Local Impacts

Dr. Ellen Lipman

“I have had the opportunity to do research evaluating clinical and community-based interventions for children and families. While in 2023 many of the skills-based interventions that we use in clinical settings are evidence-based or -informed, this was not always the case and is often not the case in the community. For example, in clinic-based trial we found decreased aggression, anger and hostility for children in a temper management group. We then did a randomized controlled trial in the community. Provision in the community increased access to the program, and improvement on parent-rated child behaviour, relationship, and parenting stress favored intervention families, though no significant differences were found. While the evaluation of interventions under more ideal conditions is important (e.g., in clinic), evaluation in real-world circumstances (e.g., community) is also needed to ensure provision of programs that can make a difference in the lives of children and families.

“I have been fortunate to conduct community-engaged research with the Child and Youth Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital and other child and youth mental health service provider organizations in Hamilton and across Ontario. Together, we are co-designing, building and evaluating methods and systems that standardize the way information about child and youth mental health is collected in these settings. Hamilton service organizations share a vision of thinking as a system and working together to find solutions that have the best outcomes for the lives of children, youth and families in Hamilton. The goal is to improve the quality of data and increase the ability of services and decision-makers to respond to the needs of children, youth and their families.”

Dr. Laura Duncan

Provincial Impacts

Dr. Kathy Georgiades

“My research has had an important influence on the way we think about child and youth mental health and access to mental health care in Ontario. Our collective work, including the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study, has consistently demonstrated high prevalence of mental disorders among children and youth, and large and disproportionate treatment gaps affecting female adolescents, immigrant, refugees and children and youth from ethnic minoritized backgrounds. Provincial and national policy partners have used this evidence to inform the allocation of resources and mental health programming, translating into actionable policies and practices that directly benefit Ontario children, youth and their families.”

“Our team has heard from children, caregivers, and service providers that equipping health professionals – including social workers, physicians, psychologists, among others – with the skills to respond to mental health challenges and violence experienced by children and their family members effectively and compassionately, is a priority. For the RISE Project (https://riseproject.mcmaster.ca/home/), we worked with several professional associations to evaluate and disseminate evidence-informed educational resources and clinical guidance to assist helping professionals in their care of children and families affected by family violence. In addition, we received permission from the World Health Organization to adapt their LIVES psychological first aid (PFA) program to develop, implement, evaluate and spread the LIVES For Families PFA training (https://cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/52759.html), to equip Ontario health professionals to address their own, their families, and their clients distress related to large scale crises and disasters.  Our LIVES for Families PFA program has allowed us to respond in an applied (and necessary) manner during the COVID-19 pandemic, while also contributing to the research on disaster preparedness and response.”

Dr. Melissa Kimber

National Impacts

Dr. Andrea Gonzalez

“In 2018, I had the privilege of being appointed as a member of the Child Maltreatment Surveillance Working Group for the Public Health Agency of Canada. In this capacity, I have assisted in various exercises regarding priority setting and resource allocation and served as an expert on a sub-committee consulting on data measurement of family violence and parenting for national surveys. My work has been used to brief various levels of government all the way up to the Minister of Health. In 2021, a commentary that I wrote with colleagues was included in a briefing package for the Minister on Family Violence in Canada during the pandemic. More recently, a brief report and article on repealing Section 43 of the Criminal Code has been shared with the Directors of Child Welfare across Canada, as well as various government officials. My work with Dr. Harriet MacMillan and other colleagues in the field of family violence is geared towards elevating awareness of family violence and improving the quality, consistency and scope of child maltreatment data in Canada.”

“In 2008, the first pilot study of the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) home visitation program in a Canadian setting was conducted in partnership with Hamilton Public Health Services. Now, as of June 2023, it is exciting to see NFP being implemented in sites across Ontario and British Columbia and the recent program expansion to Nova Scotia. In Canada, the studies to adapt, pilot, and evaluate this nurse home visitation program have been led by or included researchers from the Offord Centre, including myself, Dr. Harriet MacMillan, Dr. Andrea Gonzalez, and Dr. Michael Boyle. Findings from the pilot study and the longitudinal process evaluation, documenting how the program was implemented in five health authorities in British Columbia, informed the development of the Canadian Nurse-Family Partnership program guidelines that public health nurses use daily to deliver the program to families. The curriculum that was developed, implemented, and piloted in four Ontario public health units as part of the Canadian Nurse-Family Partnership Education pilot project now serves as the foundational model of education that new nurses and supervisors complete across Canada.”

Dr. Susan Jack

International Impacts

Dr. Magdalena Janus

“In the 25 years since Dr. Offord and I started working on the Early Development Instrument, we saw a global growth of understanding that it was possible to measure and monitor early child development reliably and comparably across diverse groups and regions. Through partnerships with the World Bank and UNICEF, resulting in contribution to the development of the Early Childhood Development Index 2030 (ECDI2030), and WHO, through the Global Scales of Early Development (GSED) project, followed by research and implementation, the Offord Centre is on the forefront of innovative methodologies for early childhood monitoring that advance accountability for progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets  – in particular Goal 4, that includes an indicator of children’s early development.”

“Since the launch of the pan-Canadian Violence, Evidence, Guidance, Action (VEGA) Family Violence Education Resources three years ago, the free online resources have been used across many educational, research, and public health initiatives. For example, we collaborated with the Department of Justice Canada to adapt the VEGA resources for legal advisers in supporting the development of the online HELP Toolkit: Identifying and Responding to Family Violence for Family Law Legal Advisers, and worked closely with the World Health Organization to tailor VEGA’s resources in a new resource titled: Responding to Child Maltreatment: A Clinical Handbook for Health Professionals. We look forward to continuing to partner with a broad range of groups across professions to advance the uptake of the VEGA resources, including through the dissemination of accredited workshops.”

Dr. Harriet MacMillan
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