Daniel Werb, PhD candidate in the School of Population and Public Health, has been awarded the 2012 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation Doctoral Scholarship for his research project investigating initiation and cessation of injection drug use among street youth in Vancouver.
Announced May 15 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, Head of the Division of AIDS and Director of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE). “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, senior research assistant at the Addiction and Urban Health Research Initiative at the BC-CfE. “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.