Meet a Mobilizer – Sabah Haque / Faites la connaissance d’un agent de mobilisation – Sabah Haque

Sabah Haque, RIR – York

This past summer, the KMb Unit at York University was fortunate enough to work with three excellent students. Sabah Haque, a fourth year student in York’s Schulich School of Business, worked as a Research Translation Assistant developing ResearchSnapshot research summaries. She shares her story in this post.

Au cours de l’été, l’Unité de MdC de York University a eu la chance de travailler avec trois excellents étudiants. Sabah Haque, une étudiante de quatrième année à la Schulich School of Business de York, a travaillé au développement des résumés de recherche en langage clair (ResearchSnapshot) à titre d’Assistante à l’adaptation des recherches.

Sabah Haque

As long as there is a worthy cause, I’m in. I have a passion for working with growing organizations, especially when their objective is to create positive social change.  I enjoy using my strengths to do the groundwork and drive the mission forward. This summer, I jumped at the chance to join the KMb Unit at York because the work involved my passion and best skills all in one. Knowledge mobilization has given me the opportunity to use written communication for social innovation. I highly value being able to do work towards community well-being. At the KMb Unit, I contributed to the development of our repository of clear language ResearchSnapshot summaries.

The focus of this summer’s summary development was around Poverty Eradication. I collected research and examined poverty from a variety of perspectives, such as health, inequality, public policy, business and corporate social responsibility, homelessness, and social work. My interests in different subjects like the sciences, humanities and business proved to be an asset in my work because I summarized research from several unique disciplines.

Not only did I get the chance to learn a lot, but most importantly, I was also able to spread the knowledge. Through my work as a Research Translator, I sought to provide holistic insight on the root causes of poverty in Canada and around the world, so that research users can make informed decisions in the effort to eradicate poverty.

I believe knowledge mobilization is an effective method for bridging the gap between research and practice. I hope that the KMb unit continues to make greater impact in the years to come.

Meet a Mobilizer – Monica Nunes / Faites la connaissance d’un agent de mobilisation – Monica Nunnes

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche would like to extend a big KMb welcome to one of our newest knowledge brokers – Monica Nunes. Monica is working out of York University’s knowledge mobilization unit and is supporting researchers, young adults and community partners in Ontario and Manitoba.

ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche aimerait souhaiter la plus cordiale des bienvenues à une nouvelle venue parmi les courtiers de connaissances, Monica Nunnes. Monica travaille à partir de l’Unité de mobilisation des connaissances de l’Université York et offre un soutien aux chercheurs, aux jeunes adultes ainsi qu’aux partenaires communautaires de l’Ontario et du Manitoba.

Hello! My name is Monica Nunes and I am the current project coordinator for Mobilizing Minds: Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health, a young adult mental health research project led by young adults, community organizations, researchers, and health professionals. Together we are working to develop resources to assist young adults, and those who support them, in making informed decisions about stress, anxiety and depression. The process of knowledge mobilization – getting the right information to the right people (in our case young adults) in the right format and at the right time to inform decisions – directs our work. And, by having young adults inform and guide all stages of our project, youth engagement anchors how we get that work done.

I am happy to be part of the Mobilizing Minds team, filling in for Jenn McPhee who is busy being a mom (again!). Although I am a relatively new member to this project, I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Mobilizing Minds team. Anyone who has interacted with this team has met a group of dedicated, passionate and hardworking people who have accomplished much in the few years of the project’s existence.

However, one aspect of my involvement with Mobilizing Minds that is quite inspiring for me is how I am regularly being connected to a broader societal movement that is emerging across sectors in Canada. Specifically, the movement that I am referring to encompasses the burgeoning involvement of individuals and communities in activities that understand and respond to mental health in new, progressive and ultimately more just ways.

Indeed, recent actions by diverse groups ranging from governments to high school students to corporations are driving positive social change in the area of mental health. By initiating awareness campaigns, drafting policy frameworks, developing community programs, and forming unique partnerships many are creating opportunities to promote better mental health.  And, as Mobilizing Minds conducts research to produce tools to help young adults make decisions around their mental health, I am also able to count myself a participant of this positive movement.

Certainly, there is still work to be done in the areas of mental health & addictions. Many young adults still face barriers to support stemming from stigma and health system gaps. However, the momentum that individuals and communities are spurring to promote this new ‘mental health movement’ holds robust promise for improvements. These possibilities inspire me.

And speaking of inspiration, outside of work, other things that inspire me include: spending time with my Vóvó and Vôvô (Portuguese for Grandma and Grandpa), biking through Toronto, and ice cream.

