Offord Centre for Child Studies Symposium Showcases Research Synergies, Mentorships


May 17, 2018

The Offord Centre for Child Studies Research Symposium: Bridging Science to Practice in Children’s Mental Health, held May 3, 2018, was a well-received event showcasing the breadth and depth of research done by the various collaborative teams and studies at the Centre. The event was held at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, which is the home of the Offord Centre for Child Studies.

Attendance at the day-long event included senior leadership at Hamilton Health Sciences, in particular the Children’s Hospital which has several collaborative projects with the Offord Centre, and McMaster University.

“I’m struck by the range and astonishing impact of the research work coming out of the Centre,” said McMaster University president, Dr. Patrick Deane, at the symposium. “When I’m out and about, the Offord Centre for Child Studies is well-known internationally.”

Research at the Offord Centre for Child Studies includes: child maltreatment and family violence prevention; early years development assessment; autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in children and youth including the Pathways in ASD study and MacART, school mental health surveys, immigrant and non-immigrant youth bullying, the Ontario Child Health Study, and Family Checkup Canada, which studies an early intervention program for parents with toddlers experiencing behavioural challenges.

Dr. William Gardner, Senior Research Scientist at the Children’ Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) Research Institute, addressed the participants at the symposium. “I am in awe of the Centre… you are better positioned to do this work for children’s mental health than any other place in the world.” He added, “We can build a population of flourishing children if we as a society focus on that task; EDI can support that.” Dr. Gardner, who also teaches at the University of Ottawa, said that he learned at the symposium just how much EDI data has been gathered on kindergarten students’ vulnerabilities in Canada and beyond.

Guest presenters included: Jen Vickers Manzin, Director, Chief Nursing Officer, Healthy Families, Hamilton Public Health Services; Irene Drmic, Clinical and Research Psychologist, ASD Service, Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre; and Alex Thomson, Executive Director, Lynwood Charlton Centre, lead agency for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services’ Moving on Mental Health plan.

Right: Ted Scott, Vice President, Research, and Chief Innovation Officer at Hamilton Health Sciences, chats with McMaster  University’s Master of Public Health student, Vanessa Linton, during the student poster session.

The symposium’s poster sessions were popular, manned by students at all levels – undergraduate, postgrad, doctoral candidates and postdoc fellows – who work with various research teams at the Offord Centre for Child Studies. It was a great opportunity to showcase all the mentorship and training that goes on at the Centre.

L to R: Peter Fitzgerald, president, McMaster Children’s Hospital; Ellen Lipman, director, Offord Centre for Child Studies; William Gardner, senior scientist at CHEO Research Institute; Lori Issenman, director, Child and Youth Mental Health, McMaster Children’s Hospital; Rob MacIsaac, president, Hamilton Health Sciences.

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