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“A Decade of Dedication: Reflecting on 10 Years at FMPE”, Interview with Angela Eady

Angela Eady is currently Module Development Coordinator at FMPE. In October of this year, she will be moving on to the next chapter of her life. In this article, Angela reflects on her time with FMPE and the evolutions that she witnessed over the past decade.  

Q: What was your career journey before becoming part of the FMPE team?

I have had a diverse career path, blending library science research with social work. Initially drawn to library science due to my admiration for public libraries, I began my journey at McMaster, where I contributed to cancer care practice guidelines. In this role, I conducted research and authored a manual on producing evidence-based reports. The experience was enriching, with ample mentorship and learning opportunities.

My passion for writing and mental health led me to the Health Information Research Unit, where I split my time between them and the cancer care group. Eventually, I transitioned fully to the former, where I spent over a decade appraising literature and writing for evidence-based journals. Collaborating with skilled librarians, I co-led workshops for medical professionals in North America, delving into research study search techniques.

Later, I took on a leadership role overseeing a mental health journal published by BMJ. Despite its success, budget constraints led to the termination of our contract. While I cherished my time there, my interest in mental health persisted, prompting me to pursue a master’s in social work at U of T. During this period, I engaged in research on HIV stigma, aligning my skills and passions.

Q: What led you to FMPE? 

Around 2015, I received an invitation to attend a retirement party for a former colleague from the Health Information Research Unit. Stepping into the event, it felt as though I had never left. Being there, I realized how much I missed the work and how well-suited I felt to it compared to my time in social work. Consequently, I resolved to rekindle my involvement in that field. I maintained some freelance work from acquaintances from my previous job. This involved tasks such as literature searching and editing, which I continued for about six months.

At the retirement celebration, I reconnected with my former director, who graciously offered to serve as a reference and inform me about job opportunities. However, it was an advertisement for a position with FMPE that particularly piqued my interest. They were seeking someone to focus on writing modules, which instantly appealed to me.

Initially, I was tasked with developing two modules per year and was also entrusted with the responsibility of managing the newsletter. We typically aimed to have 14 modules in rotation, ensuring a steady flow of content across all stages of development to mitigate any potential delays.

Q: How did your work at FMPE evolve over time?

Initially, our interactions were primarily in person, except for our round table meetings, which were conducted via conference calls. Nowadays, with the shift to virtual meetings through platforms like Zoom, there’s a notable difference in the atmosphere, allowing for better connection through eye contact, albeit virtually.

Back then, our procedures were based more through trial and error. My prior experience with writing and research at the Health Information Research Unit proved invaluable in navigating these challenges. Working closely with similar teams remains crucial, especially when collaborating with authors and editors who bring clinical expertise that complements our writing and research skills.

In my previous role, our focus was on high-quality research studies, with strict criteria guiding our selection process. In contrast, my current role delves deeper into specific primary care topics, often confronting less-than-stellar evidence and navigating gray areas. Despite the challenges, this shift has been both stimulating and educational, providing me with a deeper understanding of primary care.

My role has undergone several transitions, from starting part-time to expanding my responsibilities to four days a week before eventually scaling back to three days. This decision was influenced by various factors, including personal considerations and the desire to facilitate the integration of new talent into the team, ensuring its long-term sustainability.

Q: What factors contributed most significantly to your satisfaction and longevity within the organization, particularly in your role in module development?

The essence of staying with an organization lies greatly in the quality of the people you work with and the continuous learning experience it offers. Speaking particularly from the perspective of module development, the work remains intriguing due to its dynamic nature. Each module presents unique challenges, ensuring a sense of variety in our tasks. While it may feel like we are immersed in one module for an extended period, we typically have multiple projects ongoing simultaneously, maintaining a level of diversity in our work.

Moreover, the supportive and cordial relationships within the module development team contribute significantly to the overall satisfaction of the job. Witnessing the challenges faced by family doctors, who are the frontline of the healthcare system, has deepened my respect for them. Participating in round table discussions and hearing about their experiences underscores the immense responsibilities they shoulder and the resource constraints they navigate. Knowing that our work directly contributes to their continuing education and aids them in their practice is truly fulfilling.

What’s particularly fascinating is the realization that not all questions have clear-cut answers in the literature, necessitating the application of clinical experience. This has been evident in our module development process, where practical constraints often intersect with theoretical best practices. Learning to balance these factors and ensure the modules remain applicable has been a significant learning curve for me. Simplifying complex concepts and focusing on practical implications has become imperative, as clinicians prioritize efficiency in their practice.

In addition to module development, another aspect of my role involves managing the newsletter. This provides an avenue to update clinicians on new evidence that may emerge post-module publication, ensuring they have access to the most current information.

Q: What does the future hold for you?

About eight years ago, I received a pair of binoculars for my birthday, and since then, I’ve found myself increasingly captivated by the natural world. This newfound interest has sparked a deep curiosity and admiration for the wonders of nature, leading me down a fascinating journey of exploration. I’ve delved into various aspects of wildlife and environmental conservation, finding each discovery to be both captivating and awe-inspiring. 

As I continue to immerse myself in this field, I’m eager to further my learning and contribute to conservation efforts through volunteering with organizations dedicated to preserving our natural ecosystems. Additionally, I’m considering opportunities to merge my passion for nature with education, potentially collaborating with my partner, who is a high school teacher, in developing educational initiatives centered around environmental awareness and conservation. Given the current challenges facing our planet, I feel compelled to do my part in safeguarding and nurturing our natural world.