Dr. Hasina Samji an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University and a Senior Scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist with expertise in the design and implementation of observational cohort studies and analysis of large administrative health databases. Dr. Samji’s main research interest is how synergistic epidemics, or “syndemics,” of illnesses like HIV, HCV, and mental illness and substance use disorder interact with contextual factors like poverty and early life trauma to create mutually reinforcing clusters of epidemics among populations, resulting in poorer access to healthcare and outcomes. Funded by a CANFAR grant, she has developed an algorithm that will elucidate the burden of severe and persistent mental illness and substance use among people with STBBIs in the BC Hepatitis Testers Cohort, a population-based dataset of ~1.7 million British Columbians comprising comprehensive administrative and clinical data.
Dr. Samji also leads the Youth Development Instrument (YDI), an interdisciplinary study measuring predictors of positive youth well-being, mental health, and development in high school students in collaboration with the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP-UBC), community, clinical and policy partners, and youth themselves. The YDI will elucidate upstream skill-development and structural supports for STBBI prevention. She is currently the co-PI of a study in partnership with Anxiety Canada and BC Children’s Hospital to measure the population-level mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.