December 15, 2015
I basically want to figure out how to evaluate eHealth interventions, specifically mHealth apps, at a scale and pace that is appropriate for this emerging technology. We’ve been borrowing dated evaluation methodologies for too long – it can take up to 17 years from initial research to full implementation of a behavioural intervention, and honestly we just don’t have that kind of time. I believe we owe it to the transformative technologies we’re creating to make sure that the research support can keep up.
I found out about the Centre through serendipitously stumbling onto a Youtube video of the TEDxToronto Talk that Dr. Joe Cafazzo (now my supervisor!) did in 2013. In his talk, Dr. Cafazzo spoke about how the Centre was making mHealth apps for chronic conditions like diabetes and asthma, and stated that in creating these apps, he wanted all of us to have great stories – not just stories of us living, but stories of us living very well. How can you hear something like that and not deeply believe in it, or want to dedicate a solid 4+ years of your life towards making these stories happen for everyone?
It’s hard to introduce a new way of doing something in a field with deep roots. Research is basically synonymous with randomized controlled trials, and trying to come up with something that can compete with such a behemoth of a methodology is daunting.
Absolutely! I can’t wait to learn from and one day work alongside the developers, designers, human factors analysts and so many other exciting disciplines that make up the Centre’s interdisciplinary culture.
I used to sit at my desk in my old office in London and daydream about what it would feel like to start a PhD and be part of the Centre. Then the day came when I was sitting near the front windows of the Centre and taking a call with my bosses in London – it felt quite dramatic for a fairly insignificant moment, but boy was it great.