Message from the Director

It is a pleasure to refresh my Offord Centre for Child Studies Director message to you.

It has been over three years since I took on the role as Director of the Offord Centre for Child Studies.

Since then, we have worked on communication and promoting the research achievements at the Offord Centre for Child Studies. The Offord Centre for Child Studies held a very successful research symposium, “Bridging Science to Practice in Children’s Mental Health”, in May 2018.   Further information on the event, including a video and booklet, is available here. A direct link to the booklet can be found here.

We are planning a series of semi-annual public lectures, the first of which will take place in February 2020.

We also hosted two Fraser Mustard Dan Offord Lectureship presentations, one by Dr. Charlotte Waddell in November 2017 and one by Dr. Kathleen Merikangas in April 2019.

The Offord Centre for Child Studies continues the longstanding strength in epidemiologic research.  The original 1983 Ontario Child Health Study (OCHS) was an early and landmark study which examined the prevalence of child emotional and behavioural problems in the province, as well as socioeconomic factors influencing child and family mental health and issues related to service use and access. The results of the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study, a sequel to the original 1983 OCHS, were released in 2018. This 2014 study investigated the mental health and functioning of over 13,000 randomly selected Ontario children and adolescents aged 4-17 years.  The School Mental Health Surveys (SMHS), a study of student mental health and the school environment, was conducted alongside the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study.

While research on epidemiologic and community-based studies continues, we are increasing partnerships with and initiating research projects within clinical programs, including the Child and Youth Mental Health and Autism Programs at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

Many Offord Centre for Child Studies members have been successful with receiving competitive grant funding to conduct research, and work to transfer the information learned in the scientific, public and political communities. We celebrate the many student successes and continue to consider rigorous training of learners to be a priority and an investment in the future.

The Offord Centre for Child Studies was awarded a Certificate of Special Recognition at the 2019 Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CACAP) Conference for outstanding contributions to the improvement of mental health of children, youth and families.

Through strategic planning over the past year we have new mission, vision and values statements. Our updated mission, vision and values can be viewed here. We continue to work on the strategic directions.

Today at the Offord Centre there are 21 faculty from psychiatry, pediatrics, nursing, clinical epidemiology and psychology, about 35 research staff and many learners from varying programs and at varying levels of study. We are a collegial, multidisciplinary group who work on questions related to the broad themes of: (i) child mental health and neurodevelopmental disorders, (ii) influences on child health and development, (iii) treatments, interventions, screening and services, and (iv) knowledge translation and community connections.

I continue to remember the work done by the former directors Drs. Michael Boyle, Peter Szatmari and Dan Offord with admiration, and to be inspired on a daily basis by the current Offord Centre for Child Studies researchers and staff.

Thank you for visiting our website. We welcome your ideas and comments about how to improve the lives of children, youth and families in Canada and more broadly.

Dr. Ellen Lipman
Director, Offord Centre for Child Studies

March 2020

Previous versions of “Message from the Director” can be viewed here.