Behind the scenes at BRILLIANT
Lina Petrella was interviewed about her role as BRILLIANT’s project officer. We find out what a project officer does, and we are introduced to the infrastructure that guides and supports the many moving parts of BRILLIANT.
Lina Petrella, erg. | OT., MSc.
”We are striving for an ideal. Each person has something valuable to contribute and that is exciting for me and for the entire team.
Question: What does a project officer do?
Answer: I am the BRILLIANT Project Officer. Essentially, I work with the team to ensure the project moves forward. Within BRILLIANT, the team includes principal investigators, research collaborators, clinicians, managers, and students, amongst others. BRILLIANT was funded by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation to build the infrastructure to conduct research in a ‘Living Laboratory’. I work closely with the team to help put this infrastructure in place. That includes many things. We have and continue to establish various committees that are under the governance structure of BRILLIANT. Currently, we have seven committees and we’re going up to ten. With all the committees, we have to have regular meetings with the members to execute their project’s mandate. I am assisting with purchasing of equipment, which is part of the physical infrastructure of the BRILLIANT project. I also monitor the finances, as well as hiring of personnel for various aspects of the project. I work with the team to develop collaborative partnerships with various stakeholders. Lastly, implementing communication strategies for the BRILLIANT project, like doing this interview, to help inform the various stakeholders.
Question: In your role as BRILLIANT’s project what are you responsible for with the various stakeholders?
Answer: First, there is a need to maintain consistent communication with all the stakeholders so everyone is aware of what’s happening. We also have to engage certain stakeholders for various aspects of the project at certain points in time when they are needed. What we have to understand is that involving people from various backgrounds and expertise enriches the outcome of this collaborative effort.
Question: As BRILLIANT’s Project Officer, are you the point person to bring all the stakeholders together?
Answer: I work with Dr. Sara Ahmed and the other principal investigators to do just that. I work closely with Sara and others to be that point person.
Question: You interact with a large group of stakeholders within BRILLIANT and outside of it. What skills do you need to communicate and work with such a large network of people?
Answer: The BRILLIANT project has a large team. Thanks to efforts of the people involved, they had the vision to pursue this project as a whole. With my background experience as a clinician working in various settings along the entire continuum of health care and as a coordinator for other health informatics research projects, I can say that I believe in this BRILLIANT project and the value it will bring, not only to the healthcare community, but to all users as well.
Question: Does your clinical experience help you in this role as Project Officer?
Answer: Yes! I was one of the users of the system as I worked as a clinician so I understand that experience. To be able to make the linkage between the users, whether it be clinicians, the clients and their caregivers, and the research team in order to bring that together to what we are striving for, is ideal. When you are striving for that together, working together towards that goal, engaging all these individuals with the knowledge that each person has something valuable to contribute – that is exciting for me and for the entire team. Part of my role is to ensure all the valuable contributions are integrated in the BRILLIANT project as a whole.