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  • Podcast Interview Transcript
  • Debra Morgan, Megan O’Connell, Joanne Bracken, and S. Darius Tandon

In each volume of the Journal, the editors select one article for our Beyond the Manuscript post-study interview with the authors. Beyond the Manuscript provides the authors the opportunity to tell listeners what they would want to know about the project beyond what went into the final manuscript. The associate editors who handled the articles conduct our Beyond the Manuscript interviews. This edition of Beyond the Manuscript features Debra Morgan, Megan O’Connell, Joanne Bracken authors of Evolution of a Community-Based Participatory Approach in a Rural and Remote Dementia Care Research Program, and PCHP Editor-in-Chief S. Darius Tandon.

Darius Tandon:

Thanks for joining us for this podcast. We want to ask you a few questions to expand on the work that is presented in your manuscript. The first question has to do with something you discussed at the start of your project or at the start of the manuscript where you talk about the research team traveling to 30 different health districts in Saskatchewan to meet with community-based boards and establishing relationships and assessing research needs. Can you describe a little bit more about some of those earlier steps, as well as some of the work that you did moving forward in terms of who was on these community-based boards and why was it important to do such a large undertaking?

Debra Morgan:

In 1997 I was starting as a postdoctoral fellow in a rural health research center and previously I had studied dementia in long-term care settings and in an urban setting, but when I took a postdoctoral fellowship position at the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture I wanted to have a rural perspective and I come from a rural background. So my supervisor at the time, Dr. Karen Semchuk very wisely suggested a community-based participatory approach to my postdoctoral research. She applied for a small grant to our Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation and that allowed me to travel. So at that time these trips involved mainly just me. My supervisor came with me the first few times to get me launched.

I wanted to meet with all of the health districts at the time and there were 30. Currently we have 13 larger health regions. They’ve amalgamated the districts into larger regions, which makes it a lot more manageable.

At the time I thought that it was a good way to really get a good grounding in rural dementia care issues in the province by meeting with the boards. The boards are made-up of community members, who help direct how funding is spent in the region. The funding comes from the Ministry of Health, but the regions actually make decisions about how that money is spent. [End Page 347]

Debra Morgan:

I learned a lot about the issues in rural dementia care from their perspective and what things were important. I got to meet a lot of people that were interested in dementia care. Later, I drew on those relationships and those people I met in establishing decision-maker advisory councils, doing research and so on. I had a lot of contacts. It also I think raised the profile of dementia care research.

As a result of those meetings we got all the regions together in what we called a “Study Day.” Two people came from each region and we developed some consensus around research priorities for dementia. Although I had been a long-term care researcher they clearly said, “You know you need to look at community-based care as well,” so we designed a study based on this input.

And, in doing that study, the findings from that study led to another study, that led to another study and this really informed my whole research program, so it has been extremely valuable.

Then a few years later in 2003 when our Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Emerging Team was funded we spent the first year traveling around the province. We met with all 14 rural communities that had Telehealth at that time to get their input into the...