Announcing the 2024 BRN IGNITE grant recipients

From across the University of Toronto, Black Research Network community members are advancing research ranging from the humanities to the social sciences and life sciences. Research projects include preserving traditional recipes in the GTA’s African diaspora, literature and media studies and human rights. Various projects advance and advocate for Black health, including disability studies and equity practices in public health.

Launched in 2022, the BRN’s IGNITE grant provides annual small-scale funding to support interdisciplinary research led by Black faculty, librarians, post-doctoral scholars, clinical scientists and medical research fellows/residents at the University of Toronto.

The IGNITE grant offers between $5,000 to $10,000 towards professional development, research dissemination and other types of research support.

Profile pictures of Samuel Akinbo and Suzi Lima.

Samuel Akinbo and Suzi Lima

Samuel Akinbo and Suzi Lima are assistant professors at the Department of Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts & Science. They are co-leading a project to document the preparation of traditional foods and investigate the grammar of counting and measuring in Gã and Yoruba, two closely related languages spoken in Ghana and Nigeria, respectively. Collaborating with universities in Ghana and Nigeria, one of the project’s key goals is to preserve and revitalize stigmatized traditional foods.

Profile picture of Nicole Bernhardt.

Nicole Bernhardt

Nicole Bernhardt is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto Scarborough. Her research interests include public policy, human rights law and institutions, race and racism, and state-driven equity measures. Bernhardt’s developing book project provides an intensive case study of the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) in order to demonstrate the pressing need for enhanced human rights accountability and legally-enforceable public interest remedies to respond to racial discrimination through policing.

Profile picture of Araba Chintoh.

Araba Chintoh

Araba Chintoh is an assistant professor at the Institute of Medical Sciences in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. Her clinical and research interests focus on schizophrenia and include psychopharmacology and inequities in access to mental and physical health care. Chintoh’s study will examine the increasing use of data science techniques in clinical medicine and public health research to understand how race is conceptualized in health research, and how the adoption of these techniques has not incorporated an equity lens to encompass the historical, political, and socio-economic conditions that contribute to health outcomes.

Profile picture of Prentiss Dantzler.

Prentiss Dantzler

Prentiss Dantzler is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology whose research links urban poverty, neighbourhood change, race and ethnic relations, housing and community development. The Black Canadian Health Research Database will bring together University of Toronto students, faculty, librarians, and administrators to address the lack of race-based health data in Canada. The resource will be built by utilizing academic and non-academic knowledge on Black Canadian health through physician interviews, news articles and community reports, to name a few approaches.

Profile picture of Beverley Essue.

Beverley Essue

Beverley Essue is an associate professor at the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. She leads interdisciplinary research focused on strengthening financial risk protection and advancing equity across global health systems.

Essue’s ongoing research project examines adverse health outcomes associated with intimate partner violence (IPV) and barriers racialized women face in accessing dental care in Toronto — an overlooked consequence of IPV. In partnership with the Dr. Borna Meisami Commemorative Foundation, the project will reflect on survivors’ experiences with dental care access through art. The project was previously funded by the BRN’s inaugural IGNITE grant in 2022.

Profile picture of De-Lawrence Lamptey.

De-Lawrence Lamptey

De-Lawrence Lamptey was named the inaugural EMBARK Scientist at Holland Bloorview Research Hospital in 2023. The opportunity was created alongside the BRN to amplify diverse Black voices in disability research. With extensive training in childhood disability and early childhood development, Lamptey’s work is related to policy, programs and services for children and youth with disabilities. His ongoing study explores the experiences of racialized children and youth with disabilities and their families in Canada.

Profile picture of Hadiya Roderique.

Hadiya Roderique

Hadiya Roderique is assistant professor of U of T Scarborough’s journalism program in the Department of Arts, Culture & Media. An award-winning journalist and lawyer, Roderique’s research focus revolves around race, gender and inequity. Her project will address the concept of journalistic objectivity since 2020 by highlighting the everyday experiences of racialized journalists working in Canadian news organizations. Through in-depth interviews with racialized journalists, Roderique seeks to understand how objectivity is perceived by journalists and their editors, and how this may affect career advancement, amongst other questions.

Profile picture of Anna Thomas.

Anna Thomas

Anna Thomas is an assistant professor in the Department of English and drama at the University of Toronto Mississauga. She is currently working on a book project that examines the relationship between ethics and form in African American and Caribbean literature. The book is informed by artifacts such as archival letters to examine how diasporas contend with, confront, and redeploy "difference" and "unevenness" as both a question of ethics and aesthetics. Archival research for the book was funded by the 2020 Connaught New Researcher Award.

Profile picture of Roberta K Timothy.

Roberta K. Timothy

Roberta K Timothy is an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the first Black health lead and inaugural program director for its master of public health in Black Health. Timothy’s research addresses anti-colonial, anti-oppression, and community-responsive health promotion, policy, and practice. The Black Health Matters: COVID-19 Research Project will investigate the health impacts of COVID-19 on African/Black communities, front-line healthcare workers, essential service workers, and community leaders in the Canadian and global context. It will examine how structural/systemic anti-Black racism maintains barriers to healthcare and how this impacts COVID-19 prevention, treatment, and management strategies.