New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network

Alison Luke

1) What is your official current position and title?

I am the Crawford/Jarislowsky Post Doctoral Fellow in Health Policy. I am currently heading up the evaluation of NaviCare/SoinsNavi, a navigation centre in NB for children with complex health conditions. The primary aim of the centre is to help facilitate more convenient and integrated care to support the physical, mental, emotional, and social needs of the children and their families.

2) What is your educational background?

I received my BA from UNB Fredericton in English, my MA, titled Cultural Sentiments of Alberta and Ontario Residents for the Social Identities of Poor and Homeless People, is from the University of Guelph. My PhD, Changes in Cultural Sentiments for Canadian Identities over a 20 Year Period, is from the University of Waterloo.

3) Talk a little about your career path?  Where did your passion for the research/work that you do originate and how did it develop?

My mother was always interested in poverty issues. She was part of the group that set up the first men’s shelter in Fredericton and she spent a lot of her time helping people. I remember going to the homeless shelter with her in Fredericton to visit her “angels.” This desire to make a difference really stuck with me. My research has always been related to social inequality. Following my PhD, I worked as a research assistant on a health related project. This experience introduced me to health sociology. Since then, I have taught a number of health courses at UNB Saint John which is where I found out about this post doctoral opportunity. It just seemed like a perfect fit!

4) Tell us about one or two of your current projects?

The past year I have been assisting with the development and implementation of NaviCare/SoinsNavi. My primary contribution was an environmental scan of pediatric patient navigation programs in Canada. Currently I am working on the evaluation of the centre. We are still early days as the centre was only launched last January. We will be conducting semi structured interviews with both families/caregivers who use the centre as well as any care professionals (health, education, or social services) who either refer a family to the centre or use it themselves.

5) How do you see your research/work in terms of possibly contributing to evidence-based public policy?

The hope is that the research we are doing with NaviCare/SoinsNavi will lead to improved care coordination and quality of life for children with complex health conditions and their families in NB. If successful, this model of care could also be applied to other populations, such as adults with chronic and complex conditions.

6) Discuss any past achievements that were significant to your professional path?  Have any contributed to the promotion of evidence-based public policy?

After my PhD I started teaching part time. I absolutely love teaching and relished the opportunity to both share and learn alongside my students. When I was asked to teach the sociology of health course I was very excited. This course merged many of the topics I was passionate about: social inequality, the social determinants of health, and the link between research and policy. This course, as well as the other courses I have taught, has been very successful. I typically have wait lists and I have been nominated for a teaching award. When I was awarded the Crawford/ Jarislowski Post Doctoral Fellowship in Health Policy I was ecstatic! This fellowship has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to conduct research that will hopefully inform policy that could have real impact and improve the lives of children and families in NB.

7) Describe in a couple of sentences your involvement with NBSPRN and how your relationship with the Network has contributed to your research/work and/or to social/economic policy?

I have been a member of NBSPRN for a few years now. I regularly participate in their forums and networking meetings. They were very useful in terms of bringing together diverse stakeholders from community organizations, government, and university to discuss research and the development of good policy. Most recently, I was a member of the Advisory Committee for the 2017 NB Policy Research Forum on the Social Determinants of Health.

8) Any last thoughts? 

I love theatre! I originally wanted to move to Toronto and be an actor! Interestingly, when I first started my MA in sociology I was drawn to the Dramaturgical Analysis and everything just made sense! I felt that I was able to bring together my desire for continual learning, my interest in social justice, and my love of theatre as a way of understanding  the human condition. The rest, as they say, is history!

Copyright 2013
A Ginger Design