Carla Hilario is a mother, an educator, a life-long learner, an immigrant and a nurse, to name a few. The way these roles play into one another were an important part of what drew her to work in health equity.
“They all provide a lens for me to experience and see the world, which enhances my capacity to understand the lives of others, or at least to attempt to consider what might be important for their health as they move through their own journeys,” she says.
This perspective lies at the heart of much of Hilario’s research. Intersectionality, feminism and critical race theory are some of the key concepts behind the questions she chooses to explore and the design of her research projects. “My education and training have been in the field of nursing, which has helped me to truly listen to the needs of individuals, groups, communities — whoever it is I am serving — and to support their capacity to articulate those needs so that they are met,” she says.
She was an assistant professor at the University of Alberta, where her research focused largely on youth mental health. Over the last two years, she’s been a part of a multi-site study focused on young people’s mental health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Although she was in the early stages of analyzing the data collected, she’s positive it will offer some valuable teachings. She recently moved to British Columbia.
“I have learned a great deal from ‘research participants’ — the youth who share their experiences,” she says. “I’m always blown away by these young people and the insights they have.”
She researches and teaches mental health for those who need it most
This article appears in the November 2022 issue of Edify