Working with and for children, families and communities, our researchers are studying how best to help them achieve optimal health and well-being.
Artwork by Tommy Akinnawonu. MHR4K research partner Tommy drew this, reflecting The Summit Centre and the MHR4K advisory council, including research partner Freeha, and program manager Whitney Hindmarch.
Passionate voices and lived experience shape mental health research and care
Integrated into The Summit is the innovative Mental Health Research 4 Kids (MHR4K) program, which places researchers in the clinic setting alongside families and their care providers. Youth and young adults with lived experience in the mental health system play a vital role in shaping research goals at the new mental health centre.
“We are taking a different approach to research with this partnership and creating new pathways for young people to receive support and care,”
says Freeha, a second-year neurosciences student at UCalgary.
Holly, centre, is one of the babies in the study, seen here with her mom, at left, and researcher Jumana Samara.
University of Calgary researchers have shown probiotic supplements can help form a healthy microbiome in the gut of the tiniest infants who are born without a fully formed gut microbiome. The study found that a specific mix (five species) of probiotic supplement accelerated the maturation of the microbiome into a term-like state and reduced intestinal inflammation in extremely preterm infants.
“The findings show that a daily probiotic supplement containing the right type of microbes prompted a rapid transition of the gut microbiome to what is normally observed in healthy, breastfed infants born at term. This mature microbiome is more stable, more resilient and was linked to reduced inflammation in the babies’ gut.”
Dr. Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD
Surviving and Thriving
Dr. Fiona Schulte, PhD co-chaired a multidisciplinary international task force to develop a global recommendation for the surveillance of education and employment to support young cancer survivors so that they don’t fall behind their peers. The guidelines, published in Cancer, recommend all survivors receive regular screening for educational and employment outcomes, just like the regular physical screening they receive as cancer survivors.
Local excellence leads to national guidelines for paediatric pain management
To ensure that all children and families have safe, equitable and reliable access to treatments for pain, Solutions for Kids in Pain, in partnership with the Health Standards Organization of Canada, leading experts, and people with lived experience co-designed the first national standard for managing pain in Canada. Dr. Katie Birnie, PhD chaired the Health Standards Working Group along with 14 experts in paediatric pain management. Voices from across the country included physicians, physical therapists, psychologists, child life specialists, health administrators, nurses, international experts, and youth and family partners with pain experiences.
Paediatric surgeon advances anti-racism in health care and medical education
Racism in health care, for example, disproportionately disadvantages patients who identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC). "The practice of identifying and eliminating racism and its harms is called anti-racism. This is an essential duty for all physicians," says Dr. Tito Daodu, MD.