by Natalie Osborne, Mikaeel Valli and Jason Lo Hog Tian
It is fitting that the final issue of IMS Magazine I have the privilege to be a part of is about social determinants of health. When I began my PhD at the IMS five years ago, I was overwhelmed by the variety of disciplines represented by my peers. How could I hope to understand their work when it was so different from mine? But after five years interviewing, writing, and editing for IMS Magazine, I’ve learned how to speak the universal scientific language. I’ve witnessed how the IMS’ multidisciplinary community allows its members to exchange ideas, share techniques, and form unique collaborations. This alchemy of different perspectives and approaches drives innovative, comprehensive research – the kind that is desperately needed to address multifaceted, systemic issues such as social determinants of health.
In this issue you will read about the inescapable interconnectedness of health and society: how poverty, racism, bias, education, public policy, and the environment interact to influence the health of an individual. Therefore, the best solution for improving health outcomes will come from a societal effort – one that values the health and well-being of all its members. These solutions require interdisciplinary teamwork combined with genuine interest and empathy for one another – all qualities I’ve seen at the IMS. While I’m sad to leave, I will continue to follow the fascinating work of its members detailed in the pages of IMS Magazine, now led by brilliant and dedicated co-Editors-in-Chief, Mikaeel Valli and Jason Lo Hog Tian.
Natalie is a 5th year PhD student using neuroimaging and sensory testing to study sex differences in chronic pain under the supervision of Dr. Karen Davis.
Firstly, we would like to thank the outgoing Editor-in-Chief, Natalie, for her contributions to the magazine and for setting such a high bar for this publication. We have both been active contributors for many years now and are honoured to have the opportunity to shape the future of IMS Magazine as the new co-Editors-in-Chief.
Social determinants of health have received a surge of attention in recent years and are now essential to consider when trying to understand any health condition. We believe that this issue provides an excellent overview of the ongoing research at IMS examining these factors. For example, Dr. Teresa To tells us how socioeconomic and environmental factors impact asthma risk, Dr. Sean Kidd explains the complex nature of youth homelessness and challenges with intervention strategies, and Dr. Aileen Davis illustrates how healthcare education can improve outcomes in patients with osteoarthritis. We also have some relevant Viewpoint articles highlighting the importance of collecting accurate race and ethnicity data in research and examining the different ways in which people use drugs.
We would like to take the time to acknowledge the writers, editors, and designers that made this publication possible as well as all the readers, without whom we would not be where we are today. We hope you enjoy the issue and we look forward to continuing the legacy of IMS Magazine!
Mikaeel Valli and Jason Lo Hog Tian
Mikaeel is a 5th year PhD student. He works with Dr. Antonio Strafella’s lab that uses neuroimaging techniques to understand the underlying mechanisms in Parkinson’s disease with non-motor complications.
Jason is a 3rd year PhD student examining the mechanisms linking HIV stigma and health under the supervision of Dr. Sean Rourke