#IamMGHresearch tells the stories of our people. Meet Dr. Kelly Smith, PhD, Michael Garron Hospital’s (MGH) inaugural Michael Garron Chair in Patient Oriented Research – a joint appointment with the University of Toronto. As a part of her role, Dr. Smith will help enhance and amplify many of the patient-oriented innovations throughout the hospital. She will also conduct research, in alignment with the hospital’s vision of creating health and building community, that will bring the patient voice into quality improvement and patient safety. This is her story.
“I’ve always been passionate about healthcare and improving care for others. When I first started in research, I trained as a basic scientist but often struggled to make the connection between bench science and how that would lead to a tangible improvement for patients at the bedside. However, working directly with patients from both a clinical and research perspective helped me identify opportunities to improve evidence-based care delivery to make it more patient-centered.
In 2004 during my doctoral studies, I did an internship at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health System and had the opportunity to attend a lecture about patient safety. I was really surprised to hear about the safety issues that can arise when providing care and to learn about the impact of medical errors on patients and their families. That lecture truly changed the course of my career and led me to do a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois College of Medicine where I studied the impact of patient safety on the health system. It was through this experience that I learned the essential skills of partnering with patients to deliver health system transformation – something that I think is central to achieving our vision of building community.
Coming to MGH has been a very natural transition for me. There’s so much about this organization that drew me in but one of the things that really impressed me was how patient-centered we are as a hospital. Patients are included in all types of work, from planning to evaluation and even in hiring! As a part of my interview process, I was interviewed by a patient and had the opportunity to meet the hospital’s Patient Experience Panel. I knew then that this was the place for me.
Now that I’ve been at MGH for a few months, I’ve had the chance to see first-hand some of the incredible work being done throughout our hospital. I’m continuously impressed by our focus on patient safety and quality improvement – we have a culture that really encourages people to speak up so we can improve every day.
There is also so much innovation happening inside our walls that is being brought to the community through our partnerships and our position within the East Toronto Health Partners. I’m inspired by how much passion and curiosity there is amongst our clinicians and staff and how no one is afraid to ask what we can do differently – always with the goal of making things better. I’m very excited and honoured to have the opportunity to help catalyze this incredible work, bring a research lens to our projects and to help amplify our voice as an organization.”
Want to learn more about Dr. Smith and her work at MGH? Read her formal announcement here.