Ian is a pediatric endocrinologist (i.e., specializing in diseases of the endocrine system and hormones) and early career researcher, who specializes in weight management, diabetes and mental health in the pediatric population. Ian leads a clinical pediatric program, known as ‘Kidfit’, which supports overweight children and adolescents, and their families, to develop skills to lead healthy, active lifestyles. Over the past five years, Ian has engaged patients and families in co-designing elements of the program; he believes that this enables his team to deliver a program that best meets patients’ and families’ needs. To date, Ian’s primary focus has been on program improvement, but he plans to further engage patients and families to identify future priorities for his research program. He hopes to spread projects such as Kidfit at the community level more broadly to improve the health and wellness of children and adolescents. Ian recommends that clinicians and researchers who want to engage with patients and families should just boldly embark on these partnerships and welcome constructive feedback.
I think we have to change the way we write, the way we communicate, the way we speak. We have to really - I mean everything that we do needs to be - we need to take literacy … and health literacy is something totally separate from actual literacy, so these are - I think we need to really - really write for when we say the lay person but we're really writing and communicating for the lay person, and maybe what we do is we engage through other avenues, like media, infographics, things like that, that could be more accessible based on - independent of what your socioeconomic status might be.
But again, even getting people, engaging people on a conversation to ask them if they'd be interested is even - I don't even know how we would overcome that unless we leveraged partnership with people who work with these people. So I think you can reach some of these populations through [end of video 1 at 00:33:28] networking with community organizations or agencies that actually serve these populations. Because it's all through - you can reach them through relationships, I think, and connect to them that way. But - I mean I talk to my parents about what I do and they don't understand and one's a lawyer and one is a master's teacher. And it's communicating with them about what I do and why. It's really hard.
And based on feedback that we received from our families we're launching this Fall a hands-on experimental food skills program, which will be at a community kitchen. It's got industrial equipment, it's at a food bank to get them exposure to how to actually use equipment, how to prepare food. And all of that programming was based directly on feedback we received from families and we'll be engaging them or contacting them in the summer to see if they'd be interested in doing some more feedback session stuff with us around that program design.
So I'm a paediatric endocrinologist, I did my fellowship training in [name], in the United States. And while I was there I did some work in the paediatric obesity clinic. I had an interest in working with families who have children with obesity, clinically and from a research perspective. And while I was in that clinical program it became very clear to me that we weren't really engaging families in any of our program design of different elements. And in paediatric obesity or paediatric weight management is the terminology usually is used, there's generally a high drop-off rate. And part of the work I had done there was a quality improvement project to develop an initiative to reduce dropout rates by better orienting patients and families to the clinic, the different components of it and the different service offerings within the clinic. When I was recruited to come to [name] I had the opportunity to design a paediatric weight management program from the ground up. And we had some guidance and framework from our Ministry of Health and some of the lead paediatric obesity researchers across Canada. But it was a brand new clinical program, new initiative starting from absolutely zero.