Stacy Lee Lockerbie | From bike trails to community based research: A few paths less travelled

“We all take our own path”, says Stacy Lee as she describes how she ended up working at the Department of Family Medicine, at the Cumming School.

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Stacy Lee Lockerbie

“We all take our own path”, says Stacy Lee as she describes how she ended up working at the Department of Family Medicine, at the Cumming School. Stacy’s journey has been one that makes use of a unique skill set in a field where one might not expect to find it.

With a Masters and PhD in Medical Anthropology, Stacy Lee has focused her time researching the stories and narratives behind the numbers that researchers typically focus on. For her PhD dissertation, she sought to answer questions behind why adoptive mothers choose to become mothers, and how they assign value to the experience of becoming a mother and what it means to them.

“I’m almost outgoing to a fault”, she says. “Which is a skill that lends itself to building relationships and building that rapport you need with people to get qualitative information”.

Her work and the answers emerging from those relationships help to bridge a connection between the fields of anthropology and medicine. “I have found it is useful in a primary care setting, to be asking these types of questions.”

Now, Stacy Lee is putting those skills to work with Calgary’s vulnerable populations in her role with the Department of Family Medicine. She has been involved with the homeless and addicted populations, and the Immigrant and Refugee Health Interest Group. “I love the community-based research model. I get to meet people and make connections, and listen to people’s stories. All year long I have spent the afternoons on a weekly basis  at  the Drop-in Centre and the Mustard Seed  colouring with our research participants. Where else could I spend an afternoon colouring, getting to know such interesting people?”

When she’s not gathering health-related qualitative information, Stacy Lee is a keen cyclist and regularly can be seen whizzing around the Foothills campus on two wheels. She also competes in something called cyclo-cross. The intense sport involves a bike race interspersed with various hurdles, requiring riders to portage their bikes up slopes, through deep gravel pits or other similar obstacles, some of which may be lit on fire.

“You get a lot of different types of cyclists coming together to compete in this. Road bikers who are used to speed and racing, or mountain riders who are great at downhill and some of the more technical aspects of riding. It’s kind of similar to how on a research collaboration, you have different skillsets and backgrounds coming together on a project.”

But Stacy Lee’s odd skillset doesn’t make her feel out of place, “I do feel like my skills are something unique in the setting I work in. I feel really valued.”

Tidbits from Stacy:

Pets: Stacy has a cat named Zoey Rivas(named for a character on the TV series, Degrassi High). Stacy has seen every episode of Degrassi, from the 80s to today’s reprisal.

Professional baby cuddler: As part of her PhD dissertation, she spent a year in China doing research involving cuddling babies. She considers herself a pro.

Where she’d like to see the CSM in the next 50 years: “It would like to see more resources and research devoted to those in our population who are in vulnerable situations, like refugees, homelessness and addiction, especially now as health researchers have come to understand the importance of social determinants of health.”