Meet a Mobilizer- Jennifer McPhee

Jennifer and QuinnMy name is Jennifer McPhee. I am the project coordinator of a national KT project that focuses on young adult mental health (Mobilizing Minds: Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health; mobilizingminds.ca). The project is linked to the KM Unit at York University and includes a large team of researchers, health professionals, young adults and community organizations. We are working together to find out what information young adults want about mental health, where they would be most likely to look for it, how they would like to receive it, whom they might contact for information, when it’s best to receive this information, and what kind of barriers might prevent them from getting the information they need. The final product will be evidence-based, youth friendly mental health resources and decision- making aids that will assist young adults in making informed choices about their mental health and treatment options. Most importantly, this project adheres to a youth engagement framework – young adults (mental health consumers and non-consumers) guide and inform all phases of the project.

I am thrilled to be part of such a pivotal project. What interests me most about this project is that it adheres to both a knowledge mobilization (KM) framework and a youth engagement framework. The project deviates from the traditional top down ‘push’ of information and focuses on the bi-directional exchange of information and the co-production of information and resources. We have a young adult team that informs and guides all phases of the project. Traditionally in Canada, youth have not been included in the development of youth mental health and addictions services, programs, policies and resources. Their voices are not heard and consequently their needs are not being met. I am cognizant about this issue since my background is in youth mental health and addictions (Hon.B.A, Psychology; MSc Mental Health Counselling). Before joining the Mobilizing Minds’ project, I worked for several years as a youth (and family) mental health and addictions counsellor. I was then seconded to coordinate multiple youth mental health and addictions research projects at Brock University. I now coordinate York University’s KT mental health project which Brock University is partnered on. For the past nine years I have really enjoyed this line of work because it allows me to collectively use my clinical background, research skills and project management skills. Most importantly, this experience has taught me the significance of KM and youth engagement. It has shifted my way of thinking. For those of you who provide youth services, I ask you to please consider if youth are actively involved in your program and service planning? Engaging youth helps to ensure that your services meet their needs.

Outside of work, I am a mother of an incredible 4 ½ year old boy (Quinn) and the wife of a wonderful husband (14 years together) and father. My family is my main priority in life. A dear friend once said to me, “you will never look back at your life and think – I should have worked more – but you might look back at your life and think – I should have spent more time with my children.” I remember these words of wisdom often and try to enjoy every precious moment with Quinn as he grows-up.

Jennifer McPhee and Family

Married to a Mobilizer

As a York University graduate, a volunteer at York’s KM Unit, and the husband of the Director of the Office of Research Services & Knowledge Exchange at York, I have become quite familiar with the world of knowledge mobilization. David and I have been together for over fourteen years, and I’ve seen him grow personally and professionally from a post-doc research fellow to managing the business side of science, innovation and knowledge transfer at the university level.

David & Gary

More importantly, I’m proud and inspired to have witnessed the initiative of my husband in helping build the KM Unit at York (along with a great KM team), developing ResearchImpact – Canada’s knowledge mobilization network. David’s keen interest and involvement has taken KM from an early “pet project” of interest several years ago to participating and contributing today at both the national and international levels of knowledge brokering and policy making.

David Phipps

It was David’s initial, personal conversations we shared about KM that sparked my own interests in the variety of methods in which research and knowledge is exchanged, co-produced and practically applied between researchers and research-users. In fact, before graduating, one of my own research projects focused on the extent to which York University’s Department of Psychology has embodied KM.

I am a graduate of York’s Department of Psychology. After graduation – as a continuation of my own interest in knowledge mobilization – I began providing volunteer support at York’s KM Unit. To avoid any scrutiny of favouritism or conflict of interest, David placed me under the excellent and professional supervision of KM Unit Manager, Michael Johnny (I challenge you to try and find a clear profile headshot of him on the internet anywhere – either not wearing sunglasses or blinking!)

Michael Johnny

I am exclusively reporting to him as a volunteer. I have helped with the successful development and delivery of the annual KM Expo following the excellent lead of Knowledge Mobilization Officer Krista Jensen.

Krista Jensen

This is where some of you might remember me from the KM Expo last year, or from attending some of the KTE Communities of Practice meetings. I’ve also provided some support around key areas of data analysis for the ResearchImpact project. It was an enjoyable opportunity to join the KM Unit for a business trip to the University of Victoria earlier this year and present data at a ResearchImpact meeting (read the blog post here).

Angie Hart and Kim Aumann

It’s a great privilege to have met such esteemed international and local mobilizers – from both university and community sectors – such as Angie Hart and Kim Aumann from the University of Brighton’s Community University Partnership ProgramStan Shapson, York’s Vice-President of Research & Innovation; Jane Gibson, Director of Knowledge Transfer and Exchange at the Institute for Work & Health; and Daniele Zanotti, CEO of United Way of York Region.

Stan Shapson Jane Gibson and Daniele Zanotti

I’m looking forward to volunteering and participating in KM Expo 2010, hoping to see many of you again while networking with many more people within the KM community.

And remember; keep talking to your husband, wife, partner, girlfriend or boyfriend about KM because – sometimes when you marry a mobilizer, you can become a mobilizer too!