Bara' AlShurman

PhD student, Public Health Sciences
Bara' AlShurman


PhD Public Health Sciences


Zahid A. Butt

My thesis

My thesis focuses on proposing a new framework called "COVH” to understand how biological and social interactions between vaccine hesitancy and COVID-19 can cause negative health outcomes (e.g., death rates, hospitalization rates) among marginalized populations living in Ontario, Canada.  I’ve published a narrative review in 2023 and a scoping review in 2021, as a foundation for my PhD research.

My research seeks to explore the pathways through which COVID-19, vaccine hesitancy, and area-level marginalization interact by using multiple health administrative databases. From there I hope to help researchers and healthcare workers to think about ways in which they improve health services to focus on the underlying emotional and social factors that influence the individuals’ behaviors and diseases. In addition, our research can inspire policymakers to implement interventions- at earlier stages- to address the accessibility, equity, mental health issues, and vaccine hesitancy in healthcare settings.

My time in the School of Public Health Sciences

Throughout my time at the University of Waterloo, I have been impressed by the diversity of the student and the supportive and family-friendly atmosphere. I am also grateful for the abundance of research opportunities available. I have had the opportunity to participate in various research groups and projects such as Dr. Zahid Butt’s research team, UbiLab with Dr. Plinio Morita, and Dr. Kelly Grindrod’s research team. These research groups have not only enriched my knowledge and experience but also allowed me to apply my learning in a real-world setting.

While the workload can be challenging, it is important to remember that all of us (PhD and master students) face similar struggles, regardless of our research interests or focus. To my fellow grad students, with the support of our peers, professors, and UW staff, I am confident that we will be able to successfully complete this long-lovely journey. We got this!

Links to external resources

What Demographic, Social, and Contextual Factors Influence the Intention to Use COVID-19 Vaccines: A Scoping Review (peer-reviewed publication)

Proposing a New Conceptual Syndemic Framework for COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy: A Narrative Review (peer-reviewed publication)

Connect with Bara' on LinkedIn