Mar 15, 2024

Staff Spotlight: Dr. Priscilla Medeiros

Priscilla Medeiros is the Knowledge Mobilization and Community Engagement Specialist at the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children. She describes her role and ongoing work related to community-engaged research below.

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your role at the Centre.

I have a PhD in Anthropology from McMaster University and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from Women’s College Hospital, and those experiences have enriched my role at the Centre. I am the team specialist in knowledge mobilization and community engagement who brings information, education and reporting together using a variety of tools that our members can access.

Starting in this role, I was excited to design and implement the first of its kind community-engaged program at The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto to increase the knowledge of our members in involving communities in the research process. This past year, I have led the development of community-engaged training, education and infrastructure initiatives in response to the needs of our members with the support of our Co-Directors, Drs. Astrid Guttmann and Eyal Cohen.

Since joining the Centre in Spring 2022, I have implemented the Community Engagement Series; Trainee Hub focused on community-engaged learning for graduate students, post-doctoral research fellows and clinical trainees; consultation service, engagement resource repository; and, collaboration hub service that facilitates connections between researchers, trainees and community partners who are members of the Centre. These initiatives provide members with a venue to share best practices and create new knowledge to advance community engagement across all stages of research.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your role at the Centre?

I am delighted to be working closely with Leong Centre Scholars in my role to advance their knowledge about community engagement and knowledge mobilization through the Trainee Hub and consultation service. I am inspired by the community of practice we have created that breaks down research silos for them at the Centre.

There are currently 88 trainees involved in the Trainee Hub across The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, McMaster University, St. Michael’s Hospital, and Holland Bloorview. This year, we are focused on advancing the vision of the Centre through collaborative partnerships and that includes the Trainee Hub.

Q: Are you involved in any current child health research projects?

I have been supporting Dr. Astrid Guttmann with phase 2 of her Prenatal Opioid Exposure project with 13 First Nation communities in Ontario. This research project was initiated in response to the concerns raised by First Nation communities about the health of school-aged children exposed to opioids prenatally. Phase 2 of the project involves co-designing knowledge products that translate report findings to affect change related to prenatal opioid exposure within each community. Over the past year, I have been meeting with the 13 First Nations communities to engage them in knowledge mobilization training and have begun co-leading knowledge translation workshops to identify products of interest. This includes a training series for nurses to better understand the unique needs of infants with prenatal opioid exposure and their families, substance use prevention social media campaign targeting youth and adolescents, and video recording of resilience stories from communities. It has been exciting to work with the communities and support them with their knowledge mobilization needs. This is a 2-year long project that I am excited to be part of and look forward to sharing more about the processes of this project in future publications. 

Q: What future initiative(s) are you most excited about at the Centre?

I am really excited about this year’s focus on advancing the Centre’s visibility in child health equity research, and co-partnering with other centres on education and training initiatives. Our collaborative Trainee Hub workshop with the SickKids Research Training Centre next month is one example of our efforts to achieve this vision and expand our reach to interdisciplinary trainees who are passionate about this field and integrating patient and community engagement strategies into their work. This year, I will continue to explore ways to foster engagement and learning between community, the public sector, and researchers through co-partnership opportunities across The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, and beyond.