So I got involved first in community-based research when I was doing my masters in social work. And it kind of started with me just knowing I didn’t want to do direct counselling work so I took a student placement at a community health centre where they did community based research. And that really interested me because it kind of tied together social work, which I was obviously interested in, but also research, which I was interested in.
So, I started working on a project that was working to engage the Somali community in Toronto to increase the - increase rates of cervical cancer screening. And it was a project that specifically involved women from the community in focus groups but in addition we had members of the community on our research team. So we had a few ladies who helped out with all the different portions of the project, planning, they co-facilitated those focus groups. And it was just a really awesome experience, a really positive experience because they obviously had so much lived experience and so much to offer to the project. And we realistically wouldn’t - it was a tight timeline and we wouldn’t have been able to get the project even close to done without them.
So it was a really great opportunity for me to kind of get involved in research in a way where I still felt connected to communities because that has always been something that's important for me. And so from there I think that kind of helped me decide that I did want to work in research but that was always important for me to work in a way that I was kind of connected in some way to different communities with patients or whoever.