Empowering patients and their families when severe illness strikes: Dr. Sylvie Lambert’s Canada Research Chair

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Dr. Sylvie Lambert, Assistant Professor, Ingram School of Nursing, McGill Faculty of Medicine, is one of eleven women recently awarded a Canada Research Chair (CRC) at the University. Dr. Lambert was awarded a Tier 2 CRC in Sustainable Self-Management Support for Patients with Cancer and Their Family Caregivers. Tier 2 Chairs are awarded to exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field, and are valued at $100,000 annually for five years with one opportunity for renewal. The CRC program was created to enable Canadian universities to attract and retain established and emerging world-class researchers.

Prior to becoming a researcher, Dr. Lambert was an ICU nurse, where she met patients and families trying to cope with severe illnesses. “I wanted to know what information patients and families needed, where they find this information and how they are applying this knowledge to living as healthily as possible despite a chronic illness,” says Dr. Lambert. “As a clinician, I quickly realized how powerful and empowering knowledge is for patients and their families, but by the same token, misinformation and lack of knowledge can be just as powerful, in a negative way.”

Not surprisingly, the basis of Dr. Lambert’s Research Chair is focusing on the development and evaluation of clinical interventions that provide the best available information to meet the needs of patients and their families, in a compassionate and useful way. “Communicating information and making sure individuals learn the skills they need to live as well as possible at a time when stress and other emotions are high is a challenge, one that our team has taken on!” says Dr. Lambert.

The goal of Dr. Lambert’s research is to ultimately equip clinicians with a set of interventions to help patients and their families manage the emotional, social and physical challenges of living with a chronic disease. “We want clinicians to have the resources and tools to be able to support patients when they need it the most,” says Dr. Lambert. “We are also factoring in the current climate of the health care system, so as to not create additional costs, which means, for example, using online platforms, or organizing the interventions in a way that the most intensive are reserved for those who need them the most.”

Dr. Lambert’s team has just recently received two catalyst grants for innovative clinical trials from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). “We’re looking forward to witnessing the practical implications of this research,” says Dr. Lambert. “This Research Chair is the recognition and the validation of the scientific accuracy and value of our work by other Canadian researchers within and outside this field.”

Major funding sources for Sustainable Self-Management Support for Patients with Cancer and Their Family Caregivers include Prostate Cancer Canada, Réseau de recherche en interventions en sciences infirmières du Québec, Le Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé and CIHR. Collaborators are pan-Canadian: Princess Margaret Hospital, McGill University Health Centre, St. Mary’s Hospital Center, CancerCare Manitoba, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, University of Calgary, and Vancouver Prostate Centre.

Dr. Lambert came to McGill from Australia where she was a National Health and Medical Research Council Research Fellow at the Translational Cancer Research Unit, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, University of New South Wales. For more information, visit: http://www.mcgill.ca/nursing/faculty/sylvie-lambert.

May 19, 2017

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