Increasingly, health researchers are embracing arts-based inquiry. Creative practices can be conceived as supportive interventions for people with chronic illnesses and/or they may assist with data collection and dissemination. Until June 2011, I co-facilitated the Creative Practices for People with Cancer (CP4PC) Research Group, which was supported by the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF). I continue to be involved with this Group from a distance.
My interests in creative practices have also been shared in a publication involving poetic transcription, as well as others in the area of photovoice. It is in this domain of "creative practices" that my personal interests in writing, fibre arts and photography begin to intersect with my research.
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CO-FOUNDERS OF THE QUALITATIVE RESEARCH CENTRE
RESEARCH TITLE: Yoga for Women with Arm Morbidity after Breast Cancer
RESEARCH TEAM: Roanne Thomas-MacLean, Elizabeth Quinlan, Kent Kowalski, Rita Hamoline, Paul Spriggs
PROPOSED RESEARCH: A National Picture: Aboriginal Women's Experiences of Breast Cancer Survivorship
RESEARCH TEAM: Co-PIs Roanne Thomas-MacLean and Jennifer Poudrier, Co-Is Carolyn Brooks, Annette Burfoot, Baukje Miedema, Terry Mitchell, Denise Tarlier and Sue Tatemichi
Little is known about Aboriginal women's experiences of breast cancer. The proposed national study addresses psychosocial issues of breast cancer survivorship from the perspectives of Aboriginal women using group discussions, interviews and photography within a participatory model. Our goals are to: 1) identify resources and information for Aboriginal breast cancer survivors; 2) document the psychosocial impact and needs of Aboriginal breast cancer survivors; 3) compare Aboriginal women's experiences cancer care and post-treatment quality of life across different communities; and 4) make the findings of our research accessible to Aboriginal breast cancer survivors, health care professionals and health care administrators. By drawing upon the experiences of Aboriginal women, our research will help to create a foundation for developing relevant and meaningful resources that are responsive to the needs of Aboriginal women in their local communities, thereby addressing a significant gap in the literature.
RESEARCH:Visualizing Breast Cancer: Exploring Aboriginal Women’s Experiences
Roanne Thomas-MacLean and Jennifer Poudrier
The research addressed psychosocial aspects of breast cancer survivorship. Through exploration of Aboriginal women’s experiences of breast cancer, the study addressed an underresearched topic within the psychosocial domain, as there has been a notable lack of research into the relationship between ethnicity and health, with respect to breast cancer. This research also enabled us to evaluate a new method of qualitative research (photography) in order to determine whether or not this is a useful approach to understanding experiences of breast cancer. The results of the study will assist with a larger operating grant proposal, which will address the experiences of rural and remote Aboriginal women. Our findings will also be used to inform practices at the Breast Health Centre in Saskatoon, and we anticipate that our findings will also be useful in developing breast cancer resources for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women.