Kristi Wright, University of Regina
Can you describe your area of research and how it is helping address a health-related issue in Saskatchewan?
My research and clinical efforts focus on exploring the many facets of anxiety in children with health-related concerns and worries (e.g. worries about health and surgery) in typically developing children and those with specialized health needs [e.g. children with congenital heart disease (CHD) and cystic fibrosis (CF)]. I also focus on developing appropriate assessment methods and patient-informed innovative intervention options for these clinical concerns.
My other efforts have included the development and evaluation of an evidence-based, interactive, Internet-delivered preoperative preparation program (I-PPP) for children undergoing day surgery which will be integrated into preoperative preparation at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital (funded by SHRF and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation). In 2018, I was awarded a Patient-Oriented Research Leader Award from the SHRF and Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) to fund patient-oriented research designed to facilitate a better understanding of the psychological functioning and needs of children and adolescents with CF and their siblings and inform the development and delivery of an Internet-delivered mental health prevention program for these youth. This program is named the Internet-delivered Cystic Fibrosis Mental Health, Wellness, Prevention (iCF-PWR) program. The program will be available to be employed as an adjunct to existing CF clinic care models in Saskatchewan and beyond.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?
The two most rewarding aspects of my work are: (1) when my research results in meaningful improvements for children and adolescents in Saskatchewan and beyond; and (2) having the opportunity to work with amazing individuals with lived experiences who have chosen to contribute to our research endeavors.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspects of my work is ‘waiting’- specifically, knowing that well-designed, meaningful research takes time to complete and to translate to ‘real world’ changes.
How did you first become interested in this area of research? What inspires you to do the work that you do?
I have always had an inherent want to understand ‘why things are the way they are’. During my undergraduate years I was the Assistant Coach for high school junior/senior girls basketball teams. Amongst my observations throughout those years was the realization that many students flourished, while some did not. Thus, I became interested in the ‘what and the why’ of the latter. My subsequent academic training at the graduate level set the stage for me to have the skills to try to answer the ‘what and the why’.
Where is your research headed in the next five years?
In the next five years my research will continue to have a focus on the development and refinement of innovative intervention options for children and adolescents across the areas of preoperative anxiety, CHD, and CF. In particular, my efforts will focus on understanding the ‘real world’ uptake of these developed programs and to extend the access of these programs beyond the borders of Saskatchewan.
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