2023 Forough Khadem Award Recipients

Msc Award: Larissa Bubnowicz, Oral Biology

Larissa Bubnowicz discovered her passion for oral healthcare during her undergraduate
degree for a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at the University of Manitoba. A

Registered Dental Hygienist since 2013, Larissa’s career is enriched of experiences. To-
date, she identifies her most rewarding implementation of her clinical skill set and

therapeutic process of care expertise to the rehabilitation of those clients diagnosed with
periodontal disease in specialty private practice.
Larissa’s contributions at the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry and School of Dental
Hygiene have helped transcend barriers of gender diversity and foster age inclusion. She
is the youngest female RDH to achieve academic appointments and research projects
immediately post-graduation. Her experience ranges from lab and clinical instructor to
course coordinator. She hopes to inspire, motivate, lead, and help shape the next
generation of oral healthcare professionals in her community.

Uniting her love of biological science and oral health, Larissa has conducted inter- and
nationally acclaimed research within the fields of dental biomaterials, dental enamel
fluoridation, and educational learning communications. These projects have led to regular
presentations at oral health symposiums, journal publications, and author of a chapter for
textbook edition. Her current thesis for a Master of Science in Oral Biology investigates
silver diamine fluoride as a therapy for clinical management of radiation-related caries.
Having experienced proactive mentors who have championed her own endeavors, Larissa
recognizes this as an important asset for women to succeed in developing their full
potential. By being active within this community, there has been much opportunity for her
to engage other women towards participating in [dental] academia and [oral health]
research. She is committed to diversity, equity progress, and an open, inclusive culture
where women thrive professionally.
Larissa has cultivated extensive service: professional outreaches; within the educational
institute; and amongst her local communities. Her leadership in the Manitoba Dental
Hygienists Association has aided in the strive for dental hygiene to be included as a
healthcare profession of its own entity to combat professional disparity. She has
participated in: lobbying for increased scope of practice; supporting hygienists’ aptitude to
contribute increased access to care for all Canadians; and providing guidance on
emerging issues of relevance that builds oral health research capacity within Canada. She
currently sits on the board for the CDHA Research Advisory Committee.
Larissa’s long-term vision for contributing to the dental hygiene profession is to pursue a
PhD; broader commitment to education; be on the frontier of innovative oral health
research; explore personally unchartered clinical practice in long-term care, rural and
northern communities; and continue with outreach initiatives. She envisions a future
focused on the dental hygienists’ scope of practice and improved access to oral healthcare
for all Canadians.

PhD Award: Laila Aboulatta, Pharmacy

Laila is a third year Ph.D. student at the College of Pharmacy, with a concentration in pharmacoepidemiology. Prior to commencing her Ph.D. studies, Laila obtained bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences and Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from Faculty of Pharmacy, Alexandria University. She received a one-year fellowship as a visiting researcher in Hospital Pharmaceutics at Showa University, Japan.

Her passion for pharmacoepidemiology was inspired by years of experience as a hospital pharmacist at various Public and Private Hospitals in Egypt. In fact, the health challenges faced by mothers and newborns in developing countries were pivotal to her choice of a graduate degree. During these years, she contributed to health promotion, addressing health determinants, and disease prevention among individuals and vulnerable populations. She volunteered in a Nationwide Program to Eliminate Hepatitis C in Egypt. In addition, Laila organized several education sessions to help with disease/drug awareness among patients, young pharmacists, and physicians. Laila was the hospital preceptor for third and fourth year PharmD students in the College of Pharmacy at Alexandria University and led the students summer projects. 

            Currently, Laila’s career focus is attempting to confine widespread public health problems through pharmacoepidemiologic research. As a trained pharmacoepidemiologist, she understands the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on our daily lives and the socio-economic ramifications on individuals and the community at large. Her aim is to contribute to the evidence needed to promote the improvement of maternal and infant’s health during future pandemics.

Although Laila joined the University of Manitoba as an international student during the challenging COVID-19 lockdown in September 2020, she has led numerous initiatives at the University of Manitoba. She was the President of the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology (ISPE) U of M student chapter in 2021/2022 and organized several activities. She organized the ISPE annual workshop in January 2022, attended by students from different universities around the world.

