A Dalhousie researcher and recognized leader in managing children’s pain has landed a prestigious new role with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
Dr. Christine Chambers, Canada Research Chair in Children’s Pain and a Killam Professor in Dal’s Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience, has been appointed as the scientific director for the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH). This will be the second CIHR Institute hosted at Dalhousie. The University of Calgary is the only other university in the country to host two Institutes.
“Dr. Chambers’ appointment to the prestigious role of Scientific Director is a testament to her significant accomplishments in her field,” says Alice Aiken, Dalhousie’s vice-president of research and innovation. “Her world-renowned research program has played a key role in the improved management of pain in children, and we are thrilled to have a researcher of her calibre at Dalhousie University.”
Supporting childhood growth and development
As one of the 13 CIHR Institutes, IHDCYH supports research that ensures the best start in life for all Canadians and the achievement of their potential for optimal growth and development.
Among its many priorities, the Institute spearheads the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative, which aims to prevent non-communicable diseases by focusing on health during conception, fetal life, infancy, and early childhood; the Preterm Birth Initiative, which focuses on achieving improved outcomes for premature babies; and IHDCYH Talks, an annual video competition that encourages knowledge translation.
As scientific director, Dr. Chambers will work with her community to identify research priorities, develop funding opportunities, build partnerships, and translate research evidence in policy and practice to improve the health of Canadians and people around the world. And, as a member of CIHR’s leadership team, she will participate in implementing CIHR’s strategic direction.
“I’m a passionate believer in the power of health research to improve the lives of children and their families,” says Dr. Chambers. “I look forward to engaging with stakeholders — researchers across all career stages and from different disciplines, trainees, health professionals, administrators, policy makers, partners and, importantly, children, youth, and families themselves — to build on IHDCYH’s strong foundation.
“Together we will tackle current health issues, address inequities, encourage a life cycle perspective, and create partnerships to promote research excellence and impact.”
Making a difference
As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Chambers’ research program examines the role of developmental, psychological, and social factors in children’s health, with a focus on children’s pain. She is the scientific director of Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a not-for-profit organization funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence which has a mission to improve children’s pain management by mobilizing evidence-based solutions. Dr. Chambers also spearheads the #ItDoesntHaveToHurt initiative for parents which generated 150 million content views worldwide in just one year, trended nationally on social media several times, and won multiple national and international awards.
“This is a terrific honour and achievement for Dr. Chambers,” says Teri Balser, interim president of Dalhousie. “Her clear commitment to research on children’s health, combined with her outstanding experience as a leader, scientist and educator make her an excellent choice for Scientific Director. On behalf of Dalhousie University, I’m excited to congratulate her on this new position, where I know she will continue to make an incredible impact.”
Over the course of her career, Dr. Chambers has written over 150 peer-reviewed papers and 20 book chapters, and edited one book. She gives presentations for scientists, health professionals, parents, and patients around the world. Her research has been featured in The Globe and Mail, The New York Times, and on CBC.
Dr. Chambers’ new role becomes effective on January 1, 2020.
For more information on the Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, visit the CIHR website.
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