harm reduction approaches such as needle exchange programs impact the length of time that individuals inject drugs.
“I am very fortunate to work with and be mentored by highly gifted and committed researchers at the BC-CfE and UBC,” said Werb, a PhD student at UBC. “The Trudeau Scholarship will allow me to continue to pursue my research and introduce me to a larger Canadian community of scholars who will no doubt challenge and inspire me.”
Werb has been the recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Canada Graduate Scholarship and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Junior Graduate Studentship Award.
About the Trudeau Foundation
A Canadian institution with a national purpose, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation is an independent and non-partisan charity. It was established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former prime minister by his family, friends, and colleagues. In 2002, with the unanimous support of the House of Commons, the Government of Canada endowed the Foundation with a donation of $125 million. In addition, the Foundation benefits from private sector donations in support of specific initiatives. Through its Scholarship, Fellowship, Mentorship, and Public Interaction Programs, the Foundation supports outstanding individuals who are making meaningful contributions to critical public issues.
About the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
The BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) is Canada’s largest HIV/AIDS research, treatment and education facility and is internationally recognized as an innovative world leader in combating HIV/AIDS and related diseases. It is based at St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care, a teaching hospital of the University of British Columbia. The BC-CfE works in close collaboration with key provincial stakeholders, including health authorities, health care providers, academics from other institutions, and the community to improve the health of British Columbians living with HIV through developing, monitoring and disseminating comprehensive research and treatment programs for HIV and related illnesses.