Pahwa’s community-engaged research aims to inform the development of equitable breast cancer screening for Canadians of South Asian origin   

Congratulations to Manisha Pahwa, postdoctoral fellow with Professor Matthew Hunt in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy.  In the fall of 2023, Pahwa was awarded the Research Excellence, Diversity, and Independence (REDI) Early Career Transition Award by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).  Pahwa was ranked first in the competition. Pahwa earned her PhD under the supervision of Meredith Vanstone, an Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. Pahwa’s doctoral dissertation focused on the ethical dimensions of population-based lung cancer screening policies in Canada. Outside of her thesis and during her PhD, Pahwa led several community-engaged research projects at McMaster. Her PhD was supported by a CIHR Frederick Banting & Charles Best Canada Graduate Award. 

“I’m delighted to build my program of empirical ethics research to inform health equity for racialized diasporas in Canada. Through my REDI award, I have been able to receive excellent mentorship in a robust research environment at McGill, which has been key for my scientific leadership development. I’m also pleased to be part of the REDI awardee community,” said Pahwa. 

Pahwa has started her postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University under the supervision of Matthew Hunt. Her postdoctoral research will contribute an understanding of values impacting the participation decisions of South Asian communities in Canada in personalized breast cancer screening, an approach to screening that is tailored to individuals’ breast cancer risk. Pahwa’s community-engaged research is timely as breast cancer screening evolves in Canada.  Bringing forth the voices of South Asian communities, who experience breast cancer disparities, will help inform the development of equitable breast cancer screening for South Asian people in Canada.   

Since starting her project, Pahwa has been able to initiate conversations with breast cancer screening researchers and policymakers to work on cultural safety for South Asian people in personalized breast cancer screening, and to help develop risk-informed breast cancer screening. 

First launched in 2022, the CIHR REDI Early Career Transition Award aims to support members from underrepresented groups in academia to launch their research faculty careers in Canada. The award provides researchers with six years of salary funding and a research stipend for a postdoctoral fellowship, along with partial funding for a faculty position. 

The content of this story is from the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University, used with permission. The original story can be found on McMaster’s website.