Congratulations to Professors Jennifer Hatfield, Jürgen Rehm and Mark S Tremblay for receiving the annual Vic Neufeld Mentorship Award in Global Health Research. The award was presented by the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research on November 19 in honour of its founding national coordinator, considered a leader in the development of mentorship opportunities and structures for global health researchers worldwide.
Jennifer Hatfield is an Associate Dean of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, director for the Health and Society Program and for the Global Health Program at the O’Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences and Adjunct Professor in the department of Ecosystem and Public Health of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.
A long-time Chair of the CCGHR University Advisory Council, she was behind the development of the Partnership Assessment Toolkit and a co-investigator for the Gathering Perspectives Studies that led to the formulation of the CCGHR Principles for Global Health Research. Three of her PhD mentees write: “She inspires us to be better teachers, leaders, mentors and peers. Jennifer Hatfield has taught us that it is not always the end product of the research or the teaching, but instead the process of learning and sharing that is the true value of global health work. Furthermore, she always makes it clear that we learn just as much (if not more) by working hand in hand with our global South partners. This is an important lesson for young and ambitious scholars who are looking to make a difference. Her innate ability to connect with the meaning of global health work and to translate this to young minds is remarkable.”
Colleagues from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Cumming School of Medicine present more of her contributions: “we would like to highlight her mentorship and guidance in developing the Internationalization and Global Health agenda of the University of Calgary and more specifically the program of the newly established Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) (…) With her guidance, many faculty members at UCVM were changing from a more traditional monodisciplinary approach towards a multidisciplinary vision with a broader, international outlook. She emphasized the importance of all core competencies, namely, but not exclusively, knowledge translation, capacity building, research ethics, equity and social determinants of health, cultural competency and equitable partnerships.”
“Another example of mentorship is her guidance in the development of the University of Calgary’s partnership with the Catholic University of Health an Allied Science (CUHAS) in Mwanza, Tanzania. Multiple programs for mutual capacity sharing and educational opportunities have been identified. For example, Dr. Hatfield mentored the CUHAS faculty members after they launched the Masters of Public Health program towards a CUHAS lead, independent program that trains approximately 20 Tanzanians a year. Many graduates from that program successfully pursued careers in academic and leadership roles.”
A former psychology clinician, Dr. Hatfield is leading many other innovative research projects around the world. To date, she has co-authored over 25 publications with 13 mentees at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral level. Dr. Hatfield is a tireless supporter of student presentations at national and international meetings, and she is a coauthor on over 75 such posters and presentations.
An Associate Dean at CUHAS concludes: “Dr. Hatfield is a leader, a mentor, and a parent whose hands has touched many lives and continues to build foundations for ensuring sustainable global health programs.”
“I am deeply gratified to receive this award, and thanks go to those I had the chance to mentor, we all share a goal to contribute to better, more equitable and sustainable global health” said Rehm, a Senior Director at the Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Senior Scientist at the Campbell Family Mental Health (CAMH) Research Institute, and Inaugural Chair of Addiction Policy in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
Professor Rehm’s career has been devoted to global alcohol and other drug research, with lasting impacts on public health policies in many countries. His recent research has included interactions between socio-economic status, poverty and substance use, including analysis of policies and interventions to reduce inequalities.
A former doctoral student describes his commitment to mentorship: “Under Dr. Rehm’s supervision, students often engage in unique, creative projects that address knowledge gaps in the literature by using novel methodologies. These projects also promote the development of his mentees by engaging them in networking and partnership-building activities with research organizations around the world. These collaborations include WHO projects monitoring alcohol policies and the estimation of alcohol consumption and its resulting harms globally. (…) Such projects require the coordination of multiple students and staff at different career stages, all of whom are under Dr. Rehm’s supervision, (…) [and] involve the integration of multiple researchers from different specialities into the research projects, thereby exposing his mentees to a wide range of multidisciplinary projects where they can develop professionally by gaining an understanding of the methodologies used in different research disciplines. My engagement in a number of these research projects has had a demonstrably positive impact on my career, allowing me to establish multiple research collaborations with international and national organizations in numerous countries, including the WHO and PAHO.”
Dr. Rehm has published over 900 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including many co-authored with his mentees. He has produced major reports for the WHO, the most recent being the Global Status Report on Alcohol and Health 2018. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, such as the Jellinek Memorial Award (2003) and the European Addiction Research Award (2017).
In total, Dr. Rehm has mentored over 200 students and fellows, many of whom have become world-class researchers around the globe. He has directly supervised 3 Bachelor students, 20 Master’s students, 27 doctoral candidates and 7 postdocs, including many from low- to middle-income countries such as Turkmenistan, Russia, South Africa, Thailand and the Ukraine.
A colleague at CAMH concludes: “Having grown as a scientist over the years, I myself strive to mentor my students as he has mentored me, which I now appreciate more than ever. I cannot not think of a person more deserving for this award (…).”
Mark S Tremblay
“The students who nominated me come from various countries, and they bring incredible energy, passion and wisdom to global health research,” said Tremblay, Director of Healthy Active Living and Obesity Research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Professor of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa and President of the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance.
Professor Mark Tremblay is a leading Canadian Scientist, renowned nationally and internationally for his expertise in child obesity research, measurement of child physical activity, promotion of active healthy lifestyles and knowledge mobilization.
A former PhD mentee recalls: “As a mentor, Mark really emphasized the value of knowledge translation to bridge the gap between research and practice. (…) Mark has also founded the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance to support many countries in developing report cards and to encourage the cross-fertilization of ideas between countries. This year, close to 50 countries will release report cards at the Movement to Move Conference in Adelaide, Australia. Expert groups in each country produce these reports, often with support and mentorship from Mark and his team.”
Indeed he is the founder and the CEO of the Global Matrix initiative, which brings together experts and policy-makers from around the world, all with an interest in the promotion of physical activity and related behaviors through the Active Health Kids Global Alliance (created in 2014). Through Dr. Tremblay’s leadership, this initiative employs common criteria to gather and synthesize data about child and youth physical activity, culminating into country-specific Report Cards that are developed following a harmonized approach—a successful knowledge translation tool implemented first and for more than 10 years in Canada.
Dr. Tremblay has led and collaborated on projects with mentees in Mozambique, Nigeria, Kenya, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico to name just a few. Furthermore, he has maintained strong collaborations with these mentees over the years. “I would not be able to identify any individual who has done more than Mark in terms of capacity building to address the global pandemic of physical inactivity,” says an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge and former mentee.
He has published over 400 peer-reviewed publications and delivered countless keynote presentations. With his mentees, he has contributed to important reports such as the International Study on Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and the Environment, which involved 12 LMICs and is certainly one of the largest global studies on childhood obesity.
A current PhD candidate ends with: “I have found that he is very supportive of the individual pursuit of our own paths in research. In this sense, he is always open to his mentees’ initiatives, providing guidance and opportunities to strengthen skills according to each one’s individual goals.”