VEGA Trainee profile: Jill McTavish


Hi I’m Jill, a postdoctoral fellow at McMaster University and trainee with the VEGA project. After completing an undergrad in nutraceutical sciences and gender studies, I decided to pursue a Masters in Library and Information Sciences (MLIS) at Western University. I saw an information science degree as a way to make an ethical living (providing free information!) while pursuing graduate work in gender studies. However, I met my academic advisor, Roma Harris, while doing my MLIS and she convinced me to stay and pursue a Ph.D. in information science.

When nearing the end of my Ph.D. in information science I started working at the hospital as a clinical librarian. My role was to conduct comprehensive and systematic reviews in order to answer healthcare providers’ clinical queries. I also taught nurses and other healthcare providers about research topics of interest to them (including critical appraisal, “demystifying research 101”, “introduction to focus groups”, “introduction to surveys”, etc.). I loved my role at the hospital and almost decided to forgo academic work altogether…

However, my lust for knowledge and learning struck again and I contacted Nadine Wathen about potential opportunities. To my delight, she introduced me to Harriet MacMillan, who is now my postdoctoral supervisor at McMaster University. (Dr. MacMillan is the MOST generous, thoughtful, and scientifically rigorous person I have ever had the pleasure to meet.)

After 10 years of researching various topics, I feel like I have found my “home” in the field of family violence. Research in the family violence field combines my love for gender-sensitive, social issues with my love for health research. The researchers I have encountered in this field combine all of the traits I admire and aspire to: compassion, integrity, social awareness, and scientific rigour. I still have a lot to learn and I feel the utmost privilege to be included in this monumental project.

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