Three Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) researchers were named Women of Distinction by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Hamilton’s annual awards ceremony on March 2.

Professors Sonia Anand and Natasha Johnson won the main award category, while integrated biomedical engineering and health sciences program student Shayna Earle won in the Young Trailblazer category.

Their citations say:

Sonia Anand

Dr. Sonia Anand is internationally recognized for her research and advocacy for women’s cardiovascular health and populations of diverse ancestral origins.

Over her career, the McMaster University professor of medicine and epidemiology and senior scientist of the Population Health Research Institute has earned a global reputation for prioritizing research into women’s cardiovascular health, identifying health risk factors in diverse ethnic groups and for developing new therapies that benefit high-risk vascular patients globally.

Her work in these areas has substantially impacted public policy and clinical practice locally, nationally, and globally.

Anand is a mentor and advocate for women in academic medicine and champions equity and inclusion within academia, healthcare, and the broader Hamilton community.

Natasha Johnson

Dr. Natasha Johnson is a pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist. After graduating from McGill University, she completed a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She joined McMaster’s Department of Pediatrics in 2006 and is an associate professor.

Johnson has developed a clinical, educational, and research focus in adolescent sexual health, specifically with marginalized, historically oppressed youth and equity-seeking populations. She established a clinical service for trans and gender-diverse youth, the first interdisciplinary service of this kind in the region.

In 2021, she was appointed the inaugural associate chair of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. She was previously the division lead for adolescent medicine and medical co-director of the Eating Disorder Program at McMaster Children’s hospital.

Shayna Earle – Young Trailblazer category

Shayna Earle is a fourth-year student in McMaster’s integrated biomedical engineering and health sciences program (iBioMed) where she focuses on Chemical Engineering.

She is the co-president of the McMaster Women in Engineering society and a dedicated advocate for reducing the barriers in engineering for women and non-female identifying students.

Her work in this area has been shared on the international stage and is contributing to shifts in pedagogy that will shape the future of engineering. In addition, Earle is an accomplished early-career researcher focusing on models of viral manufacturing processes in cancer immunotherapy.

In 2022, Shayna was awarded the Canadian Engineering Memorial Foundation’s Enbridge 2022 Undergraduate Ambassador Award for her leadership in advocacy for women in engineering.

McMaster’s fourth YWCA Women of Distinction winner was Shaila Jamal, a PhD researcher at McMaster with training in geography and planning.

Also honoured was community organizer Marybeth Leis Druery, who has mentored many McMaster students in self-awareness, values, leadership development and volunteering with Hamilton’s underserved communities.

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