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Carley Ouellette wins award for pain research

May 28, 2019

Carley Ouellette

Graduate student Carley Ouellette has won the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care (IPRC) Graduate Scholarship.

The IPRC grants two awards annually, one for a masters and one for a doctoral student. The awards provide salary support to allow students to pursue their research interests in pain within the IPRC.

“It’s an honour to be recognized for the award,” says Ouellette. “Much of the previous research and work I was involved in at the Hospital for Sick Children related to using digital health solutions to help improve the lives of children living with chronic pain. I’m also involved in a five year chronic pain network Strategy for Patient Orientated Research (SPOR) initiative, specifically with the training and mentoring group as well as the Pediatric Pain Registry. This is an acknowledgement of the work I’ve done in the field and I am humbled to be this year’s recipient.”

Ouellette’s IPRC application was based on her work in the SMArTVIEW project led by her supervisor Dr. Michael McGillion. In SMArTVIEW, nurses use a remote automated monitoring system to track patients’ symptoms which include pain, following cardiac surgery. “Pain is a huge part of the recovery process and it’s monitored on a daily basis,” says Ouellette.  

Ouellette’s interest in this field of research began when she was a child. “I was actually a chronic pain patient when I was young. I was in a couple of motor vehicle accidents when I was little. I was followed by the pediatric pain clinic at Sick Kids. From there, I developed a passion to advocate for those who are in pain. That led me into wanting to explore pain-related research. Working on the SMArTVIEW project really married both my personal experience and my professional research goals.”

Pain is present in nearly all areas of health care and managing it is more challenging than you might think. “It takes a lot of work to manage persistent pain and requires a comprehensive inter-disciplinary approach. Unfortunately, there are still places in Canada where patients remain without any access to chronic pain clinics or interdisciplinary care,” says Ouellette. “Using digital health solutions, such as SMArTVIEW, may help to bridge this clinical gap.”

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