People in Profile: Tania Conte

Meet Tania — every small step taken has opened up a brighter future.

Tania Conte is a registered nurse (RN) from Curitiba, Brazil and has substantial experience in clinical practice, health care management, and health technology assessment (HTA). She came to Canada to pursue her Master’s degree at the School for Population and Public Health at UBC. She is currently a Graduate Research Assistant for Dr. Craig Mitton at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation (C2E2), and is working on a project evaluating a pediatric palliative care program in B.C. In her free time, Conte likes to travel and explore different places, but lately those rare moments are spent simply getting together with friends for fun and good food.

Q: What is your research area of interest?
A: My interests include health services research, health technology assessment, and health economics applied to decision-making processes. I prefer not having to focus on a specific drug or procedure and applying instead those methods to new topics every time a new project starts. It keeps me curious and motivated.

Q: What has been the proudest moment in your career?
A: I am proud of the many small steps in my career that have built up my personal story. The first baby delivered, the first successful resuscitation, the first discharge of a patient from critical care, the first well-done surgery, the first health technology assessment report handed in to the Board. However, I have to say that my first paper accepted for an international conference, that I later presented, opened up a totally different perspective for me. Since then, I radically changed my life, learned another language, moved to Canada, and engaged in a Master’s program. All these later steps had never previously crossed my mind and I am proud that I let that first challenge broaden my horizon and break paradigms.

Q: If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?
A: I guess I would fulfill a fantasy my older brother and I had in our childhood — being the Wonder Twins. They activated their superpowers with physical contact and by saying "Wonder Twin powers activate!” Zan could transform into water at any state (solid, liquid, gas) at any time. Jayna could transform into any animal, whether real or mythological, and gain the creature’s natural abilities. In addition, they shared a telepathic link.

I believe heroes need to work as a team and be versatile to adapt to the different challenges that come across. They need to constantly reinvent themselves and collaborate.

Q: If you could invite any three people (living or dead) to dinner, who would they be and why?
A: First, I would invite my favourite singer from when I was a teenager - Renato Russo from the band Legiao Urbana. I was saving money and trying to convince my parents to let me attend their concert, then he died. He was a very intelligent and sensitive person who I felt I could connect to.

Second, I would invite Florence Nightingale, a British social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. We would have a long conversation about my struggles with stats and nursing. I haven’t paid much attention to her in the past but lately I realize our commonalities. I find it a comic coincidence.

Third, I would invite my parents (I know, technically that’s four!). It is difficult to manage the distance from family and sometimes I get homesick. I would take them to a nice restaurant and show them beautiful Vancouver.

Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a researcher?
A: That is a difficult question. I want to do so many different things, from being a police investigator to a tour guide, and it makes me feel like life is too short. I guess my main natural talent is helping people with whatever they need, so any type of job where I feel I am improving someone’s life would be great.

Q: What do you like to do during your non-work hours?
A: I enjoy the outdoors, hiking, traveling, meeting new people, trying different food, experiencing new cultures and landscapes. This picture is from a hike I went in Banff, where I had the chance to enjoy the snow, see deer and elk, and drink some good coffee with my friend Liz.

Q: What is your healthiest habit?
A: I can’t say I am exercising regularly lately; so cooking my food from scratch and staying away from fast food has been my healthiest habit. I hope I can go back to fitness as soon as school gets less demanding.