One life enriched: A project scientist says 'thank you'

By Dr Nooshin Rotondi

In brief

In July 2013, Dr. Brian Rush retired from CAMH. EENet asked Dr. Nooshin Rotondi, a project scientist at CAMH, to share her experience working with Dr. Rush. Read the rest of her post below.

One life enriched: A project scientist says 'thank you'

Dr. Rush and Dr. Rotondi

FOR the past two years, I have had the privilege of working on the four Ontario Drug Treatment Funding Program (DTFP) Systems Projects led by Dr. Brian Rush: The Best Practice Screening and Assessment Procedures Project; The Client Outcome Monitoring Project; The Client Satisfaction Project; and The Assessment/Benchmark Addictions Treatment Costs Project. Wordy titles, I know, but the projects were important and part of a larger effort to strengthen substance abuse treatment systems.

As the project scientist, I played a major role in developing the project protocols, overseeing the work of the research team, and ensuring the successful implementation of our pilot protocols. I have learned so much through this process, and my experiences will always be etched in my memories—after all, this was my first “real” position following the completion of my PhD!

I’ll admit that in the beginning there was a steep learning curve; I had to learn to think at a systems level. This was a change from my previous research experiences, where I had worked with marginalized communities from a population health perspective. I learned quickly, however, that my goal of improving the health of vulnerable and stigmatized individuals could be accomplished through the work we were doing for the Ontario addictions treatment system. (Consider that one steep curve climbed!)

Of course, even though there’s an obvious hunger for change in the system, I didn’t expect that key players from across the systems would come together to push for a new approach to the screening, assessment, and measurement of client experiences. That said, it wasn’t always smooth sailing, but it was great to see everyone working together to achieve the same goals. I hope that all of the work we’ve accomplished in the past couple of years will be scaled up province-wide; the potential for improvements both at the systems- and client-levels are huge. It would be a shame if all of this work was done in vain.

My last day at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is June 28, 2013. In August, I’ll be starting a postdoctoral fellowship at Ryerson University. In the Department of Psychology, I’ll be returning to my original interests–researching HIV prevention in marginalized communities and developing interventions aimed at reducing the occurrence of high-risk behaviours. I’m very excited about this opportunity, but I’ll miss the DTFP team. I have been so lucky to have worked with such intelligent, thoughtful, creative and wonderful individuals. I consider many of you not just my colleagues but my dear friends. Most of all, I’ll miss the mentorship, guidance, and support that I received from Brian. I learned so much from you and am grateful that I had the opportunity to work with you. Thank you to everyone on the DTFP team and Health Systems and Health Equity Research unit at CAMH for enriching my life!

If anyone would like to reach me, please leave a comment below or contact EENet.

NOOSHIN KHOBZI ROTONDI has been a Project Scientist with the Health Systems and Health Equity Research Group (Social and Epidemiological Research Department) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health since November 2010, following the completion of her PhD in Population Epidemiology from the University of Western Ontario. She is an assistant professor (status appointment) in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Rotondi’s research interests include the health of marginalized populations, sampling hard-to-reach populations, community-based research, substance use and mental health epidemiology, outcome monitoring, and health services and systems research.  

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