Incoming York postdoctoral Fellow receives History of Medicine and Healthcare award

Collage showing DNA, medicine and more

The Associated Medical Services (AMS) History of Medicine and Healthcare (HMH) program has announced its newest postdoctoral fellowship recipient, York University’s Efrat Gold.

Gold’s fellowship begins in January 2023 with York University’s Faculty of Health.

Selected by an expert review panel, she is one of five research grant and fellowship recipients named this year. These talented scholars will enhance the scope of history of medicine research and curate lessons to positively shape Canadian healthcare.

Founded in 2015, the HMH awards program promotes scholarship, teaching and public interest in the history of health care, disease and medicine. Researchers, health-care professionals and students can apply for three types of awards: postdoctoral fellowships of $45,000, doctoral completion awards of $25,000 and project grants of up to $10,000. Through this funding, the program aspires to develop leaders and provide resources for crucial activities in health-care research, education and clinical practice.

Efrat Gold close up portrait
Efrat Gold

Gold’s project, titled “Archiving Patient-Led Mad Activism in Canada, 1970s-2020,” aims to create a new source of open access archival data and accompanying teaching materials rooted in revisiting past mental health philosophies through patient-led initiatives.

Designed in two parts, the first segment of Gold’s project involves the curation of mad-centered archival material not yet available in the public domain. The second segment uses critical discourse analysis of the archival material to enhance understandings of the crucial, active role of patients in shaping mental health care.

Gold’s work has the power to positively enhance the scope of medicinal history by emphasizing the intersections between mad activists and other disenfranchised groups, including queer/transgender people, Indigenous organizers and anti-racist activists. Madness Canada will coordinate the digitization and public display of the project once the archival series and accompanying teaching and learning materials are developed.

Outside of this project, Gold challenges dominant views of mental health and illness through her writing and activism. Motivated by social justice-informed approaches to madness and disability, her work unsettles psychiatric ideology by exposing the absences of those deemed mad and exploring life-affirming possibilities for mad inclusion. Gold’s publications appear in scholarly and community venues, demonstrating her commitment to producing research and pedagogy that is accessible and incorporates the voices of mad and disabled people through consultation and solidarity.

Applications for the 2023 HMH program opened on Nov. 1, offering over $250,000 in funding for researchers, health-care professionals and students. See the program’s website for more information.