While working as the operations manager with the former Alberta Cancer Board, Chris Normandeau decided to enhance his skill set and knowledge in health.
“The School of Public Health was a perfect fit for me because it allowed me to continue working full-time, allowed for flexibility in my course load, and it is an extremely reputable program,” explains Normandeau.
Normandeau had an interest in both epidemiology and biostatistics, but ultimately chose epidemiology as his specialization because its broader focus would further support him in his career.
Midway through his program, Normandeau became the manager of the Cancer Strategic Clinical Network (Cancer SCN) at Alberta Health Services. There he works with physicians, senior health-care leaders, patients and family advisors, clinical and non-clinical support staff, and external stakeholders to develop initatives aimed to improve patient journeys, health outcomes, access to care, and patient safety.
This is exciting work for Normandeau as he is able to be part of a group focused on supporting clinical effectiveness research and enabling teams that want to design and implement innovative care. Among various initiatives currently underway, the Cancer SCN is developing and implementing clinical care pathways for rectal cancer, and head and neck cancer. In his role, he is able to work on projects ranging from all spectrums of the care continuum—ranging from prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative and end-of-life care.
“Through our work, we hope to create a system that gives people confidence that they are receiving the evidence-based care that they should be receiving,” explains Normandeau. “If we’re not making a positive change in the patient’s eyes, then we are not really succeeding.”
This work tied in nicely with Normandeau’s thesis where he compared pediatric brain tumour physician databases with the Alberta Cancer Registry. With support from his co-supervisors, Faith Davis, vice-dean School of Public Health and Juanita Hatcher, director, Cancer Surveillance Network, he assessed case ascertainment of the physician databases and the Alberta Cancer Registry, compared the databases to assess comparability, and compared overall distributions within and across the databases to see if there were any important learnings.
(Last updated November, 2015)