Jerrica Little

PhD student, Public Health and Health Systems
Jerrica Little.


PhD Public Health and Health Systems, 2015-2019

Graduate supervisor

John Hirdes

My thesis

My PhD thesis includes a secondary data analysis of “interRAI” assessment data. “interRAI” is a not-for-profit, international organization that creates standardized assessment instruments for healthcare systems. Using data obtained from psychiatric hospitals, emergency departments, and community mental health agencies, we looked at the clinical mental health needs and service access of emerging adults aged 18-29. Using this information, we are creating a scale for anxiety that can determine the severity of clinical symptoms in emerging adults. Another use of this scale will be to predict the risk of co-occurring depression and substance abuse for emerging adults. The results of this research will be used to inform service planning for comorbid mental health needs among emerging adults, as well as coordination of mental health services across the province.

My time in the School of Public Health and Health Systems (SPHHS)

When I earned my BA in Psychology (also at the University of Waterloo!), I knew that I wanted to continue research in the field of clinical psychiatry without becoming a psychologist, but was unsure of where I would be able to do so. SPHHS has provided me not only with the opportunity to pursue my field of interest, but has given me the foundation to pursue a career that will be personally fulfilling and (hopefully) helpful to others. The fact that the department is full of amazing people is also a pretty great bonus!