My name is Danica Facca and I’m a PhD candidate in Health Information Science at Western University, where I work and study as a Graduate Fellow under the supervision of Dr. Lorie Donelle. I also work as a Research Coordinator at Lawson Health Research Institute and St. Joseph’s Health Care London under the supervision of Dr. Jacobi Elliot. I’m a past recipient of the Eugenia Canas Memorial Award in Health Equity (2022) and current Trainee Affiliate with CRHESI, where I further participate as a member of CRHESI’s Knowledge Mobilization for Health Equity Student Collective. Throughout my doctorate, I’ve consistently served my academic communities to further health equity and health information research within local and national contexts. I currently sit on the Board of Directors for The Canadian Association of Information Science and The Women’s Health Coalition of Canada, while remaining an active co-founder of Safe Campus Coalition, a non-profit which aims to educate, support, and build community across Canadian post-secondary campuses to work against the perpetuation of gender-based sexual violence. Alongside my research and activism, I’ve committed significant time over 2020-2023 to university governance and graduate student affairs through my elected Executive Officer appointments as Vice-President Academic (2020-22) and President (2022-23) at the Society of Graduate Students, Western University’s graduate student advocacy and government non-profit organization.
My doctoral research resides at the intersections of gender studies, health equity, critical menstrual studies, and critical digital health studies. Specifically, my research takes a narrative inquiry approach to understanding gender diverse menstruators’ experiences of menstrual health through an intersectional feminist lens, in addition to troubling the gendered nature of ‘femtech’ (women’s health technologies) and its broader impact within women’s health research and related disciplines. Given that menstrual health is experienced in diverse context-specific ways, and directly impacts a menstruator’s physical and emotional well-being, gender diverse menstruators may face structural health inequities related to their menstrual health including accessing reproductive health services and menstrual products, or social isolation when dealing with dysphoria. As an allied health researcher, I hope to contribute toward advancing menstrual health research by offering a more diverse and comprehensive picture of menstrual health that works to breakdown cisnormative stereotypes and reduce the stigma associated with both menstruation and diverse gender identities.
As a graduate student who wears many hats, I’m constantly reconciling my place in the world and how I can put my training to use for the good of my local communities. Becoming a CRHESI Trainee Affiliate has provided me with invaluable learning opportunities to deepen my graduate education and put my health research training into practice through community-based knowledge mobilization initiatives and generative conversations among dynamic stakeholder groups. For example, this past spring I worked with fellow CRHESI Student Collective members to co-create a community spotlight blog series on food insecurity among Western students and London residents which bridged a timely public health issue between my academic and local communities in an impactful way. Through my involvement with CRHESI, I continue to connect with a community of like-minded others who remain deeply committed to addressing the roots and consequences of health and social inequities through intentional research and knowledge mobilization. My affiliate status keeps me accountable to living by my values and showing up as the most honest, truest version of myself in all that I do, within and beyond academia.