Elaine Van Melle: Medical Education Researcher
Elaine Van Melle (M.Ed. ’00, Ph.D. ’05) owes much of her career success to the wealth of education she earned at the Faculty of Education. As a medical education researcher and a former health sciences administrator, Elaine’s time at the Faculty of Education gave her the opportunity to build on what she loves to do: “to synthesize ideas and theories in a way that makes a difference on the ground, in practice.”
Her interest in health science goes way back (she as a B.Sc. from Western and a Master’s in Health Administration from UofT), so for Elaine, continuing her education at Queen’s felt like a logical progression from her earlier studies.
“When I was working in the psychiatric hospital in 1987, I became interested in strategic planning, program evaluation and adult learning. Pursuing a Master’s degree in education allowed me to follow these interests. Continuing on with a PhD allowed me to delve more deeply into these areas and also to strengthen my research skills."
While at Queen’s, Elaine was given a lot of latitude to pursue her interests, something she sees as a real strength of the graduate programs. She recalls one of her professors, Dr. Lyn Shulha giving her many opportunities to develop and hone her skills in program evaluation.
“I remember one particular project concerning the evaluation of an information technology initiative in Ontario schools. Lyn brought together a number of students and created a most collaborative and engaging working experience. It is an approach that I have carried with me into my ongoing work."
When she completed her Ph.D., Elaine became the Director, Office of Health Sciences Education within Queen’s Faculty of Health Sciences, a position that allowed her to draw from both her Ph.D. and her administrative experience.
Five years later, Elaine decided to focus on research and program evaluation within the field of medical education. Since 2011, she has worked for Queen’s Department of Family Medicine, as well as the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
It’s clear Elaine loves her work and that Queen’s Faculty of Education helped her achieve her career goals.
“I could not imagine a more fulfilling work life. I have the luxury of working from home on stimulating projects involving a wide range of collaborators. There’s no question that my experience at Queen’s was instrumental in making this happen.”