3MT Finalist Sarah Conrad

Sarah Conrad

Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Health Sciences

Vote for Sarah

What many Moms don't want to talk about...

Introduce yourself...

My name is Sarah Conrad and I am passionate about the pelvic floor. Currently, I am in my second year as a Master’s Student in the Rehabilitation Sciences program, as well as working as a Physical Therapist. My favorite way to have fun is chasing my three boys down a mountain.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

My research is focused on the pelvic floor disorder, Pelvic Organ Prolapse. This is a disorder in which the organs protrude beyond the vaginal walls. This awful bulging sensation has a negative impact on the quality of life of these women. Unbelievably, it is estimated that 1 in 3 women will encounter or are currently living with prolapse.

One of the challenges in prolapse research is the way severity of a prolapse is measured. The degree of change in the anatomy and the severity of symptoms experienced by these patients are not always aligned. For instance, the healthcare provider may use an anatomical measurement tool and classify her prolapse as “mild or moderate”, but the patient’s experience of this awful vaginal bulge when she is walking with her friends is “moderate to severe”, sometimes enough to make her stop walking. My research is focusing on the strength of the psychometric properties (reliability, validity and responsiveness) of the measurement tools that are not based on anatomy but instead on patient experience.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

This has been a fantastic experience for knowledge translation! My topic is not easy to discuss in public environments as many people have a hard time even just saying the word vagina. This can make discussing problems with our delicate anatomy even more difficult. The peer-review session was really helpful in guiding me to find the correct words and helped me move out of my “discipline specific” lens with my word choices.

What inspires you to do research?

Thousands of gynecological surgeries related to pelvic organ support are done each year, and unfortunately nearly 30% will have to have another surgery. Listening to the experiences and frustrations of my patients inspired me to return to University and learn research skills to advance patient-care for these patients..

What are three keywords important to your 3MT?

Acknowledgement, Accuracy and Advancement.

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

By taking care of our mothers and helping to improve their quality of life we are taking care of our communities on many, many levels.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future—who would it be and why?

Where would we be without our mothers? “Mothers are the glue that holds everything together even when she feels she may fall apart!” -author unknown.

3MT Image Description - The first photo is of brightly coloured tulips, the second photo on the slide is of a women in shock and covering her mouth.

Watch Sarah's Three Minute Thesis