University of Alberta
2-year Canadian Thoracic Society Studentship Award
Delving into health inequalities impact respiratory care for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people
COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. During her two-year studentship award, Dr. Maria Ospina studied whether Aboriginal populations have disproportionate higher rates of COPD morbidity, mortality, and health services use compared to the general non-Aboriginal population.
Currently, there is very little known about the burden of COPD and what type of health services Aboriginal people access to seek care for their condition.
This lack of information hampers the ability of the health system to identify priority areas for treatment and prevention as they relate to COPD in First Nations peoples, Inuit and Métis.
Dr. Ospina’s research in Aboriginal respiratory health will provide a comprehensive picture of the impact of COPD among Aboriginal peoples in Alberta. To date, this is one of the few longitudinal analyses conducted in Canada that is designed to address an important area of respiratory epidemiology research in an underserved population. Results from the analysis will assist decision-makers and health-care workers develop approaches needed to improve the respiratory health status of these populations and to guide health resources allocation for COPD in Aboriginal people.
“For me, as someone whose primary interest is the study of respiratory health inequalities, having this project funded has inspired me to pursue more research on the social determinants underlying the inequalities in respiratory health status that affect many Canadians. Results from this work are expected to have an important impact on the design, and implementation of effective COPD prevention policies and strategies,” says Dr. Ospina.
“My doctoral research could not have been possible without the strong commitment of the Canadian Lung Association to support the production of sound knowledge to promote and improve the lung health for all Canadians. I feel very fortunate for the opportunity to be part of this.”