CHEPA seminar: "A partnership approach to improving humanitarian assistance: patient and community narratives of cholera in Haiti"


Start 19 January, 2022, 12 30 PM

End 1 30 PM

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Laura Ramsay


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CHEPA's first seminar of 2022 will be presented January 19 by post-doctoral fellow Ilja Ormel, who will describe her experience using Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD) in a hygiene promotion response to a cholera outbreak in Haiti.

This seminar will be presented virtually. For a link to participate, please email

In the health domain, there is a growing appreciation and interest to better understand the experiences of patients. It is, however, also argued that collecting and understanding patients’ experiences is not enough; findings should be used to improve health care.

Experience-Based Co-Design (EBCD), is a quality improvement intervention that brings together patients, health care staff and other key stakeholders to design and implement changes to improve the experience of service users. This approach has been mostly applied in high-income health care services settings.

In this seminar, Ormel describes the feasibility of this approach in the hygiene promotion response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti. She will describe the adaptations made to the EBCD while implementing it for the first time in a humanitarian setting.

She notes that while there remain challenges and limitations with the adoption of EBCD in these settings, it is exactly that process of bringing the affected populations’ experiences to the centre of humanitarian services redesign that make it valuable.

Ilja is a post-doctoral fellow in McMaster’s Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact (HEI), working under Lisa Schwartz and Matthew Hunt with the Humanitarian Health Ethics research group.

Her research interests include illness narratives; participatory research; humanitarian health response; disease outbreaks in disaster settings and health promotion. She has experience in setting up and conducting participatory research in humanitarian disease outbreak responses, evaluating the implementation of participatory health promotion strategies as well as using applied social science research to understand patent and staff experiences.

She co-founded the Health Experiences Research Canada (HERC) group. This initiative is part of a large international network with researchers who collect health and illness experiences and apply the learning to improve health care.

In her PhD she piloted a participatory research approach in the humanitarian response to the cholera outbreak in Haiti. Her post-doctoral fellowship is focused on participatory practices in clinical COVID-19 vaccine trials as well as conducting an evaluation of on online humanitarian ethics toolkit.


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