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Meet Victoria Watson, Intellectual Property Commercialization Intern

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Picture of Victoria with buildings in the background

Victoria is originally from Ottawa, ON, but has spent the majority of the past decade living between Montreal, New York, Toronto and DC taking on various roles at the intersection of healthcare and policy. Before earning her master’s degree, she also used to play the drums in bands.

Tell us a bit about yourself:
I am now currently in my third-year of law school where I am completing specializations in health and business law. Since coming to Dalhousie, I have fallen in love with Halifax. I am an avid community member and, in my spare-time, can often be found at the rock-climbing gym or local music venues.

What motivates you?
Growing up, I battled cancer, which made me acutely aware of health system gaps across Canada. With a motivation to ensure all patients can access quality care, I entered law school with the goal to learn how the interplay of law and evidence-based innovation can strengthen provincial healthcare.

At the end of the day - healthcare is about people. I want to help build a system where health services, from primary care pathways to prevention, are meaningfully responsive to all peoples’ needs.

My hope is that someday, as a lawyer I can support hospitals and health care agencies use data science, policy evaluation, and the law to advance a high standard of quality, person-centered health care at a provincial level.

What attracted you to the role with Nova Scotia Health for your Intellectual Property Commercialization Internship?
In joining the Nova Scotia Health Innovation Hub, I am excited to build upon my passion for evidence-based health initiatives, population health, and the interplay of law and policy to help the business development team bring medical innovations to market in ways that improve how the healthcare system works across the province.

In my role with the team, I will be working with my colleague Adele Ambrose, another Schulich student, in evaluating disclosures, preparing market scans for innovators, reviewing regulatory and privacy law issues for compliance, and learning more about public-private contracting.

Thus far, I love the business development team’s inclusiveness and agility - their “building the plane as you fly it” approach is something that I very much admire, as it enables the unit to be responsive, iterative, and be welcome to new ideas.

What did you do before going into law school?
Before law school, I earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Public Policy, and thereafter, a Masters’ of Science in Global Health.

I was always fascinated about using the interplay of law, data, and policy as a site for public health innovation. This began while working at the Clinton Foundation where I worked in program evaluation and partnerships for growing organizational global health commitments. Thereafter, I worked for Ontario Health in cancer care policy design, organizing clinical evaluations of new policy interventions to help bring new cancer screening devices to the provincial market.

My interest in expanding access to care for patients brought me to a fellowship as a Policy Research Analyst for the Centre for Health and Gender Equity in Washington DC., and thereafter, serving as a program officer for a non-profit subsidiary for the Gates Institute. In these roles I led strategic planning efforts and used data to evaluate the impact of laws on population health for congressional advocacy. A big highlight was being able to oversee a Gates Foundation research grant where I organized an 18-country study to gather qualitative information from healthcare partners and constituents to understand the current state of reproductive health advancements. At the end of the day, I love learning, talking to people, and constantly amending systems for the better, and this was a great experience that showed how to take this on.

What do you think the future of innovation at Nova Scotia Health looks like?
I think it is a strengthened system that brings together innovators, policy and healthcare practitioners, and clinicians to develop responsive solutions that improve patient care. I believe that with its current focus on using market-based solutions to drive healthcare change, Nova Scotia Health will become a model for other health care agencies seeking to make quality improvements in their health services.