Two Dalhousie researchers inducted into prestigious Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

- September 13, 2021

Gail Tomblin Murphy, left, and Christine Chambers are being recognized for their significant contributions to health policy and the promotion of health science. (File photos)
Gail Tomblin Murphy, left, and Christine Chambers are being recognized for their significant contributions to health policy and the promotion of health science. (File photos)

Two leading researchers at Dalhousie have been inducted as Fellows into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS), one of the highest honours for members of the country’s health sciences community.

Dr. Christine Chambers and Dr. Gail Tomblin Murphy are being recognized for their significant contributions to health policy and the promotion of health science.

Dr. Chambers, a clinical psychologist, Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Children’s Pain and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Pediatrics, is the scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health and the knowledge mobilization network, Solutions for Kids in Pain. Her research, based in the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research at the IWK Health Centre, is aimed at improving the assessment and management of children’s pain.

Dr. Chambers has had a significant impact on children’s pain management globally. Her scientific contributions include documenting the prevalence of chronic pain in children, improving children’s pain measurement and detecting sex differences in pain. Her research affects practice and policy through its inclusion in clinical practice guidelines, including those for the World Health Organization. It has also been referenced extensively, with more than 15,000 citations and over 185 peer-reviewed papers.

“I’m truly honoured to be named as a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. The common denominator across my career – whether it be as a researcher in my lab or in my leadership roles with CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDYCH) and Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) – is a commitment to impact, ensuring that research improves the lives of Canadian children and their families,” says Dr. Chambers.

“Therefore, the CAHS commitment to informed and actionable solutions to improve the health of Canadians very much resonates with me. I look forward to engaging with other CAHS Fellows to help deliver on this vision and continue to make a positive impact in health sciences and create a healthier Canada together.”

Dr. Chambers’ reach extends far beyond her own clinical and research setting as she has trained many in the next generation of scientists. She is deeply committed to training, having formally mentored more than 130 research and clinical trainees, as well as many women in science. She is also the Assistant Director of the North American Pain School (NAPS) and co-leads a science communication training program through the Pain Research Forum. Her 2013 evidence-based needle-pain YouTube video for parents started her innovative and far-reaching efforts to mobilize scientific knowledge. Her award-winning #ItDoesntHaveToHurt initiative, a science-media partnership to mobilize evidence about children’s pain to parents, had more than 150 million content views, and was featured in national and international media.

Commitment to community health

Dr. Tomblin Murphy, Nova Scotia Health’s vice-president of Research, Innovation and Discovery and Chief Nurse Executive, is a renowned expert in population needs-based approaches to health systems and workforce planning, evaluation and research. In her 30 years at Dalhousie University, Dr. Tomblin Murphy has become known as a strong researcher, teacher, mentor and leader, having served also as the Director of the School of Nursing and Assistant Dean Research in the Faculty of Health.  

“It is truly an honour to be recognized as a Fellow,” said Dr. Tomblin Murphy. “My passion for improving the health of our communities, both locally and internationally, led me to nursing and my career has enabled me to provide leadership and expertise to bring new and innovative solutions to improve health and health-care delivery, and to better understand the conditions necessary for impactful change.”

Dr. Tomblin Murphy, who did her BN and MN degrees at Dalhousie University and received her PhD in nursing from the University of Toronto, has made significant contributions to nursing through her leadership in professional associations, research and teaching activities. Her impact resonates locally, nationally and on the global stage. She has been an expert advisor on health workforce to the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO ) since 2005 and leads Canadian and international research teams consisting of clinicians, health care leaders, senior policy makers, and researchers from government, universities and health-care organizations.

Dr. Tomblin Murphy is also the Director of the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre on Health Workforce Planning and Research, which hopes to build capacity in needs-based human resources planning, within Canada and internationally. As director, Dr. Tomblin Murphy oversees all related research projects, including needs-based health systems work being done in Brazil, Jamaica and Zambia with future projects planned in these and other Pan-American and African countries.

She is actively involved in a number of national and international networks, including the World Health Innovation Network, the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research, Primary Health Care to Communities, and the Canadian Health Human Resources Network.

“Congratulations to Dr. Chambers and Dr. Tomblin Murphy on this well-deserved recognition from the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences,” says Alice Aiken, vice president research and innovation at Dalhousie. “Both are internationally recognized leaders and innovators in health research mobilization, patient engagement and partnerships.”

The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences brings together Canada’s top-ranked health and biomedical scientists and scholars to make a positive impact on the urgent health concerns of Canadians. CAHS Fellows are chosen through a peer review process for their demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and commitment to advancing academic health sciences. They agree to serve the Academy and be active in promoting improved health, health care and health-related policies.

To learn more, visit the CAHS website.


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