Michelle Poulin

Michelle, Scientific Secretary

Michelle has been Scientific Secretary at the TransMedTech Institute since 2018. She’s the guardian of punctuation, but also of proper French and translations in due form.

Tell us a little about your background:

I graduated from McGill University with a bachelor’s degree in French studies, majoring in translation. After graduating, I wanted to travel and see the country and the world, so I left for Europe.

Back in Canada, finding work became a priority. I landed a job at the Jewish General Hospital, where I worked for some fifteen years in various departments.

I then obtained a contract to work as a project coordinator for a team of researchers at the University of Calgary. So I found myself in the research sector rather than in the hospital environment, with which I was more familiar. It was a real eye-opener to the world of research.

Later, I decided to enroll at Université de Montréal to complete two certificates to perfect certain notions in professional writing and translation, which gave me the opportunity to explore self-employment for a few years.

Afterwards, I obtained a contract to work for the Research Institute of the MUHC as project coordinator for a researcher who was managing a self-care program for people suffering from chronic pain or certain chronic illnesses. A very interesting experience.

Then, in June 2018, I joined the TransMedTech Institute!

What is your mission at the TransMedTech Institut?

Since joining TransMedTech as a scientific secretary, my role has been to provide administrative support of all kinds to colleagues. But I have to say that I’m particularly interested in anything to do with language: writing, language editing or translation. I’m always on the lookout for typos, reworking a paragraph, or suggesting changes to fine-tune a text or translation.

In addition to language issues, researchers from our partner institutions also request my services for CV updating. I’ve done quite a number of these to date. A rather arduous and meticulous task in some cases. But I am meticulous as well, so this kind of work suits me perfectly; in a way, it mirrors who I am.

I’m particularly interested in anything to do with language: writing, language editing or translation

Michelle Poulin

Describe a day when you’ve just had the best working day of your life. What was it about that day that made you so happy?

At TransMedTech, it was the day I finished the linguistic revision of a rather voluminous document – the mid-term activity report – a document of some 90 pages in all, including both French and English versions. The task was a very collaborative effort!

I also remember another day in particular when, as a project coordinator in my work at the MUHC, I realized that what we were doing, offering patients who participated in a self-management program for people living with chronic pain or chronic illness, was having a real impact on their daily lives, and more importantly, witnessing it.

In other ways, the TransMedTech Institute also aims to respond to the needs of the healthcare community, including those of patients – to provide them with options to better manage their healthcare needs. So, a few years ago, all members of the TransMedTech team attended, or participated in, a conference open to the general public, where many patients expressed their everyday challenges. That day proved significant for me because I realized that what we did at TransMedTech mattered a great deal.

What are your values at work and in life in general?

At work, conviviality, mutual respect and mutual support. Not to mention prioritizing the tasks at hand and getting the job done on time and with care.

In general, I would say integrity, empathy and mutual support are important to me, but they apply just as well in a work context.

There are different ways of looking at success. What would that be for you?

In my opinion, it all depends on the context and your vision of life. It’s all about setting goals and finding the means to achieve them. Anything can be a success, whether professional or personal. It’s all up to you.

What did you dream of doing as a child?

I loved drawing and creating characters, and specially making clothes for them, even on paper. Of course, I loved dressing up for Halloween and making my own Big Bird costume!

A person who inspires you and why?

My sister, immensely courageous, resilient and always looking for solutions to her health problems. Unwaveringly optimistic, she remains jovial in spite of everything. This reassures and impresses me all at ounce.

What readings would you recommend?

Totem Poles and Tea: This is a historical account of a young nurse’s adventure to explore the ancient villages of the native peoples living on the west coast of British Columbia in the 1930s. Full of humor and sadness at times.

Life Before Man by Margaret Atwood. Fascinating reading! Or any of the other books by Margaret Atwood, an immensely prolific novelist!

Source : Communication Department, Institut TransMedTech