August 16, 2012
By Aisling Gamble
Faculty of Medicine graduate student Robin Walker was recently awarded the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (Vanier CGS) in recognition of her research and academic achievements. The scholarship was created to attract and retain world-class doctoral students and to establish Canada as a global centre of excellence in research and higher learning.
A PhD student in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Walker was both shocked and surprised when she was notified of her successful nomination.
“I actually burst into tears, I felt so thankful. I immediately called my husband, parents and supervisor to share the great news. I am truly blessed and thankful to be a recipient of the Vanier scholarship,” she said.
By examining hospital admissions related to common chronic conditions – referred to as ambulatory care sensitive conditions (ACSC) – such as high blood pressure and diabetes, Walker’s research aims to develop new ways of identifying and measuring the number of avoidable hospital admissions in Canada. Determining the number of avoidable ACSC hospitalizations will help to inform health policy decision-makers about the appropriateness of using ACSC hospitalizations as a measure of the quality and performance of primary health care. As a result, there may be an opportunity to improve the planning and delivery of primary services to better meet the needs of the Canadian population.
The award will allow Walker to advance her PhD education and further her knowledge and skills to conduct original, independent research. She says it will provide needed financial support allowing her to focus on her studies full-time and be involved in leadership activities.
“The Vanier scholarship will play a major role in facilitating my ability to reach my academic objectives and career aspirations.”
The Vanier CGS totals $50,000 per year for three years and is available to both Canadian and international PhD students studying at Canadian universities. In addition to the Vanier scholarship, Walker has received recognition from the Achievers in Medicine Science Graduate Recruitment Scholarship, Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, J.B Hyne Research Innovation Award, Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Graduate Scholarship and the Achievers in Medical Science Research Excellence Award.
The Vanier CGS program honours distinguished Canadian soldier and diplomat Major-General the Right Honourable Georges Philias Vanier, who served as governor general of Canada from 1959 to 1967.