FEATURED MEMBER - SHEILA GARLAND, PhD, R PSYCH
Dr. Sheila Garland is a Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Professor of Psychology and Oncology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She is the director of the Sleep, Health, & Wellness Lab. She completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and post-doc training in Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Integrative Oncology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Dr. Garland is the recipient of new investigator awards from the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, the Canadian Psychological Association, the Society for Integrative Oncology, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and most recently the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine’s Arthur J. Spielman Early Career Distinguished Achievement Award award for 2018.
WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THE FIELD IN 10 YEARS?
I would like to see the field continue to work to increase awareness of the need for specialized behavioural sleep medicine services. We desperately need to improve patient access to evidence-based BSM therapies. I would also like to see more graduate level training programs include courses on sleep, sleep disorders, and behavioral sleep medicine interventions. It would be easier if more people received this training and supervision during graduate school than to try and develop these skills afterwards.
HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?
I started to investigate interventions to address sleep disturbance and insomnia in cancer patients back in 2004 when there were only a few other people publishing in the area. I worked with Dr. Tammy Moroz, who trained under Dr. Rachel Manber, for a year at the sleep centre at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta. Then I attended the 3-day CBT-I Seminar lead by Dr. Michael Perlis. I also voraciously consumed all the treatment manuals that I could, including those by Drs. Charles Morin and Jack Edinger, and read the books intended for patients themselves. My dissertation compared group-based Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for insomnia to Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction in post-treatment cancer patients. I was amazed that an 8 week sleep program in post-treatment cancer patients could have such a positive impact on every other aspect of their life. I was hooked! After completing my PhD, I pursued advanced training with Drs. Michael Perlis and Phil Gehrman at the University of Pennsylvania. Now, I hope to pass down some of the wisdom that I have collected from my mentors and the passion and excitement I have for behavioural sleep medicine to my current and future students.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALING IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?
As an early career investigator myself, I would advise others to build and nurture long-lasting relationships with mentors. I never fully understood, or appreciated, the amount of work it takes to invest in a trainee until I starting mentoring others. I would recommend continuing to value and learn from these relationships through each stage of your career, especially once you are more established and can start to give back to the people who once helped to sustain you.