MacART Trainee Spotlight - Linda Nguyen

Autism Care

Research
Education
Community
Policy

Research

“Future research needs to focus not only on the biological markers of ASD but also include data about functioning, participation, and environmental barriers and facilitators.”

Dr. Olaf Kraus de Camargo  //  Developmental Pediatrician

 

MacART is laying the foundation for creating a systematic way of linking scientific research on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at McMaster University to clinical practice at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

The physical proximity of McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton Health Sciences, and McMaster University has a number of characteristics that provides the rare opportunity for collaborative research. Taking advantage of existing university and clinical infrastructure and cross-appointments for clinicians at the university, ASD experts from these organizations are coming together to integrate ASD research into clinical practice.

The focus of MacART members’ research is in the areas of basic science, clinical practice, clinical research, epidemiology and statistical modelling, knowledge translation and exchange, and social science research. By promoting the collaboration of stakeholders across disciplines, MacART is reducing barriers to implementing research in clinical practice, with the goal of advancing autism care through meaningful research.

Learn more about our research HERE.

Education

MacART members are now supervising more than 50 research trainees at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels, and are engaged in the mentoring of junior and intermediate faculty members.

In the future, we intend to establish research and clinical training programs for students in McMaster’s undergraduate medical, health sciences, and psychology programs, and for residents and fellows in Pediatrics and Psychiatry.

By training and mentoring emerging researchers and practitioners, we will help to solidify their understanding of and commitment to using basic science to inform their clinical practice, and to use their clinical experience to help formulate research questions. It is our belief that involving these learners in MacART educational activities will promote their use of practices that advance autism care through meaningful research.

Community

“Our scientists are working collaboratively with local clinicians to generate the evidence needed to improve autism services. This symposium is a great example of McMaster’s community engagement efforts.”

Dr. Patrick Deane // President & Vice-Chancellor // McMaster University

 

The community engagement component of MacART strives to work with stakeholders and involve them as partners in every step of the research process.  By doing so, the questions that drive research begin to change. They become more meaningful because they address the real day-to-day challenges faced by children and their families, and the clinicians supporting them.

MacART aims to increase participation and involvement of members of the McMaster and Hamilton communities in the research process. With community members driving the research, new and relevant knowledge can be produced to bridge the research-to-practice gap in ASD and advance autism care through meaningful research.

Policy

“People whose lives are connected to the challenge of autism can share knowledge – from clinicians to educators to parents – and what an amazing opportunity that is. We have a real opportunity to translate challenges into research, and research into practice that will help families living with autism.”

Rob MacIsaac  //  President & CEO // Hamilton Health Sciences

 

Policies should be created using the best available evidence that make positive impacts on the lives of individuals with ASD, along with their families.

MacART’s founder, Stelios Georgiades, serves on both federal and provincial advisory committees about ASD treatment funding.  Along with the wide-ranging expertise of its many ASD experts, MacART is set to act as a highly credible source of evidence-based information to influence and inform public policy about the provision and funding of ASD diagnosis, treatment, and family supports.

MacART will continue to find ways to collaborate with policymakers to both learn more about the policymaking process, and to contribute our expertise and knowledge to inform policymaking, in order to advance autism care through meaningful research.

 

Linda Nguyen

PhD candidate

School of Rehabilitation Science

Supervisor:  Dr. Jan Willem Gorter

 

  • Describe your autism research program.

My research focuses on the role of siblings of youth with autism and other childhood disabilities during transition from pediatric to adult health care. I have also conducted research about peer mentorship programs for youth with autism during the transition to adulthood.

 

  • How does your work contribute to the MacART vision of “advancing autism care through meaningful research”?

My research aims to better understand the experiences of siblings of youth with autism, including their roles and responsibilities, which can inform the planning of the transition of care journey for young people with autism and their families.

 

  • What inspires your program of research?

My research journey has focused on enhancing family-centred services to support families of children with disabilities, and siblings are part of the family. I reflect on my experience of having an older sister who supported me when I faced challenges.

 

  • If you could change one thing in the way we train the next generation of autism experts, what would that be?

To train the next generation of autism experts, collaboration with stakeholders is key. Stakeholders (e.g., siblings, families, researchers, clinicians, policymakers) can be involved in all research phases. All perspectives should be valued to work together in true partnership.

 

  • How can we improve our research efforts to advance autism care?

To advance autism care, it is important to conduct meaningful research that can help change current practices. There should be a focus on knowledge translation and implementation activities to share our research that can be used by stakeholders, such as families and clinicians.

 

  • Describe yourself in three words. 

Passionate, reflective, action-oriented.