WRC Distinguished Graduate Student Award Recipient 2020
Cindy Kalenga is an emerging leader in women’s cardiovascular health. She is currently a PhD candidate with Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) where she is exploring how estrogen hormones in the form of contraceptives and postmenopausal hormone therapy are associated with cardiovascular risk in women.
Kalenga is widely recognized in the research community as she was recently awarded the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta’s highly competitive doctoral scholarship in Women’s Cardiovascular Health. She also received the Alberta Graduate Award and UCalgary chose her application for the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Doctoral Scholarship to advance to the national competition, an accomplishment only a few graduate students experience. Kalenga is a highly sought-after speaker at both national and international conferences.
Kalenga is highly committed to supporting women and vowed to optimize the participation of minorities into research to impact the health of all Canadians regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, or gender. As the lead of the Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Sex and Gender Trainee Network at UCalgary, she is working to build awareness and capacity in sex- and gender-based considerations among trainees conducting health research in Canada alongside 18 other Canadian universities. In her spare time, she plays basketball and tutors high school and undergraduate students.
Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a time of great civil unrest, her family relocated to South Africa at the height of apartheid where she experienced challenges due to severe racial tension. Her family later immigrated to Canada, where she yet again needed to adapt to a new environment. Kalenga’s diverse cultural experiences have provided her with a high degree of adaptability and resiliency.
Kalenga is currently working on her thesis which she hopes to complete by 2021.