She was also in the executive committee that organized the 3-minute poster presentation as a part of ISPE/ISPOR student chapter summer seminar. She is currently the president elect of Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) U of M student chapter. Laila was also the Vice President (pharmacoepidemiology) of College of Pharmacy Graduate Student Council (2021/2022) where she addressed the graduate students concerns at student association meetings and organised several activities. Laila volunteered as a mentor at the College of Pharmacy mentorship program, which is an initiative to support pharmacy graduate students socially through activities and academically by providing one-on-one mentorship. 

Laila was awarded several prestigious awards and scholarships, including the College of Pharmacist Manitoba/William G. Eamer scholarship and University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF). Additionally, she won the Wilson Publication Oral Presentation Award at 62nd annual meeting Society for Birth defects research and prevention (BDRP) and oral presentation at the College of Pharmacy Research Day 2023.

Despite her heavy schedule, she took the initiative to take part in the Canadian workforce by working as a pharmacy assistant during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in Manitoba. While hundreds of people were being immunized not only to COVID-19 vaccine but also flu shots at that time, she contributed to supporting community pharmacies. As a qualified international pharmacist, experiences in Egypt and Japan helped her grow as a leader in Canada.

2022 Forough Khadem Award Recipients

  • MSc award: Shifa Mohideen, Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases
  • PhD award: Shayan Amiri, Pharmacology and Therapeutics

2021 Forough Khadem Award Recipients

PhD Award: Romaniya (Roma) Zayats

During her undergraduate degree, Roma was a student volunteer for the St. John Ambulance at the University of Manitoba. She was trained as a Medical First Responder with exposure to hands-on patient treatment and crowd management as well as leadership in an emergency situation. These skills helped Roma save a life of choking baby. For this, she was awarded a Life-saving Award and a silver medal by Her Honourable Janice Filmon, C.M., O. M., Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba in October 2018. 

Roma’s pursuit of excellence and self-development continued after graduation when she was an assistant English teacher through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program. One of the greatest experiences she gained during her tenure in Japan was her exemplary public speaking skills and her ability to meet the needs of those who are dependent on her. Her dedication, passion for leadership is highly evident and continues to be evident at the University of Manitoba’s Department of Immunology where she is now. 

 In her first month as a graduate student at the Department of Immunology she was elected as the president of the Department’s Graduate Students’ Association where she increased the number of departmental activities among the labs, bringing all members of the department closer together as the family. The following year Roma was elected as the Health Sciences Graduate Students’ Association (HSGSA) Vice-President at the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne Campus. She served on peripheral committees as well such as the Financial Committee for both the HSGSA and the University of Manitoba GSA, and the Awards Committee for the University of Manitoba.

She was also involved in planning and leading the Canadian Student Health Research Forum at the University which involved over 300 poster presentations by students all over Canada as well as presentations from global leaders in research and developing a mentorship panel from the Gairdner Foundation awardees. Though Roma’s roles as the Student President for the Department of Immunology and Vice-President of the HSGSA are now complete, she continues to be one of the most sought-after students of the Department not only by other students for guidance in research but for events, attendance at conferences and to represent the department at university events. There has not been a year when Roma did not win an award for science communication, up to date she has received 18 awards since beginning her academic career. Roma exemplifies all facets of a model PhD student – focus, passion, approachability, leadership and mentorship. It is evident over the past several years of her life that Roma’s strength lies in bringing together and supporting communities to achieve their best by uniting them toward a common goal. 

MSc Award: Cameron Eekhoudt

My name is Cameron Eekhoudt and I am a graduate trainee studying at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research.

During my graduate training, I have had the honor of representing the student body for both the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology as well as the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic I served on the executive council for the HSGSA with the primary focus of ensuring smooth transition for all students to virtual life.

Most fulfilling was the responsibility to advocate for student resources and wellbeing. In addition to studying and working part-time for the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, I enjoy practicing yoga, running, and spending quality time with friends.