Marie-Claude Jacques is a PhD candidate and a lecturer professor at Université de Sherbrooke. Her clinical experience as a nurse was centered on particularly vulnerable populations that are often reluctant to seek healthcare (the homeless, people with serious mental disorders and prison inmates).
Through this work, she came to understand the importance of advocacy and community involvement. She is now concentrating on her doctoral studies and the Astra Zeneca scholarship helps her carry out what could be termed “research in jeans”. Such research involves reaching out to persons with schizophrenia who live in the community and feel socially isolated, in order to interview them on their struggles and their coping strategies. This less traditional type of research requires close ties with the community, a strong presence on the ground and good communication skills. Marie-Claude hopes that her research will help improve care and services for people with schizophrenia.
As a young professor, she mainly intends to become an educator in mental health and psychiatry which is crucial given the shortage of nurses in this field and the growing needs of this population that is unpopular with students beginning their nursing training. To quote Frank Zappa: A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work until it’s open.