Lakehead University celebrated exceptional researchers at the R and I Awards of Excellence reception

Group photo

Dr. Pamela Wakewich, centre, was presented with the Distinguished Researcher Award by Dr. Moira McPherson, left, Lakehead’s Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, and Senate Research Committee Chair Dr. Grazia Viola.

March 8, 2018 – Thunder Bay, ON

Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation Awards of Excellence reception was held on Thursday, March 8 to celebrate the exceptional achievements of professors and students.

Dr. Pamela Wakewich was named the 2017 Distinguished Researcher for her work in Sociology and Women’s Studies, and as the Director of Lakehead’s Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research.

“Over the past 30 years my research program and graduate-student mentoring have focused on gender, body and health in rural, northern and Indigenous communities, and innovative methods – such as photovoice and oral history – for community-engaged research,” said Dr. Wakewich, who retired in December 2017.

“The aim of my work is to improve equity and access to high quality health care for the diverse populations that make up our region,” she said.

Drawing on social justice, feminist and critical health studies perspectives, Dr. Wakewich’s research has explored the health effects of violence against women in rural and northern communities, northern women’s and men’s changing experiences of health and embodiment during the course of their lives, barriers and facilitators to health care for seniors in Northwestern Ontario, gaps in reproductive health and maternity care, Indigenous women’s experiences of cervical cancer screening, and women’s wartime work and identities.

“Over my career I enjoyed the opportunity to work with a talented group of interdisciplinary health researchers here at Lakehead, from the social sciences, humanities, education, health studies and the sciences, as we push the boundaries of interdisciplinary health research collaboration in a productive way.”

Dr. Wakewich completed her M.A. at McGill University with a focus on Medical Anthropology and her PhD in Health Sociology at the University of Warwick, U.K.  Prior to joining Lakehead University, she worked as a researcher at the Brief Psychotherapy Centre for Women, Women’s College Hospital, and the Thunder Bay Physical and Sexual Assault Centre, and later as a policy analyst for the Government of Ontario Women’s Directorate.

She is continuing research on two collaborative projects with colleagues from the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR).

The first explores caregiver and stakeholder perspectives on barriers and facilitators to quality birthing care in Northwestern Ontario. The second is a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funded engagement project being conducted in conjunction with the Thunder Bay Drug Strategy team to explore interest in the development of a Centre for Excellence for Addictions and Mental Health in Northwestern Ontario.

The Distinguished Researcher Award is the highest honour conferred by Lakehead for research and scholarly activity. 

Dr. Andrew Dean, Lakehead’s Vice-President (Research and Innovation), said the University’s researchers make him proud.

“Congratulations to our Distinguished Researcher, Dr. Wakewich, and to all Lakehead University researchers,” Dr. Dean said. “Whether they are students or professors, everyone in attendance should be proud of their work and this pride should fuel them to even greater accomplishments.”


Award Recipients

Three-Minute Thesis

  • People’s Choice Award: Jocelyn Bel, MSc Biology (supervisor, Dr. Kam Leung)
  • Second Place: Allyson Paris, MSc, Environmental Engineering (supervisor, Dr. Baoqiang Liao)
  • First Place: Robert Jackson, PhD Biotechnology (supervisor, Dr. Ingeborg Zehbe)

Graduate Studies Research Excellence Awards

     Natural Sciences Category

  • Dmitry Tarasov, PhD Forest Sciences
  • Md Nur Hossain, PhD, Chemistry & Materials Science

      Social Sciences Category

  • Kevin Gardam, Master of Public Health

Graduate Student Conference Poster Winners

  • Winner Engineering Category: Minoo Ataie, MSc Environmental Engineering (supervisor, Dr. Pedram Fatehi)
  • Winner NSERC/Science Category: Xuantong Chen, MSc Forestry (supervisor, Dr. Wensheng Qin)
  • Winner SSHRC Category: Jennifer White, Master of Social Work (supervisors, Dr. Jodie Murphy, Dr. Lori Chambers, Dr. Kirsten Oinonen)
  • Winner CIHR Category: Gabrielle Gaultier, PhD Biotechnology, (supervisor, Dr. Marina Ulanova)

Postdoctoral Fellows Poster Awards

  • Health Category - Dr. Neha Dewan, Department of Health Sciences (supervisor, Dr. Vicki Kristman).
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering - Dr. Samira Gharehkhani, Department of Chemical Engineering (supervisor, Dr. Pedram Fatehi).

Indigenous Partnership Research Award

  • Dr. Frederico Oliveira, Department of Anthropology, and Clifford Bull, Chief, Lac Seul First Nation for their collaborative project, “A Tridimensional Approach to First Nations' Land Use and Occupancy in Northwestern Ontario: an Applied and Culturally Relevant Pilot Study.”
  • The second winner is Dr. Ruth Beatty, Department of Education, Lakehead Orillia, and Christina Ruddy, First Nations partner, for their project, “Connecting Anishinaabe and Western Mathematical Ways of Knowing.”

Ministry of Health and Long Term Care Funding Announcement

  • Dr. Andrew Dean brought congratulatory remarks on behalf of the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Helena Jaczek, to Dr. Holly Prince, Dr. Kathy Kortes-Miller, team members and partners for their First Nations palliative care training program.

Innovation Awards

    Student Innovation Award Winner

  • Ayyappa Kumar Sista Kameshwar, PhD student, Department of Biology

     Faculty Innovation Award

  • Dr. Pedram Fatehi, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemicals and Processes, Department of Chemical Engineering

Building Research Capacity Award

  • Dr. Han Chen, Faculty of Natural Resources Management

Canada Research Chair (CRC) Award

  • Dr. Max Haiven as Lakehead University’s Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice

Senate Research Committee Awards

       Contribution to Research Award

  • Dr. Sudip Rakshit, Biorefining Institute, Chemical Engineering – NSERC Category
  • Dr. Cheryl Lousley, English Department – SSHRC Category
  • Dr. Rebecca Schiff, Health Sciences – CIHR Category

      Distinguished Researcher Award

  • Dr. Pamela Wakewich, the Departments of Sociology and Women’s Studies, and former Director of Lakehead’s Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research.


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Lakehead University has approximately 9,700 full-time equivalent students and 2,000 faculty and staff in 10 faculties at two campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lakehead is a fully comprehensive university: home to Ontario’s newest Faculty of Law in 44 years, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and faculties of Engineering, Business Administration, Health & Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities, Science & Environmental Studies, Natural Resources Management, Education, and Graduate Studies. Maclean’s 2018 University Rankings place Lakehead University among Canada's Top 10 primarily undergraduate universities, as well as first in Total Research Dollars, second for Citations, and third for Scholarships and Bursaries. In 2017, Research Infosource named Lakehead Research University of the Year in its category for the third consecutive year. Visit