Meet Dr. Darryl Knight, Vice President, Research & Academic Affairs, PHC

Jul 22, 2020 | Meet and Greet

The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how we all live and work. It’s also changed how we do science. At Providence Health Care, our research community has been faced with shuttered labs and offices, financial uncertainty, and a rapid shift to virtual research environments.

In this new Q&A series, we’re asking PHC researchers and research staff to reflect on their experience over the past few months and share how they’re adapting to the new world we live in.

Who are you?

Darryl Knight, Vice President, Research & Academic Affairs, Providence Health Care

How has COVID-19 impacted your professional life?

COVID-19 has had a massive impact professionally. I’m reminded of the great Western movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. The good: the pandemic has been a galvanizing force for collaborative research and provincial platforms (e.g. Provincial COVID Blood Biobank) which has been a great positive. The bad: shutting down and then re-opening research at Providence Health Care has been an enormous task, but thanks to awesome managers (Julie Hadden) has been manageable. Finally, the ugly: the sheer number of Zoom meetings.

How has COVID-19 impacted your personal life?

We just bought and moved into our new house the week of lockdown, so there was an opportunity to get settled in. Working from home has, for the most, been seamless (see “ugly” point above). With no traveling, I’ve had a lot more time at home with my family – which for me, has been great.

As B.C. reopens, and as research activity gradually resumes, what does the “new normal” look like for you?

The new normal to me is a hybrid: a lot of phases and delays. Personally – modest impact: virtual drinks are not the same as in-person drinks. As a keen golfer, the new COVID rules have been a good thing for the game generally.

Professionally: the major impact has been dealing with very personal responses to the pandemic. Everyone is dealing with COVID-19 very differently. One thing I’ve noticed is that we are very resilient and adaptive in general. One good thing is the different way that people are thinking and a new spirit of collaboration. This is really exciting. 

Has the pandemic resulted in any unexpected benefits for you?

Evidence from my old country (Australia) which is deep into flu season has shown a 93 per cent reduction in the incidence of flu – put mostly down to hand hygiene and physical distancing. Hopefully this translates to the Northern Hemisphere. Professionally – a new impetus to work collaboratively and more efficiently has been really motivating.

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