Being a public scholar means giving back to the community that actively contributes to our research by sharing their insights. This collaborative exchange provides an insider view, making it more grounded in reality and providing a holistic glance to research. Coming from a health care discipline, I deeply appreciate the invaluable support my patients and participants have provided, encouraging my enduring passion for research.
Physical, social, and psychological adjustments following a spinal cord injury (SCI) can notably impact overall health and consequently, one's quality of life. Mental health issues post-SCI are particularly noteworthy, as they have been linked to overall mortality making it crucial to address. Well-being, a key factor in quality of life involves the integration of mental and physical health. Mind-body practices like yoga offer a promising means to facilitate this integration through various techniques including physical postures, breathing exercises, meditation, and relaxation. While evidence supports the benefits of yoga for various neurological conditions, research on its application to SCI is limited. Moreover, existing studies lack clear guidelines for defining, implementing, and evaluating yoga interventions, across diverse neurological populations, including individuals with SCI. Additionally, although there is substantial research focused on enhancing physical activity for those with SCI, the importance of addressing mental health to improve overall well-being in this context is still in its infancy. Furthermore, it is essential to understand the barriers, values, and expected outcomes associated with yoga from the perspective of individuals with SCI to ensure successful implementation. By incorporating end-user’s perspectives and experiences, our goal is to develop a more inclusive and effective yoga intervention for individuals living with SCI. Ultimately, the findings of this study will contribute valuable insights into the benefits of yoga, encompassing diverse perspectives and paving the way for broader applications across Canada.
What does being a Public Scholar mean to you?
For me, being a public scholar means giving back to the community that actively contributes to our research by sharing their insights. This collaborative exchange provides an insider view, making it more grounded in reality and providing a holistic glance to research. Coming from a health care discipline, I deeply appreciate the invaluable support my patients and participants have provided, encouraging my enduring passion for research. In healthcare where educating patients about their conditions is of paramount importance in clinical and hospital settings, the role of public scholar enables me to extend this vital aspect to a wider community. In essence, being a public scholar offers an opportunity to explore alternative ways to knowledge dissemination we have collectively generated with the community of practice and give back to the community that has supported our research journey.
In what ways do you think the PhD experience can be re-imagined with the Public Scholars Initiative?
The Public Scholars Initiative (PSI) serves as a valuable platform for me to connect and exchange ideas with fellow students and communities during the early stages of my research. This interaction not only enables me to receive feedback and evaluate my work but also promotes the practical application of my research outcomes, extending beyond the confines of academia to reach a wider public audience.
How do you envision connecting your PhD work with broader career possibilities?
For me, pursuing a PhD represents a daily commitment to self-improvement and lifelong learning. My overarching goal is to reintegrate back into my clinical practice in neurorehabilitation, enriched with the invaluable experience of conducting research. This endeavour serves as a bridge, connecting the realms of academia and clinical application. The knowledge and insights gained from my PhD will fundamentally transform my approach to addressing issues in neurorehabilitation. Being trained in evidence-based practices, I will be better capable in providing my patients with treatments firmly grounded in research findings. Additionally, the PhD process is cultivating a versatile skill set that extends beyond my research focus. These skills not only facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration but also nurture my ability to think creatively and innovatively. This empowers me to explore unconventional solutions and approaches in my clinical practice, ultimately enhancing the quality of care I offer to my patients.
How does your research engage with the larger community and social partners?
My doctoral work is not confined to academic isolation but actively embraces a community-led approach. Community-led approach involves the active participation of various stakeholders on my research team, including individuals with SCI, clinicians, and experienced yoga therapists. It fosters an inclusive environment where everyone's voices are heard, promoting a sense of collaboration. As a future clinician-scientist, I aim to establish lasting partnerships with these stakeholders, extending the impact of our work beyond the academic sphere. These partnerships will serve as compelling channel for translating my research findings that is to enhance the well-being of the SCI community.
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?
The concept of research has consistently played a pivotal role in shaping my academic journey. Ever since my undergrad days, I have passionately delved into the assessment of patient progress both before and after rehab plan, even though it might seem like a tiny piece of the research puzzle. As a result, I've nurtured a deep-seated aspiration to further my understanding of the research process. Furthermore, my experiences working within clinical settings, including clinics and hospitals, have highlighted the perpetual challenge of embracing and implementing innovative rehabilitation practices. Pursuing a doctoral degree provides me with the knowledge and ability to critically appraise the merits and drawbacks of emerging rehab practices. I believe this newfound confidence empowers me to adopt innovative approaches, thereby giving me a strong foundation that combine clinical as well as research expertise.
Why did you choose to come to British Columbia and study at UBC?
Studying at UBC is a dream come true for me, and being part of the rehabilitation department's research is truly exceptional. The faculty here come from all over the world and possess an incredible depth of knowledge and expertise. I feel particularly blessed to work with my supervisor, Dr. Bill Miller, whose work I've admired since my undergraduate days. His approach to research places a greater emphasis on identifying real world research applications rather than overly idealistic ones, which has left a lasting impression on me. His dedication to developing interventions for diverse disability populations, such as people with spinal cord injuries, amputations, older adults, etc. reflects his passion for this field. Furthermore, Vancouver's breathtaking natural surroundings and vibrant city culture offer an enriching environment for both academic and personal growth. The potential for networking, research opportunities, and community engagement at UBC played a central role in my decision to pursue my Ph.D. here. Overall, UBC provides the perfect setting for me to prosper academically and make a meaningful contribution to my field.