Meet Mandy Archibald, 2022 Rh Award Winner in the Health Sciences category
Mandy Archibald, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, develops integrative research methods to improve patient care.
Archibald is the 2022 recipient of the Terry G. Falconer Memorial Rh Institute Foundation Emerging Researcher Award in the Health Sciences category, in recognition of her research to improve the care of youth and families with chronic illness and disabilities. UM Today caught up with Archibald to learn more about her and the research she is undertaking.
Can you tell us a bit about you and your research?
I’m an applied researcher and methodologist, specializing in the experiential complexities of chronic illness and disability. My work primarily focuses on how we can use our understanding of these complexities to improve care and health service delivery. Much of my research intersects health, arts and science, and works across the borders of qualitative and quantitative research. I work with interdisciplinary teams, community partners and those directly affected by the issues I’m studying. This approach allows us to address problems from various angles, fostering creativity and a collective understanding of issues. It also ensures our research findings are relevant and applicable in real-world situations.
Why is this research important?
While my research covers a broad range of topics, a key aspect is the development of living labs. These labs are responsive knowledge exchange systems that we develop and test within clinical environments. They bring together various stakeholders like clinicians, organizations and families, with the aim of creating more sustained and systematic ways of conducting family-centered research and sharing our findings in creative ways. This approach recognizes the fast-paced changes in our social world and ensures our research responses are agile.
I believe our understanding of the world is both liberated and constrained by the research methods we use. That’s why I’m passionate about combining methodological approaches to provide a more complete picture of our world, helping us generate richer, more authentic understandings of experience, which is foundational to person-centered research and care.
What does the Rh award mean to you?
Receiving the Rh award is an honour. It’s also encouraging. As academics, we’re accustomed to setbacks. And when you’re working on new research methods and advocating for new approaches, it can feel vulnerable. So, having this work recognized, especially with an award that celebrates innovation, is appreciated.
What do you hope to achieve in the future?
I’m passionate about advancing the practice of applied arts-based research and mixed methods in child health. I would love for these approaches to become integral to health science research methodology, especially in studying and applying evidence from lived experiences.
I’m also working on developing courses that attend to these integrative methodologies. With the living lab work, I aim to create agile research systems that foster long-term, meaningful engagement with participants. I envision a world where health research is meaningful to people in their everyday lives, informs their behaviours and is simultaneously informed by the lives of individuals and communities.
What might people find surprising about you?
I have an intense interest in martial arts. I recently earned my red belt in Taekwondo, so that was cool. Like my research, martial arts encompass several disciplines—art, sport, athleticism, mindfulness.
Do you have any advice for early career researchers and students?
Do work that aligns with your values, skills and interests. It’s important to embody the values we want to see in our community. Academic work can be challenging, but our values ground and guide us. Also, don’t be afraid of thoughtful risk-taking. Innovation and opportunity are often linked to risk, and embracing this keeps us looking forward to the future.