Celebration of CAMRTF Past Grant Recipients!
Julie Avery, MRT
I have a strong belief that a component of being a professional is lifelong learning. This pursuit is not always easy, especially when factoring in the time and cost of advanced degrees. The CAMRT Foundation plays a critical role for many MRTs that are working toward continuing their education. Over the 5-years of part-time study it took to complete my Master’s in Health Administration, I received several grants to help off-set some of the financial burden associated with tuition. It is important to celebrate this benefit as a member and the work of the CAMRTF.
Completing my master’s was a critical step for me in realizing formal career leadership opportunities. Currently, I am the Executive Director and Registrar of the Nova Scotia College of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy Professionals (NSCMIRTP), a position I would not have been considered for without the additional skillset attained through my MHA program. It is a role that provides me with the opportunity to significantly contribute and impact health care policy and regulation in the province of Nova Scotia and nationally for the medical imaging and radiation therapy professions. I will forever be appreciative of the support received from the CAMRT Foundation in helping further my MRT career opportunities.
Michael Velec, MRT
After practicing as a frontline radiation therapist and research-therapist I decided to pursue further graduate studies. On one hand, it was an easy decision as I knew my research focus would likely improve cancer care for future patients. On the other, stepping away from a full-time position was a financially difficult prospect. I was very fortunate to have a received Member’s Grants from the CAMRT Foundation over several years to support me financially, and completed a PhD in medical sciences in 2014. My doctoral studies allowed me to develop critical thinking and analytical skills, and most importantly taught me how to approach new problems I had not yet encountered. I really valued the exposure and perspective of those I collaborated with including physicists, oncologists and other researchers.
These skills combined with my clinical experience are now being put to use daily in my current position as a radiation therapist-clinician scientist. My current research interests are quite varied, ranging from developing techniques that improve the accuracy of radiotherapy, to interpreting clinical outcomes such as tumor control and side effects, to developing new practice models that better support patients.
So, Thank You to the CAMRT Foundation for supporting medical radiation technologists! I hope these grants continue to be offered as a benefit to members of our professional association and ultimately to benefit patients through improved care.
Amanda Bolderston, MRT
After high school, aged 18, I entered a hospital-based, radiation therapy diploma program in the UK. No one in my family having gone to university and getting the message that university was not for me, I felt that being an MRT would be a good, secure job. Little did I know, it would be the launch of the career I have today. It took a few years of working, a move to Canada, and a leave from work after my father died, for me to realize I wanted a challenge and was more than capable of university study. Fast forward a few (OK, more than a few) years and I started looking for a doctorate. By now I was an educator and had published quite a bit. I had also been trying to get a research project off the ground for at least ten years. The subject was based on my experiences as a lesbian and radiation therapist so was both a highly personal project, and one that didn’t fit with most of the PhD research work being undertaken. After a lot of searching, I found (EdD) at UBC and embarked on a five-year journey that transformed my life, personally and professionally.
My first publication during my doctoral studies was a collaboration that looked at health inequities experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people and what MRTs could do to help them and provide support. At the time, it was the first paper, in this field, in any of the major medical radiation sciences journals. I applied for a Canadian Institutes of Health Research grant, with the support of my supervisor, and joined a group of other graduate students from across the country to develop a website for LGBTQ patients affected by cancer. QueeringCancer.ca launched last year and provides peer support, stories and a repository of LGBTQ specific resources.
I co-founded the first group at BC Cancer to support sexual and gender minority patients and advocated for inclusive policies and processes. Since joining the faculty, at the radiation therapy program at the University of Alberta, I have continued to promote better education for MRTs in the area of LGBTQ health. Our paper on a curriculum evaluation has just been accepted by JMIRS, and we’re working to improve the diversity of our courses for all minoritized populations. In terms of national impact, I am developing a series of courses with CAMRT (Identity Matters) on LGBTQ health specifically for MRTs. I’ve continued to partner with researchers and academics globally to advocate for LGBTQ patients and healthcare professionals.
The CAMRT Foundation provided needed financial support for my doctorate, and I am very grateful to the CAMRT and the Foundation for their tireless fundraising to support MRTs’ continuing professional development. Knowing that I had a source of funding for my studies was instrumental in being able to commit to my EdD and to be able to align my research passion and my dedication to the profession.