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Submitted by Nick Eagland, Consultant, Communications and Public Affairs

Dr. Nitasha Puri received the award from Michael Smith Health Research BC and will design and pilot a culturally resonant intervention to treat substance use disorder among South Asian men.

(Photo) Dr. Nitasha Puri, staff physician in the Department of Addiction Medicine and Substance Use Services and recipient of a 2021 Health Professional-Investigator award from Michael Smith Health Research BC.

Fraser Health is celebrating Dr. Nitasha Puri who is the recipient of a 2021 Health Professional-Investigator award from Michael Smith Health Research BC.

Dr. Puri, a staff physician in the Department of Addiction Medicine and Substance Use Services, will be using anti-racist research methods to design and pilot a culturally resonant intervention to treat substance use disorder among South Asian men.

“I am deeply humbled to receive the funding, and hope that the work that comes from it will make a lasting change and generate more healing for the South Asian community,” Dr. Puri says.

“Racialized populations may be excluded from research and health systems, due to a variety of different factors that are still being understood. As such, the receipt of this Health Research BC award will have a profound impact by funding protected time for providers, people who use substances, and researchers to collaborate and execute a research program that will inform more effective ways to treat racialized folks who use substances.”

The team will consist of Punjabi men who use substances, community organization members, health care providers and researchers. Using a rigorous facilitated approach that highlights evidence from literature and draws upon members’ life experiences, the patient-oriented research team will design an intervention to support South Asian men who use substances in the Lower Mainland.

Dr. Puri’s passion for patients is “contagious,” says Kate Keetch, director for the Department of Evaluation and Research Services.

“Her growing program of research, exemplified by this project focusing on designing and piloting a culturally resonant intervention to treat substance use disorder in South Asian men, is both timely and aligned with the incredibly important work that Fraser Health contributes to every day in the mental health and substance use world, and the diverse populations that we serve in our region,” Keetch says.

“Once again, Dr. Puri is embracing the vision that Research is Care and Care is Research. I’m very proud of her and her impressive accomplishment in being Fraser Health’s first Michael Smith Health Research BC Health Professional Investigator.”


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