MacART Trainee Spotlight - Stephen Gentles

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.

Stephen Gentles

Lawson Postdoctoral Fellow

Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences

Supervisor:  Dr. Stelios Georgiades

@SteveGentles

 

  • Describe your autism research program.

My research involves exploring caregiver perspectives of pediatric care, and developing tools that support family needs within autism clinical services.

 

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

Given the growing emphasis on family-centred care, caregiver perspectives are an increasingly important part of autism care. My researc is aimed at promoting caregiver perspectives, and giving providers tools to support caregivers' important roles in care.

 

  • Why do you think your research is interesting?

My early interest in consumer use of health information later expanded to an awareness of the need to support consumers engaging in and navigating care—and families affected by autism are, to me, one of the most urgent examples of this need.

 

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

If I could change one thing in how we train future autism experts, it would be to promote more systematic use of theory and evaluation of developing training programs, so that choices about the ingredients of such programs are evidence-informed.

 

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

I think it makes sense to 1) promote methods that account for and produce meaningful knowledge from heterogeneity and individual-level data; and 2) support implementation approaches that translate such knowledge to flexible individualized care.

 

  • Describe yourself in three words. 

Methodologically-minded, qualitatively-curious, physically-active.