Department Spotlight: Ariel Cheung

Clinical Research Assistant

Vancouver – St. Paul’s Hospital & Vancouver General Hospital

Ariel Cheung, Clinical Research Assistant with the UBC Department of Emergency Medicine.

How long have you worked in the Department/UBC? 

Since January 2023.

Can you summarize what you do in the department?  

I am working on the Active Transportation Injury Circumstances and Outcome Study led by Dr. Jeff Brubacher. The study examines the mechanism of injury and recovery of pedestrians, cyclists, and other active transportation users (e.g., people travelling with e-scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, etc.) who have been involved in a road accident. 

The project has four participating hospitals, and I am the lead research assistant at St. Paul’s Hospital. I work at both St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital, interviewing patients who visit the Emergency Department (ED) about their accidents. Besides patient recruitment, I ensure the operations and logistics of the site are running smoothly under the supervision of my direct and mentor, Lina Jae. I also train student research assistants on site-specific knowledge in the context of data collection and patient interaction, particularly with vulnerable communities who visit St. Paul’s Hospital. 

What is your favourite thing about working in the department?

It’s been an extraordinary experience working in the Department. My favourite part is the opportunity to interview patients about their accidents. It’s humbling learning about everyone’s stories. From time to time, patients would thank us for being interested in their stories, distracting them from the pain, and keeping them company in the ED. Although we do not provide patient care, I am honoured that our work with emergency research may, in some way, support the patient experience in the ED. 

I also feel lucky to be working alongside emergency physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and community workers that allow me to better appreciate the inner workings of multidisciplinary health care. 

What is one interesting fact about you that people may not know?

Before joining the Department, I worked in the legal industry in personal injury to help people involved in road accidents get compensated for their physical and emotional injuries and wage loss. It is fascinating to approach road injuries today through the lens of emergency medicine and I feel lucky to be part of research that has implications on a much larger scale for public health and safety. 

What kinds of hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

Outside of work, you will find me doing Thai boxing (Muay Thai). It is a form of martial art that involves punches, elbows, knees, and kicks. Being hit in the face is not my favourite but I do enjoy the sport’s focus on training our physical endurance, mental agility, and discipline. 

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