VEC Student Spotlight: Gareth Mercer

Gareth is a UBC student in the combined MD/PhD program, offered jointly by the Faculty of Medicine and Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. He has been undertaking his thesis at the VEC since 2010 alongside his supervisor, Julie Bettinger.

Gareth Mercer

Gareth explains the primary focus of his research below:

“It has been proposed that protecting and promoting the health of HIV-affected children requires strategies that will help strengthen families (defined broadly). Men are an integral part of many families but, in countries with the greatest HIV epidemics, very little is known about their involvement in caring for children. My thesis research aims to document and explain variations in the parenting practices of the fathers of infants participating in the ‘Mother Infant Health Study.’ “

The Mother Infant Health Study is a cohort study being conducted collaboratively by researchers at CFRI and the University of Stellenbosch (Cape Town, South Africa). It aims to compare the health outcomes of HIV-exposed but uninfected infants to those of infants not exposed to HIV.One long term goal of this research is to provide insights into how to include men in family-strengthening policies and programs so as to achieve improvements in both child health and gender equity. 

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March 6th, 2014: Gareth  presenting his work titled: “Father-child co-residence and children’s health in South Africa,” at the weekly CHIMPS rounds for UBC’s Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases.