Dr. Sylvie Lambert is Assistant Professor at the Ingram School of Nursing, McGill University since August 2013. Dr. Lambert is also a Research Associate, St. Mary’s Research Centre. Her research focuses on 1) better understanding the substantial impact of a cancer diagnosis on patients’ and their caregivers’ well-being and functioning, 2) developing and evaluating illness self-management interventions that are sustainable to enhance translation in practice, 3) addressing the challenges of using patient reported outcomes in intervention programs, and the use of advanced psychometric approaches for improving the precision and efficiency of outcome evaluations.
Prior to entering the Psychosocial Oncology field in 2002, Dr. Lambert worked at the ICU. Even then, she was interested in how individuals cope and wanted to learn more in that area. Later, she joined McGill University as a graduate student under Dr. Carmen Loiselle’s supervision and completed her doctorate (2002 -2008). She completed her Postdoctoral training at the University of Newcastle under the supervision of Prof. Afaf Girgis (2009 – 2011). During this time she managed Australia’s first longitudinal study on the wellbeing of partners and caregivers, which documented the impact of caring for or living with a cancer survivor over the first five years following the initial diagnosis. After her postdoctoral studies, she joined the Translational Cancer Research Unit, Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, University of New South Wales as National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Fellow (2011 – 2013) and became particularly interested in developing interventions for cancer caregivers. Her team developed and tested Coping-Together – a self-directed coping skills training intervention for patients with cancer and their spouse caregivers. She considers the development of Coping-Together as one of her greatest achievement.
Since Dr Lambert has returned to Canada she has continued to focus on developing and testing sustainable coping skills and self-management interventions for patients with cancer and their caregivers. She recently received funding from Prostate Cancer Canada to develop a web-based home-based exercise program and psychosocial self-management intervention for men with prostate cancer and their caregivers. She also plans to expand her research around patients and caregivers with low literacy and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Dr. Lambert acknowledges the support of Dr. Afaf Girgis, as she laid the foundation for her research career, helped her refine her research interests, mentored her in areas on how to initiate and manage a research study and more importantly how to become an independent researcher. She also recognizes Dr. Carmen Loiselle, as she accepted her as a graduate student and helped her enter the field. She stated “without them I wouldn’t be where I am today”.
When asked what she enjoys the most about her job, she said “I love what I do”. She admits that she feels that she is able to make a make a difference for patients and their families. Teaching and mentoring is another aspect of her work that she loves and is currently supervising nine graduate students (seven masters and 2 PhD) and teaching a course “Learning and Health Education”.
She stated “Psychosocial Oncology field is growing and in the right direction. More and more people are entering the field, and the Psychosocial issues are being valued by all – clinicians, researchers, patients and caregivers. We need to be innovative and find ways to address the issues, needs and understand what people really want”.
Dr. Lambert is a CAPO member because it is an arena where she can meet other researchers and clinicians in the field. The conference is a great opportunity to liaise with colleagues, and learn about their research. She particularly appreciates some of the new services, including the newsletter, Sosido, and profiling of the members. She wants to be more involved with the organization.
When asked what would be her advice to someone who is thinking about entering the profession, she said ‘The first step would be to find the mentor that matches your career interests and to find the research lab that meets your interests”.
Thanks to CAPO member and volunteer Dr. Violet D’Souza, University of Montreal, for writing this profile.
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ABOUT CAPO:The Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology (CAPO) is a national registered charity that promotes excellence in psychosocial care for people with cancer and their families throughout the cancer experience—from diagnosis to treatment to survivorship or death. We work to transform cancer care wherever it is delivered—in hospital, in the community and in hospices. Advancement in psychosocial oncology have been significant and CAPO continues to be a world leader. We believe change will come through more research, better education and improved clinical practice.