Lai, Henry

Welcome graduating student, Henry P. H. Lai, MSc 2020 to the Kin Alumni community. Henry is a UBC Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award winner who worked under the supervision of Dr. Darren Warburton in the Cardiovascular Physiology and Rehabilitation lab. During his time as a graduate student, Henry worked on a UBC TLEF project to co-create and deliver a blended-learning course specializing in Indigenous Health and Wellness.

Building on these learning experiences, Henry worked with the Health and Fitness Society of BC to co-create knowledge translation resources that promote culturally safe messaging in physical activity participation. These resources were shared with the broader community and included organizing local walk/run events, facilitating community-based experiential learning placements for undergrads, and hosting the 6​th​ and 7​th​ annual National Indigenous Physical Activity and Wellness Conference with the lab. Henry’s passion for working with Indigenous communities to promote holistic health and wellness inspired him to take on a research project at the lab as part of his graduate thesis.

Henry’s thesis project had a broad impact. It involved the co-creation of a community-based and Indigenous-led healthy lifestyle intervention, a joint initiative with Lytton First Nation, UBC Indigenous Studies in Kinesiology, and Indigenous Physical Activity and Cultural Circle. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of a community-based and Indigenous-led approach to improve health-related physical fitness measures in Indigenous adults living in a rural and remote community. Unique to this study, participants used individualized exercise prescriptions in family-oriented walking activities and talked about healthy lifestyle behaviours in knowledge-sharing circles. Strengths-based research methodologies were used to ensure that all aspects of the project reflect the innate strengths, capabilities, and aspirations of the community. The findings show that a strengths-based approach is a meaningful and beneficial method to improve health-related physical fitness and lifestyle behaviours. These culturally safe and relevant research methodologies support traditional ways to be physically active and empower community leaders to be the key advocates of positive change within their own community.

Henry’s academic interests include clinical exercise rehabilitation, preventive medicine, and holistic health and wellness. Henry has a strong passion for teaching as well. One of his most memorable and rewarding moments as a Teaching Assistant was the opportunity to create and teach a new unit in a kinesiology course. Away from school, Henry enjoys a lot of his downtime sipping black coffee, trying different bannock recipes, kayaking in the quiet waters of Deep Cove, and tending to his makeshift gardens.

Lai HPH, Miles RM, Bredin SSD, Kaufman KL, Chua CZY, Hare J, Norman ME, Rhodes RE, Oh P, Warburton DER. (2019). “With every step, we grow stronger”: The cardiometabolic benefits of an Indigenous-led and community-based healthy lifestyle intervention. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 8(4):422

UBC Killam Graduate Teaching Assistant Award (2020)
National Collaborating Centres for Public Health Knowledge Translation Award (2020)
Canadian Association of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation Abstract Award(2019)
Canadian Institutes of Health Research Indigenous Gender and Wellness Idea Fair and Learning Circle Travel Award (2019)
UBC Donald and Ellen Poulter Scholarship (2019)
UBC Faculty of Education Graduate Award (2017)
UBC Captain C. Y. Wu Kinesiology Scholarship (2016)
UBC William B. McNulty Kinesiology Scholarship (2016)
UBC Kinesiology Head of Class Award (2016)
UBC Trek Excellence Scholarship (2016)