Agassiz alumna awarded UBC Banting fellowship

Alex Kent researches health equity improvements in Indigenous communities

Alex Kent is a former AESS student who was recently awarded a Banting Fellowship at UBC Okanagan for her work with the xacqanal itkinil research team. (Photo/UBC Okanagan)

Alex Kent is a former AESS student who was recently awarded a Banting Fellowship at UBC Okanagan for her work with the xacqanal itkinil research team. (Photo/UBC Okanagan)

Former Agassiz-Harrison student Alex Kent is one of three postdoctoral fellows who received a prestigious award.

Kent was recently awarded the Banting Award from University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan. Seventy such fellowships are awarded across Canada every academic year. Each researcher will be given $70,000 per year for two years.

Kent attended Harrison Hot Springs Elementary grades kindergarten through grade 6 before moving on to Agassiz Elementary Secondary School.

Kent works closely with the Ktunaxa First Nations community to develop a new approach to health care to better serve not only Indigenous people but the wider population. This anti-colonial, more culturally appropriate approach to implement and translate science and knowledge is core to the “xacqanal itkinil,” research team; the name is translated as “many ways of working on the same thing.”

“The team is committed to amplifying the voices of Ktunaxa citizens and re-legitimizing Ktunaxa knowledge to bridge Ktunaxa systems to non-Indigenous systems,” Kent said in a statement.

Kent added she loves “geeking out” over her work.

“Specifically, I love advancing implementation science by weaving in Indigenous voices, knowledge systems and ways of knowing as well as critical theoretical perspectives such as anti-colonialism, anti-racism, and intersectionality,” she stated.

Kent was also one of 45 medical researchers in B.C. awarded with the Michael Smith 2022 Research Trainee Award.

As for the future, Kent hopes to become a “leader in trans-disciplinary, justice-driven and anti-oppressive research” dedicated to equity in the healthcare system.

“I love what I do, and I hope that the academic career trajectory I am on continues into the future,” she stated. “More importantly, I am inspired to see critically-oriented research like this being funded because it paves a path and opens up space for voices that are often silenced to be amplified in research. I am committed to using this opportunity and my future career to advocate for and support career advancement of diverse and underrepresented talent.”

The Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships Program is designed to bring top researchers to the UBC community “who will positively contribute to Canada’s economic, social and research-based growth.”


@AgassizObserver
adam.louis@ ahobserver.com

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