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Strengthening Memorial

Young psychologist recognized for early career research

Research

By Kelly Foss

Dr. Sheila Garland is having a banner year.

The registered clinical psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, with a cross appointment in the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine (Oncology), is being recognized by two national organizations for her work as a young researcher.

Dr. Sheila Garland
Dr. Sheila Garland will take part in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Early Career Researcher Program in November.
Photo: Mike Ritter

In June, she received the Canadian Psychological Association President’s New Researcher Award (CPA-PNRA).

It recognizes the exceptional contributions of new researchers to psychological knowledge in Canada. Dr. Garland was nominated for the award by one of her former doctoral supervisors at the University of Calgary, and that nomination was supported by Drs. Aimée Surprenant and Jacqueline Carter of Memorial University.

“One of the things they highlighted in their support letters was my choice to come back to Canada, after being in the United States for three years, and deciding to settle and set up an interdisciplinary clinical research program in psycho-oncology and behavioural sleep medicine in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Dr. Garland. “That perhaps was one of the factors that made my application unique.”

Rigorous and competitive

Dr. Surprenant, dean, School of Graduate Studies, who is a past CPA-PNRA nomination panel member, says it is a rigorous and competitive process.

“Dr. Garland is an extremely productive researcher, having already published 47 peer-reviewed articles, some of which contain genuine breakthroughs in the field of sleep disturbance,” she said.

“She has also been successful in earning competitive funding for her research and has shown true dedication to helping cancer patients sleep and live better through her research and clinical work, but also through volunteering to give educational workshops to patients and health-care providers. She is well-deserving of this recognition.”

“I see people I recognize as leaders in the field right now, people I hold up as mentors.” — Dr. Sheila Garland

Dr. Garland is honoured to be presented with an award that has been given to significant researchers in Canadian psychology.

“When I look back at the list of previous recipients, I see people I recognize as leaders in the field right now, people I hold up as mentors,” she said. “So, that makes me feel good. I hope I can live up to the standards they have set.”

The award recipients were also given the opportunity to submit a review of their work to be published in Canadian Psychology, the CPA journal. That issue will be out in the new year.

Early career researcher

Dr. Garland has also been chosen to participate in the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Early Career Researcher program (ECR).

The two-day program takes place next month during the five-day Canadian Cancer Research Conference. It is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Institute of Cancer Research, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and was developed for newly established principal investigators/new faculty members at Canadian universities.

Its purpose is to strengthen the professional development of junior faculty from the cancer research community.

“You get to ask them how you, as an early career researcher, can get yourself established.” — Dr. Sheila Garland

Dr. Garland submitted a synopsis of the work she’s currently working on with Dr. John Thoms of the Faculty of Medicine (Oncology), looking at sleep and cognition in men with prostate cancer who are receiving androgen deprivation therapy.

The ECR program brings together early career cancer researchers to present their work and network with senior researchers and investigators.

“You get to talk to other people who are at the same stage as you, but you also get to learn from people who’ve been successful,” Dr. Garland said. “You get to ask them how you, as an early career researcher, can get yourself established, and all the things you’d like to know from someone who’s been there and done that.”

Important to Memorial

During the conference, she will also be given the opportunity to present her research and get feedback from those in attendance.

Dr. Garland says the value of that feedback is not only important to her work, but to the entire university.

“I believe one of the things that strengthens Memorial, is when you have researchers go away, get new ideas, bring them back here and work to implement them in the Newfoundland and Labrador context.”


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