Department Spotlight: Durr Al-Hakim


Vancouver – VGH Research Pavillion

Durr Al-Hakim, Clinical Research Assistant with UBC’s Department of Emergency Medicine.

How long have you worked in the Department of Emergency Medicine (DEM)/UBC?
I have been working with the Department of Emergency Medicine since August 2021.

Can you summarize what you do in the Department?

I’m currently a clinical research assistant working under the supervision of Dr. Jeffrey Brubacher, with a primary focus on the National Drug Driving Study at the Road Safety and Public Health (RSPH) lab. The study aims to evaluate the prevalence of drug-impaired driving (e.g., alcohol, cannabis) among injured drivers involved in motor vehicle collisions across Canada, and can help policymakers and road-safety professionals to inform policies and programs that protect against driving after drug use. Beyond performing blood sample and data collection, and other study-related responsibilities, I’m involved in multiple systematic reviews to study specific risk factors associated with increased risk of motor vehicle collisions, in an effort to further promote injury prevention and road safety. It’s been exciting and I’ve certainly learned a lot thus far. 

Before joining RSPH, I worked as a research assistant on the Canadian COVID-19 Emergency Department Rapid Response Network (CCEDRRN), led by Dr. Corinne Hohl. By helping to characterize COVID-19 ED visits and hospital admissions, this data was used to validate COVID-19 clinical decisions. Certainly rewarding to have been involved in this project at the height of the pandemic.

What is your favourite thing about working in the Department?
My team! I’m surrounded by great colleagues, and it’s been a pleasure working with and learning from Dr. Brubacher – an incredibly driven, inspiring, and supportive mentor.

What is one interesting fact about you that people may not know?
Often comes as a shock to most people, but I really love classical music. I try to go to “concerts” (e.g., orchestras/symphonies) whenever I have the chance! It’s usually what I’m listening to while working, studying, or even during my coffee walks.

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?
I’m really interested in social advocacy and strive to improve the accessibility of basic necessities for individuals facing social marginalization in BC. In May 2021, I founded an NPO named The Good Day Charitable Society to help to carry out this mission. Since then, we’ve partnered with VGH Emergency Department and also offered support to women at the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre!

As for hobbies, weightlifting is one of my top priorities and I’ve been consistently training for a few years now – it never fails to fill my cup up. I also love solo-travelling, baking, and going for long coffee walks with my close friends.

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