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2010 Maxwell Studentship Recipient - Laura Senese

Health in the city

While working as an aboriginal health research assistant as an undergraduate at Montréal’s McGill University, Laura Senese became aware of the health inequities between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples in Canada. That realization planted the seed for her University of Toronto master’s thesis in geography, which explores the links between aboriginal rights, urbanization and health among First Nations men and women.

“I want to contribute to figuring out why health inequities exist and how best to eradicate them,” says Senese, the recipient of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Maxwell Studentship in Human Geography. “So I’m focusing on the social and political underlying factors.”

Senese interviewed 36 men and women who had moved to Toronto from a rural area or a reserve within the past two months to 30 years. Her goal is to understand the relationship between urbanization and aboriginal rights and how these factors might affect the health of First Nations men and women living in cities. As this issue is going to press, Senese is analyzing her data and planning to defend her thesis in the fall.

— Jessica Harding


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