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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Back in undergrad, I spent most of my summer days doing cell bio experiments in a wet lab back at the University of Ottawa, so being a summer research student is nothing new to me.

In fact, after being a summer research student for so long, I was hesitant to do it again. Summers are pretty valuable – maybe it would be better to spend them getting clinical exposure? Travel? Lounge about? Embrace my African heritage and visit family in Mauritius? I wanted a fresh new experience.

Nevertheless, I took a chance by signing up for the Summer Research Training Program (SRTP), and I’m really glad I did!

I’m currently doing a qualitative research project under Dr. Lorelei Lingard at the Centre for Education Reseach & Innovation (CERI) that looks into the integration of palliative care in heart failure teams. It’s absolutely fascinating and right now, I couldn’t imagine spending my summer any other way.

A large part of my project involves reading interview transcripts of patients with heart failure and their health care team, and creating “narrative profiles” which capture key issues surrounding their care, such as the coordination of the patient’s palliative care, and areas where the health care team’s goals of care converge or diverge with the patient’s. I’ve always had a strong interest in writing, stories, and narrative medicine, but I never got to explore that during undergrad; this project allows me to do exactly that.

Even better, everyone at CERI is incredibly friendly! Most of the summer students here are in the same boat as I am, with no prior qualitative research experience at all.

Although it’s sometimes challenging, the scientists, researchers, and staff always make themselves available for us and have a genuine interest in our learning. They’re always supportive of us and it shows! From encouraging emails, to celebratory potlucks, to the CERI Peer Mentorship group we’ve set up, the atmosphere here is fantastic, and makes it easy to feel like part of a community. Also, our coffee and tea bar is always fully stocked, so waking up in the morning isn’t so bad!

If it’s something that interests you and you get the opportunity, I’d highly recommend doing a summer research project here. The environment is great, and the Centre works hard at developing our research skills while also ensuring we have a pleasant summer experience.

After a short time, I’m even thinking about doing a master's degree here in the future, something that I had never imagined before. If you’re curious or have any questions, feel free to email me at jchitpin2017@meds.uwo.ca - I can’t speak highly enough about being here.

- Jeremy Chitpin, Meds 2017





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