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Meet & Greet: Dr. Gurprit Randhawa

Meet Dr. Gurprit Randhawa, Project Coordinator for Knowledge Mobilization Training at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI) at St. Paul’s Hospital.


You joined the HLI team very recently. Tell us a bit about your new position:
I am grateful to serve as a Project Coordinator for the Knowledge Translation and Mobilization (KTM) Project at HLI. I have the privilege of planning, designing, coordinating, executing, and evaluating the implementation of a KTM Training program for HLI trainees and faculty. I am thrilled to share that patients, the public, Patient and Family Partners (PFP), and external partners will also have a special role in this unique project. In this new capacity, I work closely with Dr. Scott Tebbutt, our Principal Investigator, and also supervise two graduate research assistants who are helping carry out the project.
Given this is a part-time role, my full-time role is as Director of eHealth & Virtual Care Innovation at the First Nations Health Authority, where I also have the opportunity to advance KTM through provincial transformation projects in primary care. Being able to immerse in KTM in different ways is such a gift!

What exactly is “knowledge mobilization” and why is it important?
Knowledge Mobilization has a very interesting origin. Mobilization comes from the French term “mobilisation”, meaning to make ready for service or action. Essentially, Knowledge Mobilization is getting the right information to the right people in the right format, at the right time, so as to influence decision-making. It includes the exchange, synthesis, and ethically-sound application of knowledge through interactions between researchers and knowledge users.
Knowledge Mobilization is important because we cannot realize the benefits of research without it. Knowledge Mobilization is required to ensure that the Canadian health care system and its stakeholders realize the full value of investments made in research. It ensures that research truly benefits Canadians through improved health, more effectively serves and products, and a strengthened health care system.

What excites you most about your new role?
We are designing, implementing, and evaluating a very new training program – A first of its kind in Canada. I am excited about the novelty of our innovation and collaboration with our diverse internal and external stakeholders. We are working with a Patient and Family Partner in designing the project and research, and are also involving patients and public in the program. I am highly energized by how we are uniquely advancing KTM at the local, provincial, national, and international levels. 

How has your education, training and past work experience prepared you to take on this new challenge?
I would not have been able to take on this new challenge without my diverse education, training, and past work experience. I have been a Health Care Leader, Educator, Researcher, and Change Practitioner for 12+ years across various health care settings in Canada, from corporate office to the clinical unit. During these experiences, I have observed many gaps in implementing evidence into practice. These gaps actually motivated me to pursue my graduate studies. As a part of my PhD in Health Informatics, I specialized in designing and evaluating evidence-based training interventions. My Graduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education (LATHE) prepared me to effectively design learning curriculum, while my certifications in the Kirkpatrick Training Evaluation Model have been instrumental to developing my expertise in learning evaluation. I am fortunate to be an early recipient of the Scientist Knowledge Translation Training (SKTT) Program from Sick Kids Hospital, which has been foundational to my competency development in KTM. I don’t think I would have been able to take on this new challenge without my own KTM practice, and personal explorations into creative KTM approaches, such as writing, recording, and performing raps and jingles. My experience in teaching and supervising graduate students at UVic, McMaster University, and Sault College has been very helpful in supporting our trainees, as well.

What do you hope to accomplish in your new role?
Dr. Jane Goodall has a famous quote: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” I, too, hope to make a difference through this role by contributing value to all KTM stakeholders: patients, families, health care professionals, policy makers, industry, students, trainees, researchers, and funders. In particular, I hope to create an exceptional, memorable learning experience for our trainees – One that plants a KTM seed that flourishes into a garden for years to come. In this garden, we can then all enjoy the beauty and many benefits of effective KTM.

How is the COVID-19 pandemic affecting your day-to-day work?
I have been enjoying the benefits of working from home and using my commute time instead to practice self-care and gratitude. Although I miss working with my colleagues in the office, I have learned to adapt to working remotely. Overall, I think my work life has improved with the pandemic and I am looking forward to moving into a hybrid working environment in the near future. 

If you weren’t in your current line of work, what would you be doing instead?
This is a difficult question, as I enjoy a very diverse career doing all the things I am passionate about. If I weren’t in my current line of work, I would serve in the Armed Forces. It has been a dream of mine to serve our country, and I hope to one day join the Reserve Force.  

What’s one thing we might be surprised to learn about you?
I don’t drink coffee or caffeinated tea. I have never tried either of them in my life, which has helped me from developing a caffeine addiction. However, I am guilty of drinking the occasional Coca-Cola.

What’s your guilty pleasure?
Eating ice cream more often than I should.

Can you recommend a good book or podcast that you recently read/listened to?
The “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” book by Dr. Richard Carlson. My father recommended it to me recently, and it has been priceless learning the many strategies for handling challenges in our lives. It’s a must read and available for free online as an audio book.