Featured Student

Chantel Ramraj

What’s your program and subject matter of focus?        

I am currently in the third year of the PhD Epidemiology program at the School  and also a fellow in The Comparative Program on Health and Society (CPHS) at the Munk School of Global Affairs. I have a passion for research in the area of health inequalities and the social determinants of health.

Why are you studying public health?

I find great satisfaction in developing research questions and undertaking projects concerning the health of populations. Where we live, work, and play can all affect our health. I love to problem solve, so disentangling what the factors are that affect our health, how they might operate, and how we can possibly change them to benefit our well-being is an exciting challenge.

Why did you choose to study at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health?

I chose to study at the School because of the self-directed nature of the epidemiology program and the opportunity to work in partnership with a wide breadth of respected researchers.

What are some current projects or research that you’re involved in?

Currently, I am the lead author on a study that aims to provide the largest estimates of, and to compare, racial inequalities in health between two economically advanced welfare state nations (Canada and the United States); and to determine the role of immigrant status in modifying racial inequalities in these two nations.

I also conducted a review that examines intergenerational differences in birth weight among infants born to first- and second-generation immigrant mothers and how this varies by country of origin and receiving country.

 My thesis dissertation will examine how the spectrum of birth weight varies across Canada and the U.S., in order to ascertain whether one nation has a “riskier spectrum” of birth weight than the other, and to uncover the potential determinants of differences in their spectrums.

 What would you say to a prospective student who is considering the School?

Speak to current students and faculty if you can beforehand to determine if this institution is a good fit for your academic and career goals. Take your time in discovering what your research interests are and be passionate about them – makes the learning a lot more enjoyable!

What’s the one thing people can do to improve public health or health care locally and/or globally?

Collaboration. Improving the health of populations requires us to view public health issues through multiple lenses. Cross-disciplinary collaboration is necessary for sound, game-changing research to be done.