Tier 1 Canadian Research Chair in Child and Family Engagement in Health Research and Healthcare

Dr. Roberta L. Woodgate holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair Award in Child and Family Engagement in Health Research and Healthcare and was a former Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Applied Chair Award in Reproductive, Child and Youth Health Services and Policy Research (ranked #1 in the competition). Her research program,  IN•GAUGE, embraces a dynamic approach to: involve children, youth and families; interact with researchers and knowledge users in the research, intervention and evaluation process; and be innovative in the use and exchange of knowledge with the combined goal of improving health care and access to care for children and youth.

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Dr. Woodgate works with children, youth and their families across a wide range of health conditions: such as mental illnesses, complex care needs and conditions (CCNC), chronic illnesses (i.e. hemophilia), cancer; as well as various communities: Indigenous youth and their families and newcomer families (e.g., African immigrant/refugee families). This non-categorical approach posits that the consequences of child health are independent of a specific disease and that children with diverse health needs have similarities in life conditions.

Dr. Woodgate’s program is infused by an approach to knowledge inquiry that is grassroots, embedded in the needs, experiences and practices of children, youth and their families experiencing health challenges, as well as the needs, barriers and gaps that exist for health care providers, knowledge-users and decision makers. She embraces a rights-based approach to research that recognizes that the voices of children and youth have in the past been silenced in research and in the decisions affecting their lives, including their health, and advocates for an approach that recognizes that children and youth are key actors in their own development, with the right to participate in decisions that affect them in accordance with their evolving capacities. In this regard, children and youth are key participants in the research process, contributing to the development, translation and exchange of knowledge.

Alongside more traditional approaches to knowledge production and knowledge translation (KT), such as a wide range of qualitative research methodologies (e.g., interviews, focus groups and participant observation), Roberta engages in innovative arts-based methodologies, such as body mapping, dance, photovoice, digital story-telling, participatory film, and drawing and computerized diaries.

 

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