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PhD candidate Kyle Vader appointed to CIHR Institute Advisory Board

Kyle Vader, PhD candidate in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, has been appointed to the Institute Advisory Board (IAB) for the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

As one of the CIHR’s 13 Institutes, the IMHA is at the centre of musculoskeletal, skin and oral health research in Canada. Mandated to support ethical and impactful research to enhance active living, the IMHA IAB meets quarterly to discuss pressing issues, provide strategic insight and present feedback to the institute’s scientific director.  

Last Spring the IMHA IAB put out the call for new board members, particularly individuals with expertise in pain. As a PhD candidate in Rehabilitation Science, and a physiotherapist in the interprofessional chronic pain program at Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC), Kyle had the relevant clinical and research expertise. His research focuses on pain, rehabilitation, primary health care, and health services, and he is a passionate educator who routinely gives guest lectures to health sciences and health professional students.  Kyle is also the LGBTQIA2S+ Learner Representative on the Executive of the Dean’s Action Table on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (DAT-EDI) in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), and he hopes to bring a lens of equity to his role on the IMHA IAB.  

“It feels great, not only to have my accomplishments recognized but also to be able to bring my perspective to the IMHA IAB and positively contribute to the advancement of health research across the country,” says Kyle. “As someone involved in the DAT-EDI, I pitched that I would specifically be interested in bringing an equity lens to my work. This actually aligns well with their new strategic plan which focuses on equity as a central issue.” 

As a current PhD candidate, Kyle will be bringing a unique trainee perspective to the IMHA IAB, which is otherwise comprised of established researchers. While his relative lack of experience may initially be viewed as a drawback to some, Kyle was able to leverage it and showcase the importance of diverse perspectives. 

“I leveraged the fact that I am a practicing clinician myself and someone completing a PhD, and that because of these things I would be able to represent both a clinical and trainee perspective,” says Kyle. “Ultimately, the IMHA IAB is meant to bring forward different viewpoints from the Canadian health research community in order to advance musculoskeletal, skin and oral health research. I look forward to doing just that.” 

Kyle hopes that current and future learners can learn from his experience and not be afraid to seek out opportunities, no matter how daunting they may seem. “The biggest thing that I've learned from my experience is that when you’re given opportunities, act on them,” says Kyle. “No matter what you are bringing a unique perspective; be bold and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.”