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Kids' pain researcher launches social media campaign to connect with parents

Posted by Dalhousie Medical School on September 22, 2015 in Health, News, Research
Monica Brown (former pediatric pain patient) and Dr. Christine Chambers.
Monica Brown (former pediatric pain patient) and Dr. Christine Chambers.

In an effort to get up-to-date research findings about children’s pain directly into the hands of parents, Dr. Christine Chambers and her team at the Halifax-based Centre for Pediatric Pain Research, have partnered with (YMC) on a year-long social media campaign called It Doesn’t Have to Hurt. The work is funded by a grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

“Poorly managed pain in children is a serious and on-going health problem; it results in unnecessary suffering and long-term negative effects,” says Dr. Chambers, a clinical psychologist at the IWK Health Centre and a professor in Dalhousie University’s departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience.

“We know that it generally takes 17 years for research findings to change patient care. Through the It Doesn’t Have to Hurt initiative, we want to make a more immediate difference in the area of pediatric pain management – for the sake of parents and their kids.”

"It makes so much sense," says Erica Ehm, creator and owner of YMC, the largest independently owned online magazine in Canada. "Our writers are great storytellers, and they create easily digestible content. As parents, we don't always know how to take medical information or research results and apply it to our lives, but readers will see the practical application in a real-life environment with this content."

Over the next twelve months, the It Doesn’t Have to Hurt initiative will include YMC blogs on children’s pain, and parents will be engaged through Twitter chats, Facebook posts, and videos.  A wide range of pain-related topics will be covered on, and then shared through their social media channels.

“Through this partnership, we’ll be providing parents with cutting-edge information on managing newborn pain, how to deal with stomachaches and headaches, how to reduce vaccination pain, and so much more,” says Dr. Chambers. “YMC will make the information fun and engaging for parents, and push it out over their social media, which has an extended reach of over 5 million people per month.”

Not only will Dr. Chambers and Ms. Ehm be documenting the reach of all their content, they are surveying and interviewing parents about their awareness and use of evidence-based pain management strategies, both before and after the initiative, to study the impact of this work on children’s pain.

“We think this approach has incredible potential as a way to mobilize research evidence not only for pediatric pain, but in other areas of children’s and women’s health,” says Dr. Chambers.


Media contacts

Allison Gerrard
Dalhousie Medical School


Ben Maycock
IWK Health Centre



Dr. Christine Chambers (right) and Monica Brown, a former pediatric pain patient (left). September 2015

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