In our Meet Sprout series, we ask each member of the Sprout Health Solutions team about their work, what brought them here and what makes them tick. First up is Dr Laura Meade, Senior Scientist, based in Canada.
- What does your role at Sprout involve?
Something different every day! I spend most of my time researching, creating and reviewing content developed to support adherence to treatment recommendations. This can look very different, depending on the project.
I refer to evidence and theory to target the behavior of interest in the population we are working with. I literally learn something new every day; whether it is learning about a patient population, or how we can address behaviors in a certain context. Being a behavioral scientist sometimes feels like being a detective; trying to search for the best answers to a particular question. I can’t believe I get to do this as my job!
- What led you to this career?
Blindly following my interests and my gut! I always knew I wanted to work in health and disseminating research into programs that directly support patients, healthcare workers and the public – I just didn’t know how to get there!
I’ve always been interested in supporting people in living an active and healthy life. Early in my career I developed programs to support behavior change and became really interested in understanding the inter- and intra-personal influences on behavior. This led me to get my Master’s degree in health and exercise psychology where I explored the role of emotions in adhering to exercise. I realized I still had a lot of unanswered questions so after working with patients within primary care and community settings, I moved to the UK. There I completed my PhD in health psychology, where I developed a complex behavior change intervention to support exercise adherence in patients with chronic pain. I love that I get to continue to do research in an applied setting that results in evidence that has a direct impact.
- What do you value most about the work you do at Sprout?
Oh this is easy, the feedback we get from the teams who use the material we have developed! We spend a lot of time researching the problem and using behavioral science to address it in engaging ways. Hearing how patients and healthcare providers respond is so rewarding.
- What’s one thing you’re learning now, and why is it important?
Professionally, I am spending a lot of my time learning how to target and support behavior change over digital platforms. The way we provide care and information is changing and digital interventions provide flexible and accessible support for everyone. I love learning with this industry and finding new and unique ways to support behavior change remotely.
Personally, I am learning how to skate ski! I have cross country skied my whole life but only recently started to get more serious about it and entering races. Skate skiing is a quicker, more complicated technique but when you hit your stride it feels amazing! I still have a lot of learning to do, but what else are you going to do in the middle of Canada during a pandemic?! Personally, being active outdoors (yes, even in the middle of a Canadian winter!) is the best thing I can do for my mental health.
- What 3 words would your friends use to describe you?
- If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Probably flight, then I could go anywhere in the world. Added bonus, I would be socially distanced!