UM Today | Rady School of Health Sciences

April 14, 2022 — 

Growing up, Dr. Andrea Blanchard [M.Sc./15] watched her father James Blanchard, [MD/86], PhD do the job on HIV/AIDS general public health and fitness programs in India. As an grownup, she understood she required to assistance persons in the same way as her father -now College of Manitoba Canada Research Chair in epidemiology and international general public wellbeing and govt director of the Institute for World-wide General public Health- but her concern was how?

All through her undergraduate research, Blanchard viewed as majoring in biology, contemplating she could go after medication but uncovered herself drawn to social sciences much too. In the conclusion, she majored in international progress scientific tests at the College of Winnipeg,

“It permitted me to research international troubles, typically from a social justice lens, and assisted me notice I was intrigued in major photo stuff,” she says of her undergrad diploma.

Blanchard might not have always understood that she needed to be a researcher, but she did know she required to understand why and how things worked.

“I usually questioned why, and I like that study can remedy some of individuals whys and develop optimistic adjust,” she claims.

Throughout a practicum at Mount Caramel Clinic, Blanchard claims she was demonstrated very first-hand how social, political and financial issues affect the wellbeing of citizens. Seeing how some persons did not have equivalent entry to health and fitness care assisted her decide what type of get the job done she wished to focus on for her master’s.

“It was the interdisciplinary lens that drew me to a learn of science in community wellbeing sciences in the Max Rady Higher education of Medicine,” she states. “When I noticed a indication in the hallway [at UM] that mentioned public overall health is an artwork and a science, that was the cherry on top rated that claimed this was a excellent location for me to pursue.”

After earning her master’s diploma at UM in 2015, Blanchard traveled to the United Kingdom to entire her PhD at the Institute for World wide Wellness, College Higher education London. She has now returned to her household city to operate on her postdoctoral fellowship in group overall health sciences. Blanchard’s exploration focuses on how international community well being plans can increase health fairness for females and youngsters.

“I usually required to appear at justice and fairness, what that usually means [in health care] and why folks do not have equal accessibility to it. In quite a few contexts, women of all ages and small children face cons or worries accessing care,” she suggests. “Many countries have invested in care during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce mortality premiums and make improvements to wellness results particularly for people suffering from socio-economic marginalization.”

As a result of her exploration, Blanchard is always hoping to mix qualitative and quantitative methods. She utilizes what she phone calls a “bifocal lens,” a mix of social science and statistical investigate strategies to finest realize overall health in communities.

“You can glance at an situation from a broader lens on a inhabitants stage and use stats to see traits in excess of time and also a magnified lens of insights by chatting to individuals about their experiences or insights that are harder to quantify,” she states.

This has been one thing she continues to explore in her postdoc, doing work with associates in India, Zambia and in other places to investigation how health and fitness programs that bring health care vendors and communities nearer can have a broader impact.

To start with launched to group-centered health approaches from her father’s do the job in India, Blanchard has continued to analysis these approaches. During her PhD, she has observed potent evidence suggesting that neighborhood overall health workers’ assistance performed a substantive part in strengthening overall health outcomes for new moms.

“In a neighborhood-centered overall health tactic, the voices of all those who systems are meant to aid are influencing the ambitions and processes, relatively than what’s recognized as a major-down technique,” she states. “in the last 10 many years, they are getting viewed as significantly valued as owning been significant in exploration in practice about the environment.”

As for what her strategies are for after her put up-doc, Blanchard doesn’t have an specific system still.

“I have not assumed also much forward, but I hope to continue in collaborative world-wide well being investigate and assist other folks. Whether which is in academia or someplace else. It’s my dream to go on in this spot.”