Nina Doad

BSc candidate, Public Health Sciences
Nina Doad.


BSc, Public Health Sciences with Medical Physiology Minor and Pre-Clinical Specialization

Graduate supervisor  

Jennifer Yessis

My thesis

My project is centred on exploring the Region of Waterloo’s Drug Treatment Court (ROW DTC) and its role in addressing drug-related offenses, with a specific focus on understanding participant experiences and redefining success within the program.

I’m looking to understand the influence of the ROW DTC program on all aspects of its participants' lives and how the program addresses the underlying social determinants of health that contribute to individuals’ drug use. Employing a mixed-methods approach, I will analyze data from program records alongside insights gained from participant interviews. Through this research, I’m hoping to better understand the influence of the ROW DTC on its participants, as well as contribute to the discourse on how alternative justice programs can play a pivotal role in addressing the complex interplay between substance use, criminal behavior and public health challenges.

Why did you decide to do the project?

I was inspired to join the honours thesis program after attending the undergraduate poster session last year and thanks to encouragement from my mentor. I knew I wanted my project to be impactful and focused on health promotion, which is why I reached out to Dr. Yessis. After discussions with her and the ROW DTC, I realized this was the perfect opportunity to make a difference in the community and better understand the complexities of a public health issue that we have discussed in our courses many times before.

What do you like the most about the project?

What I like most about this project is the opportunity to amplify the voices of the participants themselves. I feel that it is all too common for research to overlook the individuals most impacted by the research that is being conducted. The insights of the ROW DTC participants are invaluable, not just for understanding the effectiveness of the program but also for shaping broader public health policies related to drug use. I’m excited by the potential of this research to directly impact the lives of participants and contribute to improving their outcomes within the program.

How do you think this thesis will help you in the future?

Through this project, I’ll be gaining firsthand experience in understanding the complexities of addressing substance use and criminal behavior from a public health perspective. I’ll also be gathering insights into the real-world challenges faced by individuals struggling with substance use disorders. Considering I would like to pursue a career at the intersection of medicine and public health, I believe this project is equipping me with valuable knowledge that would be beneficial when considering future interventions, policies and healthcare practices aimed at improving public health outcomes in vulnerable populations.

What advice would you give others who are considering an honours thesis project?

I would say that if you have even a tiny idea of a topic that you’re interested in exploring – do it! It can seem intimidating at first, but your supervisor will be there to guide you along the way. I can’t think of a more rewarding way of ending off your undergraduate career.