Kate Wahl

 
Narrative as a tool for knowledge translation with health policy makers
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Before beginning my graduate studies, I spent four years at the Princess Margaret Hospital as a clinical research analyst. Working in that environment gave me the practical skills I needed to implement research and helped me realize that I wanted to be able to ask and answer my own research questions. I decided to pursue a graduate degree so that I would have the advanced methodological training I needed to be an independent researcher.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

Early in my training, I realized that researchers can play an important role in ensuring that new knowledge gets into the hands of people who can use it to improve health outcomes. I decided to focus my doctoral research on the development of new methods for generating and sharing evidence with patients, practitioners, and health policy makers. UBC is the perfect fit for this work because of its unique commitment to supporting scholarship that advances the public good through collaboration with partners outside of the traditional university setting. I am especially lucky to be supervised by Drs. Sarah Munro and Wendy Norman, who are experts in the science and practice of promoting the uptake of research findings related to women’s health.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

I completed my MSc in the School of Population and Public Health because it offered the foundation in statistics and epidemiology that is necessary to understand and conduct health research. As a PhD student in the Reproductive and Developmental Sciences program, I benefit from a multidisciplinary training environment that gives me the privilege of learning from both clinical researchers and basic scientists about issues in women’s health. The program also offers the flexibility to pursue a diversity of learning opportunities that support my development.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

The best surprise about UBC was the breadth of opportunities that the school offers to its graduate students. Within the first two years of my training, I was both a mentee and a mentor, became a member of the Women’s Health Research Institute and Women's Health Research Cluster, adjudicated the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference, participated in the 3 Minute Thesis competition, and completed training to become an Associate of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning. Each of these experiences provided me with skills that surpass traditional graduate education and better equip me to generate and mobilize knowledge within and outside of academia.

What aspects of your life or career before now have best prepared you for your UBC graduate program?

The practical training I received as a clinical research analyst before coming to UBC best prepared me for my graduate studies by helping me understand the real-world applications of what I was learning.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Bring a growth mindset to your graduate experience! Now is a great time to explore challenges, take intellectual risks, and learn to capitalize on setbacks. Knowing that not everything will go according to plan, remember that your colleagues will be there to support your development and advancement.