York grad students among scholars receiving awards to improve women's health

Two York psychology grad students are among nine outstanding Ontario university scholars who will share more than $230,000 through the Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Awards to improve the health of women through research.

photo of PhD student Ami Tint

Ami Tint

PhD student Ami Tint and Master's student Christina van den Brink were among the nine students announced by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) Tuesday morning.

“The Women’s Health Scholars Awards are a gateway to important breakthroughs in the understanding of women’s health that will benefit not just women here in Ontario, but all around the world,” says Max Blouw, President of Wilfrid Laurier University and Chair of the COU, which administers the awards.

The 2015 recipients include post-doctoral, doctoral and master’s students from eight Ontario universities who will receive scholarships of $18,000 to $40,000 each plus grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to support the research. The awards were established in 2001 through funding from Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

“We thank the Ontario government for funding this crucial university research. These studies improve women’s health and also help the province attract and retain truly outstanding scholars in the field,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU President and CEO.

Ami's research is on improving services for women with autism spectrum disorder who struggle when the system is geared to meet the needs of young boys. A PhD student in the Clinical Developmental Psychology program at York University, Ami's research looks at Women with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who often struggle to find appropriate services because they may be geared to meet the needs of young boys with ASD. She will examine how women with ASD perceive their service experiences; what individual, family and social variables predict service use and unmet needs of women with ASD; and how the service experiences of women with ASD differ from those of men with ASD. Results from this study stand to inform community practice and policy for women with ASD.

photo of Master's student Christina van den Brink

Christina van den Brink

Christina is researching how lifestyle factors that are dependent on sex can influence brain health in later life. Pursuing a degree in clinical neuropsychology, her thesis investigates the neural mechanisms of lifestyle-induced cognitive vitality in aging, specifically focusing on how these factors mediate brain changes in a sex-dependent manner. Her aim is to identify mechanisms of enhanced neuroplasticity that can be used to augment neurointervention. Through her research she aims to identify the mechanisms by which these factors yield physiological benefits in terms of overall brain health and functional benefits in terms of enhanced cognitive performance. Ultimately, she plans to apply her findings surrounding lifestyle factor-induced neuroplasticity to inform neurointervention treatments.