Published: Jan. 18, 2017
I received my BScN from McMaster in 1999, and in 2004, I graduated again with my PhD.
I am an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta, and the Associate Director of the Evidence-based Practice Center at the University of Alberta, a Center funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US Department of Health & Human Services).
My research aims to improve mental health care and outcomes for children and youth who have a mental illness. I am currently working with an amazing group of scholars and clinicians across Canada, and in China, to develop and evaluate eMental health care treatments for anxiety disorders. This research involves an exciting combination of technology, health economics, implementation science, and clinical trial design. I’m also working alongside the non-profit sector to discuss how to make the treatments widely available for use.
How I got here:
After I completed my BScN, I was McMaster's first undergraduate nursing student to directly enter graduate studies. I had a very supportive graduate committee, and after I completed one year of a Master's degree, I transferred to the PhD program. During this time, I also worked as a registered nurse on an inpatient psychiatry unit. I gained valuable experience caring for patients, and saw first-hand the importance of evidence-based treatment. After I finished my PhD, I left Hamilton for Edmonton to complete a postdoctorate in knowledge translation science at the University of Alberta. I joined the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry in 2007 after my postdoctorate. There were no faculty positions posted at the time, but I met with the Chair of Pediatrics anyway to talk about what my role as a clinician scientist could be in the Department of Pediatrics. Our discussion must have been compelling because the Chair created a faculty position that provided 75% time for my research and said, “You’ll need to secure a personnel award and operating grants to support your work, and remember to have fun.” Since my appointment, I have found research to be so much more exhilarating and challenging than I could have ever dreamed of.
Why I chose McMaster for my BScN degree:
I was 18 years old when I applied to university so I had little perspective on the value my degree would afford my career. When I applied, I thought that small group learning would be a good match for my learning style, and I liked the idea of having meaningful relationships with my professors. In hindsight, I am very thankful that I made the choice that I did.
How my experience at Mac has helped me:
My education at McMaster provided me with foundational skills to be a scientist. Learning how to approach and solve problems, and think ‘outside of the box’ has allowed me to be at the forefront of my field. My (often tough) lessons in self-awareness and leadership have helped me build dynamic, transdisciplinary teams.
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