Emily Porchak: MHIS student profile

By Nicole Versaevel, HIS Program Coordinator

Emily's hometown: Woodstock, Ontario


After completing her bachelor's degree in Biology and Chemistry (with a minor in Psychology) from the University of Toronto, Emily was unsure whether to pursue her interest in health care, or her interest in teaching. But when she discovered the Health Information Science (HIS) program at Western University, she became very intrigued. Initially attracted to the interdisciplinary nature of the program, she found that the HIS program provided the space to learn and grow, while being able to custom her learning. Now, Emily feels immersed and grounded in the foundations of Health Information Science.

Emily's experience living in a small town has shaped her passion for those struggling with addictions, mental health issues and homelessness. As the landscape of her hometown has changed and grown, so have difficulties with lack of services in her community, leaving those struggling with few options. Upon hearing about these difficulties, Emily was propelled into action. 

"There has to be more that we can do. I want to find a role to help prevent situations like this."
Emily is most motivated working in the area of Knowledge Brokering and Knowledge Translation. She currently holds a research assistant position working on Knowledge Translation best practices. For Emily’s Major Research Paper, she will be conducting a systematic review on determining long term transitional housing for those deemed hardest to house. This is a unique approach as typically only short-term options for housing are considered for these individuals. 

Emily is a leader and mentor by nature. She has served as a student ambassador giving presentations to students and is involved in the Graduate Health Information Science Student Association (GHISSA). Through GHISSA, she helps students with their transition to the HIS program and finds ways for current students to interact. Emily has enjoyed the learning opportunity of holding a Teaching Assistant position in the Foundations of Media, Information and Technology course, and is working towards completing a Western Certificate in University Teaching and Learning.

Fun Fact

Emily is always early for things and likes to be prepared! If eating at a restaurant with Emily? Rest assured that she will have read the menu in advance.

What does the future hold for Emily? According to her: everything!

"Really, all the options are open," she says.

In a best-case scenario, she would like to live near her hometown of Woodstock, Ontario, to be close to family and friends, and pursue a position with public health, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), or Family Health Teams. Wherever she goes, Emily knows she would like to work in reforming the health care system through Knowledge Translation, specifially in the realms of addictions and mental health by supporting and getting information to those who need it.

Emily's passion and motivation for her work comes from within herself, and believes that being aware of one's own capacity and how it changes is an important part of self-care and wellbeing. While continually trying to stay connected to the big picture, Emily looks to find her place in creating positive change.