8 Winter / Hiver 2017 Samira Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi Université Laval, Eng., Ph.D. WIE Chair (and founder), IEEE Québec Section samira.abbasgholizadeh-rahimi.1@ulaval.ca A fter finishing my bachelors in Industrial and System Engin- eering, in 2012 I came to Canada from Iran and start- ed my doctoral studies in Industrial Engineering at Université Laval’s Mechanical Engineering Depart- ment. My doctoral thesis project was on healthcare service delivery. As a young engineer, I was looking to extend my network, strengthen my technical skills and form my profes- sional career. Through one of my friends, I became familiar with IEEE, and soon started my activities as a graduate student member. Becoming more familiar with the wide range of IEEE activities, I became interested in greater involvement. I have long been drawn to women’s issues, which led me to learn about IEEE WIE activities. Through- out my life, I have looked for any opportun- ities to inspire girls to follow their dreams and to believe in their abilities. As women were in the minority in my engineering pro- gram and even in my faculty, I became inter- ested in how gender affects interest and edu- cation in the STEM -related fields, and how we could engage more female students in these fields. IEEE WIE has beautifully guided me along a path to achieve these goals. Following my interests, in 2014 I founded IEEE WIE Québec affinity group to support other women in these fields, and as Chair launched a variety of initiatives. Through my activities as an IEEE and IEEE WIE member during subsequent years, I have been given the opportunity to meet inspiring leaders, successful engineers and scientists; to learn from them, and enrich my personal and professional skills as a young engineer. Having completed my doctoral program, I am now working in a research capacity that includes giving women more influence and power in determining their health decisions. I believe that women build the foundations that next generations depend on, and their empowerment directly benefits society. IEEE has given me the opportunity to serve my inter- estininspiringandempowering women in my community and consequently serve society. IEEE members will increasingly find themselves working in multi-disci- plinary teams. These teams will not only include members from other engineering disciplines, but will also include those with totally unrelated backgrounds, e.g., law, medicine and the social sciences. The IEEE Canadian Review recently interviewed Dr. Rahimi about her research work in shared decision making in the Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval. She and her colleagues in the Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medi- cine seek how to best enable patients and clinicians to collaborate to make health- care decisions based on best evidence and what matters most to patients, which will ultimately have profound impacts on health outcomes. Dr. Rahimi is part of a team working on a large-scale implementation project on prenatal screening for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome. Her specific research has to do with shared decision making in whether or not to have a test performed and if so, which test. ICR: How are shared understandings of problems arrived at? SR: If you mean shared understanding between my point of view as an engineer and a clinician’s point of view, I could say it was quite challenging to me at the beginning to adapt myself to very differ- ent fields’ cultures to help reach a shared understanding. But with the passage of time, and by picking up some key points, it became much easier. In bridging dif- ferences, I can say empathy, flexibility, transparent communication, and having a sense of belonging are the most import- ant. It requires empathy to understand what other team members’ points of view are, e.g., those of clinicians. My philoso- phy is to place myself into their position and appreciate their views and potential concerns. Flexibility is needed to not only bring to the problem or solution your own expertise, but to adapt to working with the other team members. Transpar- ent and good communication is essential as well—achieving that requires good listening skills. Lastly, it is important to have the sense of belonging to the team that you are working with… you shouldn’t see yourself as a separate part even though How and Why I Volunteered for IEEE Working successfully in multi-disciplinary teams – an Industrial Engineer’s perspective ...Continued on page 23