Research Project: Recognizing and responding to barriers to HCV treatment among young Indigenous people

Postdoc Year(s): 2015-2016

Dr. Margo Pearce is a grant writer and research coordinator for the Cedar Project, a prospective cohort study of young Indigenous people who used drugs in BC. Her postdoctoral project looks at identifying and understanding barriers to HCV treatment for young Indigenous people who use drugs in BC, particularly in Vancouver and Prince George.

Canadian data indicates that Indigenous people are vastly over-presented among people who inject drugs, and in turn among people living with HIV, HCV, and HIV-HCV coinfection. These issues are further exacerbated the low rates of treatment uptake among Indigenous people. For example, a 2008 study reported that out of 2500 patients in an HCV treatment program, only 1.7% were Indigenous. In particular, Indigenous youth appear to be more severely impacted.

To help tackle this situation, Dr. Pearce seeks to first identify and then address barriers to treating chronic HCV infection  among young Indigenous people who use drugs. She hopes that her research will have great significance for improving health outcomes.

Dr. Pearce recently defended her PhD in Health and Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia School of Population and Public Health. Her co-supervisors are Drs. Marina Klein and Robert Hogg.