How I went from WOW to OH, to OMG to RESPECT on my first meeting with Diabetes Action Canada

By: Patrice Bleau, Type 1 Diabetes for 35 years

The Patient-Oriented Research training that took place October 31st and November 1st at the Alberta Diabetes Institute was my first face-to-face involvement with Diabetes Action Canada. Being a new patient partner with Diabetes Action Canada I was expecting this training to provide basic information to better understand the mandate and objectives of patient partner involvement.  That was the WOW expectation, the training aim was intended for the Trainees, so the Patient-Oriented Research Training day was like a dive into the research world from the scientist perspective, that was my OH moment – am I a value for this type of audience? Well during the sessions and the discussions in small groups I was welcomed to participate, and my comments were well received. Monica Parry, NP-Adult, PhD and Caroline Jose, Research Associate, PhD presented Patient-Oriented Research, giving and explanation of the history and context, Health research and Research cycle, and the principles of Patient Engagement, Team Building, and Decision Making. That was a lot of theory to assimilate in a single day.


The second day gave the patient partner participants a practical overview of the grant review process. After the presentation given by Jon McGavock, PhD, I was at my OMG moment. I was amazed of the amount of work required (e.g. identification of the need, the mean, the objectives, the expected outcome, etc.) to prepare a convincing grant application –  and that was just the morning.  In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to do a quick tour of the Alberta Diabetes Institute, thanks to Peter Light, PhD and his team that facilitated this impromptu tour of the clinical research and the laboratory facilities. We then had the opportunity to listen to Andre Carpentier, MD FRCPC FCAHS, Jean-Louis Chiasson, MD and Dr. Greg Steinberg the Young Scientist Award recipient. Listening to those speeches and presentations could only bring one word to mind – RESPECT, for their passion, their dedication and their devotion. That part of the session was FUN to paraphrase Dr. Chiasson.


In those two days, we received a lot of information, not to mention some early snow. The content was sufficient to make anyone feel overwhelmed, but it was also exciting to see patient partners welcomed and valued for their contribution to the different phase of research within Diabetes Canada Action.


I would like to take this opportunity thank Olivia Drescher, Patient Engagement Coordinator and Michele Murray, Training and Mentoring Coordinator for Diabetes Action Canada who have made those training days available for the seven patient partners.


In conclusion, is the condensed version of the Patient Oriented Research Training sufficient for all new Patient Partners? To answer, it was a nice appetizer as it did open many doors for future collaboration with patients and researchers.


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