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The Long Way Round: My Journey to the GRC

August 23, 2019

Joe Humphries (MA Student)

I suppose I’ve never been one to take the road most travelled. When I began my undergrad seven years ago, I took courses in philosophy, geography, sociology, psychology and earth sciences. Somehow I ended up here, working at the Gerontology Research Centre alongside Dr. Sarah Canham while studying for my Masters in Gerontology. Looking back sometimes it’s difficult to find the turning points that lead me here, but if there’s one thing that holds true throughout this journey, it’s that I’ve been inspired by people taking action to help others.

When I met Sarah, that inspiration hit again. Her energy and passion for her research was infectious, and when she offered me the position to work with her as a research assistant I was thrilled. Sarah and I are currently working on a project entitled Promoting a Healthy Drinking Culture for Older Adults in BC. This community-based research project consists of three dialogue events surrounding the topic of the brand new low risk drinking guidelines for older adults. These events will take the form of a “knowledge café”, where older adults, community members, service providers and clinicians can all gather in small groups around a table to generate and build on ideas in a lively, safe, and informal café-inspired setting.

What drew me to this project with Sarah was not only the involved, community-based nature of the research, but also the potential for generating real change. We hope that this work will help inform community stakeholders and encourage low risk drinking for older adults. In this way, this research has the potential to affect the real-world health outcomes of members of our communities. The fact that low risk drinking guidelines specific to older adults haven’t been developed until just recently really shows how neglected this topic has been, and how much potential these dialogue events have to provide unique feedback and insights.

Although I’ve only just begun working at the Gerontology Research Centre, I’m excited for what lies ahead. It seems as though this project leads down yet another road less travelled. But as far as I’m concerned, that’s the only road for me.

If you’re interested in joining the discussion at one of the upcoming Knowledge Café events, or if you’d like to volunteer, please contact me at joe_humphries@sfu.ca. I’d love to hear from you!