The IMS has been an important academic home for me and for the talented and creative graduate students with whom I have worked over the course of my career. The singular focus of this Institute on meaningful and rigorous scholarship has been a guidepost for my research and a launching pad for the academic and research careers of so many graduate students. It has also provided continuity for me in my research that has moved from examining the psychological impact of end-stage renal disease to that of type 1 diabetes in children, adolescents and adults, to metastatic and advanced cancer and hematological malignancies and the quality of dying and death in this population, to the establishment of a clinical trials program in supportive oncology, testing the impact of novel psychotherapeutic and palliative interventions for patients and caregivers.
I have been fortunate to have supervised a remarkable group of individuals in their graduate studies. Anne Rydall and Patricia Colton in their Master’s program and Jennifer Jones in her doctoral studies conducted groundbreaking research on the evolution and prevalence, course and complications of eating disorders in adolescents and children with type I diabetes mellitus. In their Master’s programs, Kenneth Fung examined emotional awareness and psychopathology in Chinese Canadians and Janet De Groot examined the link of this variable to bulimia nervosa in young women with this disorder. Cheryl Fernandes in her Master’s studies identified the predictors of parenting stress in young adults with hematological malignancies. Sarah Hales in her Doctoral program conducted the largest study to date of the quality of dying and death in patients with metastatic cancer and Isuri Weerakkody and Samantha Fernandes continued this line of research in their master’s’ programs, conducting the first studies of the quality of dying and death in residential hospice and chronic care settings. In their Master’s programs, Ekaterina An developed an advanced theory by testing a model of terror management in patients with advanced cancer and Eryn Tong created and tested the implementation of a psychoeducational intervention for patients with pancreatic cancer. Michael Anderson is now undertaking Doctoral studies identifying factors that affect access to end-of-life care for the First Nations, Inuit and Metis community. The cumulative breadth, depth and impact of this research is impressive and owes much to the structure that the IMS has created for research trainees and their supervisors.
It has been my privilege to supervise such talented and accomplished graduate students and I have been filled with pride and satisfaction as they have pursued their research careers and assumed leadership positions in their fields. I have learned enormously from them and from the innovative approaches that they developed in their research. I felt touched to receive the IMS Mel Silverman Mentorship Award and I know how much my research and professional satisfaction have been enriched by my close association with the IMS over the years. I look forward to my ongoing engagement with the IMS as it renews its vision and builds on its close association with clinical departments and diverse research streams.