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Dr. Shela Hirani
School of Nursing
University of Regina
Discovery (Biological & Genetic Mechanisms)
Dr. Shela Hirani is an Associate Professor at the University of Regina, Faculty of Nursing, Canada. She is a neonatal and child health nursing professional, academician, researcher, and an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. She is actively involved in work surrounding the improvement of health equity, health systems, programs and policies that often negatively affects the health and well-being of marginalized and vulnerable groups of women and young children affected by migration, disaster, displacement, and pandemic. Her professional goal is to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged children and marginalized women through her research work, leadership, and community services.
As suboptimal breastfeeding practice is the leading cause of malnutrition-related mortalities and morbidities among infants, Dr Hirani is actively involved in the promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding in diverse settings. From 2003 to date, Dr Shela Hirani is actively involved in breastfeeding advocacy in diverse care settings and health promotion of the vulnerable population of women and young children, including mothers who are immigrants, refugees, displaced, homeless and affected by pandemics. She has contributed to knowledge development in nursing surrounding “care of marginalized women during a disaster”, “breastfeeding during humanitarian emergencies”, and “Mother and baby-friendly initiatives at mothers’ workplace settings “. She has established her program of research surrounding breastfeeding advocacy among the marginalized and vulnerable groups of mothers and young children who are refugees, immigrants, internally displaced, homeless, and/or affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. She has mentored and supervised undergraduate, advanced diploma level and master's students for their clinical and community based small scale studies. Dr Hirani is actively involved in serving as a peer reviewer for several international refereed journals. She is also an associate editor of 'PLOS Global Public Health' and 'The Open Public Health Journal'.
Dr. Hirani is recognized as one of 100 outstanding women nurse and midwife leaders from around the world by Women in Global Health in partnership with the World Health Organization, International Council of Nurses, an International confederation of midwives, United Nations Population Fund and Nursing Now. She is also the recipient of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing's Emerging Nurse Researcher award 2020 and Canada's most prestigious scholarship awards, including the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship Award and Honorary Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship Award recognizing her outstanding community services, leadership, and contribution for knowledge development in Nursing. In 2013, she received the “Trudi Szallasi Memorial Scholarship Award” from the Health-e-learning.
Dr. Hirani has received competitive research funding from the “Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF)”, “Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundations”, “International Development Research Centre (IDRC)”, “University of Regina, Canada”, “University of Alberta”, and “Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI)”. Dr Hirani’s research focus is in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals, 2015-2030, with a special focus on goal 3 which aims at reducing preventable deaths in newborns and children under 5 years of age. This also aligns with the Partnership for Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health and the World Health Organization (WHO) which promote breastfeeding for the first 12 months of life. Dr Hirani is hopeful that her research work will further develop knowledge related to breastfeeding advocacy, guide future research and facilitate the mobilization of knowledge to improve the well-being of breastfeeding mothers in diverse care settings.