Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University
Associate Member in the Dept. of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact at McMaster University

Dr. Laura Duncan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University and a Special Professional at McMaster Children’s Hospital. She holds a PhD in Health Research Methodology. Dr. Duncan is also an Early Career Researcher with a research program in child/youth psychiatric epidemiology, measurement and assessment of child/youth mental health and the design and implementation of population health approaches to evaluate the child/youth mental health service response. By advancing methods and systems of measurement of child/youth mental health, Dr. Duncan’s work aims to systematize and scientifically validate planning, targeting and resource allocation procedures for child/youth mental health services. 

Dr. Duncan holds an Early Career Award from Hamilton Health Sciences Research and received a New Investigator Research Grant from the SickKids Foundation and CIHR-Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) to co-develop, implement and evaluate an intake assessment tool (the Mental Health Questionnaire for Children and Youth: MHQ-CY) that can form the basis of a community-wide prototype Child and Youth Mental Health Information System. She is also a Co-Principal Investigator on a project to develop a deep-learning healthcare system in child and youth mental health. She also guides research, evaluation and information system development at McMaster Children’s Hospital Child and Youth Mental Health Program and works in close partnership with Hamilton community mental health agencies. 

Current Activities

Some Active Research Projects:

Measurement Tools for Child/Youth Mental Health: Development and evaluation of measurement tools for the assessment and monitoring of child/youth mental health as part of mental health including: 1) parent/caregiver, youth, teacher and brief versions of the Ontario Child Health Study Emotional Behavioural Scales (OCHS-EBS); and 2) an intake assessment tool containing the OCHS-EBS called the Mental Health Questionnaire for Children and Youth (MHQ-CY). 

Investigation Mental Health Information System Design (inMIND): Co-development and evaluation of a prototype child/youth mental health Information System designed to improve the quality and use of data in the child/youth mental health sector using an effective and affordable system. This project is in collaboration with Hamilton community service provider partners to: (1) co-develop usability of the information system with youth, family, and services providers, (2) evaluate usability enhancements, (3) integrate service-level and population-level data.  

Building a Deep-Learning Healthcare System in Child and Youth Mental Health: This project leverages machine learning approaches used with large, linked clinical data to identify factors that might predict the frequency and intensity of future hospital service use. Results of this project could guide and inform individual treatment decisions among those at higher risk for more frequent/intense use of hospital services in the future. 


Five Most Impactful Publications:

Duncan, L., Comeau, J., Wang, L., Vitoroulis, I., Boyle, M., & Bennett, K. 2018. Test-retest reliability of child & adolescent psychiatric disorder classifications assessed using standardized diagnostic interviews: a systematic review & meta-analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 60(1) 16-29

Duncan, L., Georgiades, K., Wang, L., Comeau, J., Ferro, M.A., Van Lieshout, R.J., Szatmari, P., Bennett, K., MacMillan, H.L., Lipman, E.L., Janus, M., Kata, A. & Boyle, M. 2019. The 2014 Ontario Child Health Study Emotional Behavioural Scales (OCHS-EBS) Part I: A checklist for dimensional measurement of selected DSM-5 Disorders. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 64(6) 423-433

Duncan, L., Georgiades, K., Birch, S., Comeau, J., Wang, L., Boyle, M.H., & 2014 Ontario Child Health Study Team. 2019. Children’s Mental Health Need and Expenditures in Ontario: Findings from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 64(4) 275-284

Duncan, L., Georgiades, K., Reid, G.J., Comeau, J., Birch, S., Wang, L., & Boyle, M.H. 2020. Area-level variation in children’s unmet need for community-based mental health services: Findings from the 2014 Ontario Child Health Study. Journal of Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 47 665-679

Duncan, L., Georgiades, K., Wang, L., Edwards, J., Comeau, J. 2022. Estimating prevalence of child and youth mental disorder and mental health-related service contacts: a comparison of survey data and linked administrative health data. Epidemiology and Psychiatric Sciences. 31(e35)

To read more from Dr. Laura Duncan:

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Research Interests

child/youth mental health epidemiology, measurement, health systems/services research, mental health

Education, Memberships, Certifications

BA (Hons) (Oxon), University of Oxford, MA, McMaster University, PhD, McMaster University 

Additional Information


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