Kaleem was awarded The Victor Dahdaleh Foundation Scholarship for 2018 – 2019.
Kaleem Hawa was born in Edmonton and grew up in Toronto. The summer after he finished his joint BA in International Relations and BSc in Human Biology at the University of Toronto, he worked as a policy assistant in the Office of the Premier of Ontario. At that time, the policy advisors in the Premier’s Office were working on issues related to Ontario’s health policy and obligation towards Indigenous reconciliation, and Kaleem had the chance to learn and contribute. He learned about the significant investments being made by the Ministry of Health and Longterm Care and the growing need to address the major gaps in care delivery in the North.
Since then it has become even more evident to Kaleem that policy and healthcare delivery need to be crafted by Indigenous communities for Indigenous communities, rather than prescriptively and top-down by the government, however well-meaning.
Following his graduation from the University of Toronto Kaleem moved to the UK to pursue his DPhil in Population Health at the University of Oxford’s Big Data Institute, where he studies as a Rhodes Scholar.
Kaleem is interested in the policy implications of using large demographic, health and environmental data-sets to help explain changing disease and public health dynamics. He plans to examine policy frameworks for how governments, granting agencies and community health organizations can most effectively use space-time geostatistical models to target their limited resources towards disease management and control. This work is premised on the principle that without effective data collection and integration with community health services, governments risk a public health response that is slow, poorly targeted and chronically underfunded.
Kaleem’s role model and hero is Dr. Atul Gawande, a Harvard University physician who wrote “The Heroism of Incremental Care”. In this landmark article Gawande details the ways in which we regularly spend health dollars where we shouldn’t. He believes stronger investments in upstream care, primary health services and preventative medicine will pay dividends in the longterm and sees data as a means of driving insights into these tradeoffs. Gawande’s foundational theory inspires and motivates Kaleem’s thinking about healthcare.
In addition to his research including academic contributions and publications, Kaleem is a member of the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club where he plays forward for the Oxford Vikings and meets up with other Canadian ice hockey players who live and study at Oxford. In the future, Kaleem believes that he can be most useful in helping to create a structure for government data to be used to support communities in autonomously making the best decisions for their own healthcare needs.