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PhD offer: Conversation Cards for Moms: A mixed methods study to create and evaluate a new clinical tool for use in maternity care settings

Project summary:

It is estimated that 50% of Canadian women who give birth every year will gain more weight than recommended during pregnancy. Starting discussions about certain topics, especially those about body weight, can be difficult. Previous research has shown that conversation cards are a great way to help patients and healthcare providers start talking about sensitive topics; however, none have been created for pregnant women. This 3-phase, person- centered study will create and evaluate Conversation Cards for Moms (MomCards) with the goal of empowering women to discuss sensitive topics with their providers.

This CIHR funded study will recruit pregnant women and maternity care providers across Canada to participate in virtual focus groups designed to determine topics (e.g. lifestyle behaviours and weight gain) that are important to women and maternity care providers. Participants will also complete surveys to prioritize the important topics to create a deck of MomCards that will be tested and evaluated in clinical settings. Though the project is national in scope, the PhD student will be housed at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Position summary:

The individual who is selected for this position will be expected to work with study Principal Investigators, Dr. Angela Alberga and Dr. Tamara Cohen, in delivering the project alongside many national partners and collaborators.

The PhD student will be able to work on a variety of research-related aspects of the study including:

  • Developing interview guides
  • Developing ethics applications
  • Facilitating virtual focus groups
  • Conducting thematic analyses
  • Developing surveys
  • Developing knowledge translation and dissemination tools
  • Presenting abstracts at national and international conferences
  • Writing abstracts and manuscripts for publication
  • Working with a multidisciplinary national team of researchers, clinicians, national organizations and pregnant women across Canada

Required Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree in a related discipline (e.g., Kinesiology, Psychology, Nursing, Nutrition, Medicine, Public Health)
  • Prior experience conducting research in at least one of the following areas
    • Obesity
    • Pregnancy
    • Behaviour change interventions
    • Physical activity or dietary interventions
  • Effective oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrated research productivity (e.g., conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, master’s thesis, honours thesis)
  • Ability to work autonomously and take a lead role on projects under the supervision of principal investigators

Preference will be given to candidates with: 

  • Ability to communicate (orally) in both English and French
  • Experience using qualitative methods
  • Experience creating online surveys
  • Openness to learn new methods and techniques
  • Provincial, national and international candidates are encouraged to apply

Start date, Duration, Stipend, and Location

The PhD student will start in September 2022 (though there is also the possibility of starting during the summer of 2022); funding has already been received.

The funding package consists of a minimum 3-year stipend (consistent with CIHR Doctoral Research Awards funding levels) plus conference / training funding. For out of province and international candidates there are also tuition waivers potentially available.

The successful candidate will be registered at Concordia University in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology (www.concordia.ca); the actual work would be conducted at Concordia University’s Loyola campus (https://www.concordia.ca/maps/buildings.html). Please note that the language of instruction at Concordia is English.

To apply, please forward the following:

  • A complete curriculum vitae, including summary of GPA’s, a full publication list (including hyperlinks where possible) and email contact details for two referees
  • A letter of motivation including interests in line with the PhD offer, a statement of research accomplishments and future research goals (max 1 page)
  • An example of written research work

How to apply: 

  • The complete application package must be emailed to: themilohlab@gmail.com. Please include “MomCards PhD application” in the subject line.
  • Queries about the application should be sent to either Dr. Alberga (angela.alberga@concordia.ca) or Dr. Cohen (tamara.cohen@ubc.ca).
  • The closing date for receipt of applications is Friday December 3, 2021, 5 pm EST. Interviews will be conducted in January/ February 2022 and the successful candidate will need to apply to Concordia University by the official application deadline on February 1, 2022.