Dr. Stacey Lovo, University of Saskatchewan
Can you describe your area of research and how it is helping address a health-related issue in Saskatchewan?
My area of work is in the use of virtual technologies to enhance access to team-based rehabilitation and primary care in rural and remote regions of Saskatchewan. This is collaborative work with Indigenous communities, and is led and directed by the needs, strengths and preferences of the communities. I have the privilege of working in collaboration with Indigenous communities and stakeholders to learn about culturally responsive care, cultural humility, and anti-racism, and how we can improve our healthcare services to provide more equitable care for Indigenous people.
What are the most rewarding aspects of your work?
The most rewarding aspect is engaging with communities, developing relationships and learning how we can work together to create opportunities to improve access to culturally responsive rehabilitation care where they live.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect has been the impact of COVID-19. We have not been able to travel to communities, or have the community partners come to U of S to teach, share their knowledge, and work with our team and our students. This is the most important part of our work – being together to collaborate and learn. I have missed it so much.
How did you first become interested in this area of research? What inspires you to do the work that you do?
I first became interested in this when I became aware of the inequity in access to care for remote Indigenous communities while I was working as a clinician (physical therapist).
Where is your research headed in the next five years?
We are working with communities now to understand the needs in the management of chronic musculoskeletal pain. Over the next two years we will implement and evaluate the use of hybrid programming (remote presence robot and in person care) to enhance the management of team based chronic musculoskeletal pain in 3 remote areas. Physical Therapists and Pharmacists will use remote presence technology to join with remote health teams and patients, and follow up care will be provided through a combination of remote presence and in-person services in community. Communities will direct further research questions and processes. For example, several years ago the Elders on the team advised that pediatric rehabilitation access in communities needed to be prioritized. I will be working over the next five years with community members and a student to understand the needs for rehabilitation services, to develop programming that will incorporate virtual technologies to enhance access, and to evaluate the new models of care with metrics that are important to communities and their families.
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