Lyana Patrick thought she wanted to be a doctor so she could help people with health issues. However, that was prior to meeting Dr. Leonie Sandercock, a UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) professor, who encouraged her to pursue a Ph.D. in community planning.  

Seeing the connections

A member of the Stellat’en First Nation, Patrick has an undergraduate degree in history and creative writing and a master’s in Indigenous Governance, but hadn’t considered community planning as a way to influence health care – until she realised it offered a unique approach to solving issues important to her.

“I have often struggled to see how things are not connected,” she says. “I felt like [community planning] might be a welcome home for the many different strands of research that interest me. For example the intergenerational impact of residential schools on Aboriginal communities is a huge health concern. Understanding why requires understanding where we have come from. Planning encourages [a deeper understanding] because it integrates so many aspects of living.”

Patrick’s PhD focuses on the intricate and interrelated nature of social problems such as addictions and mental health in Aboriginal communities...

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