Shela Hirani

Killam Doctoral Scholarship and Dorothy J. Killam Memorial Graduate Prize Recipient

University of Alberta

Shela is working towards her PhD in nursing in order to strengthen her leadership potential, educational capability and of course to further her research into maternal and child health – particularly as related to human lactation.  Mothers in disaster relief camps often discontinue breastfeeding as there is little privacy and few people to help them if they run into problems.  Shela will examine the facilitators and barriers to breastfeeding practices of internally displaced mothers residing in disaster relief camps in Pakistan.  Her research will help relief workers and nurses to develop context specific supportive interventions to improve breastfeeding practices in relief camps and reduce the mortality rate of young children in Pakistan.

With more than 25 publications in refereed journals Shela’s work already has a global audience.  She chose UAlberta for its reputation for research excellence, as well as its well-recognized PhD in Nursing.  She loves to give back to the community, offering free counselling to breastfeeding mothers as a certified lactation consultant.  She is also proud of her Pakistani heritage, conducting presentations in Edmonton area elementary schools on her culture during multiculture week.  She is also a senior peer mentor to new international students at UAlberta and is an excellent role model for her 11 year old daughter.

“To me, winning a Killam is not only a great honor but also a responsibility. I am hopeful that being a Killam laureate I will make everyone proud through my sincere efforts and hard work.”  


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