KMDI Graduate Talks about Designing Effective Health Policies

By: Craig Madho, HBSc, MHSc

My undergraduate experience was like that of any other Bachelor of Science student, it was filled with a litany of science courses that covered cutting edge research made by the brightest minds of the academic community. I was constantly on the edge of my seat, amazed by our new understanding of medicine and how we were on the cusp of revolutionizing healthcare. However, I entered the working world to find the realities of healthcare far different than the utopia my undergraduate education had promised. While our research was pushing the boundaries of knowledge, it did little for the health problems our communities currently face. I wondered: how could we understand the health needs of Torontonians and transform those into high impact research questions? This burning question is what motivated me to return to school.

My name is Craig Madho, I am a recent graduate of the Translational Research Program where I completed my Master of Health Science with a subspecialisation in Knowledge, Media and Design through the KMD collaborative program. Currently, I work as a Research Analyst for a health design and innovation lab at Toronto General Hospital called OpenLab, where our suite of projects helps address the diverse health needs of Torontonians. I am also a freelance Knowledge Broker, where I take research findings and disseminate them to relevant professionals in a variety of different fields. 

In order to understand diverse health needs, I realized that I needed the foundational skills required to develop probing questions and to elicit responses. Furthermore, I needed the ability to empathize with patients and interpret meaning from their experiences. Beyond just gathering data, I need to have a sensitivity for their lived experiences in order to understand how it shapes their perceptions and thus how it impacts their health. The KMD collaborative program taught me the qualitative research skills necessary to gather this rich information. The courses taught me how to conduct interviews as well as analyze and interpret the data I collected, which were skills I applied concurrently to my capstone project. Beyond the mechanics of qualitative research, I learned the importance of humanizing the information we were collecting. Doing so allowed us to give meaning to our data in a more intentional way, enabling us to develop creative and effective solutions to health problems that resonate with the people we are trying to help.

Using the skills I developed during my MHSc, I have worked on several high impact projects. I have had the opportunity to build educational modules to teach practitioners about proper opioid prescribing practices in senior citizens, write and produce articles that inform community health services and programs, and present research to decision makers at the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement in Ottawa to inform health policy decisions. As a young professional, I aspire to maintain the fundamental principles of user-centered design and co-creation I learned through the KMD courses in order to design a healthcare system that is accessible to everyone.

Follow Craif Madho on Twitter: @CraigMadho