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Welcome to MCHRI

Welcome to the McMaster Child Health Research Institute (MCHRI). Our mandate is to foster collaborative research and educational efforts dedicated to understanding the developmental, mental, physical and psychosocial challenges faced by children and youth whose lives are complicated by long-term illness and disability. The MCHRI is also working to understand the impact on families raising children with complicated lives.

The MCHRI is comprised of internationally recognized child health research programs organized under a common umbrella. Our research partners have significant research expertise in child and youth mental health, childhood disability, childhood cancer, obesity, exercise and nutrition, bone and muscle disorders and child maltreatment. Working together, they share knowledge and address the common themes of children and families with complicated lives.

The MCHRI brings a fresh and innovative perspective to child and youth health, and expects to learn lessons that will benefit children and families everywhere by investir en residence etudiante.

Our Vision:

To enable children, whose lives are complicated by long-term illness and disability, and their families, to meet the challenges of growing up and to ensure they reach their full potential.

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News & Events

The MCHRI is proud to share its 2008-2009 Annual Report “Nurturing the Spirit of Inquiry”. Please click here for a pdf copy.

The 2008-2009 Annual Activity Report for the Scotiabank Chair in Child Health Research is now available. This endowed chair, held by the Director of the Institute was created from the generous donations of Scotiabank and its employees.
View a complete list of upcoming MCHRI meetings.

Show & Tell is the bimonthly newsletter of the McMaster Child Health Research Institute. You can view the current edition or archives of the newsletter, click here.

The MCHRI is pleased to announce Research Fellow Award funding for the 2010-2011 academic year. Application guidelines and forms can be found here. Applications are due January 15, 2010.

About the Institute

The MCHRI fosters collaborative research and educational efforts dedicated to understanding the developmental, mental, physical and psychosocial challenges faced by children and youth with complicated lives. The MCHRI also wishes to understand the impact of these forces on families raising such children.

The MCHRI brings together a group of internationally recognized child health research programs under a common umbrella, to share experiences and address the common themes of children and families with complicated lives. These groups bring significant research expertise in child and youth mental health, childhood disability, childhood cancer, obesity, exercise and nutrition, bone and muscle disorders, child maltreatment.

With our partners we want to look at the common threads that link these many children – and their families. What do these ‘children with complicated lives and their families' have in common? Among many issues, they all face growing up with problems of health or development that easily colour all their life experiences, because their conditions cannot be ‘fixed'. They may have limited opportunities to ‘participate' in life – to engage in the social and recreational activities that are so formative to all young people. They face an uncertain ‘transition to adulthood' when they leave the relative support of the child health community and move into the ‘adult' world that doesn't yet understand adults with ‘children's disorders'. Their families' lives are also ‘complicated' by the realities of their children's lives.

Together, the MCHRI and its partners ask new questions, explore new issues and shed new light on challenges that have, until now, either not been recognized at all, or have been neglected. The MCHRI brings a fresh and innovative perspective to child and youth health, and expects to learn lessons that will benefit children and families everywhere.

The MCHRI supports its members in their respective programs of research and provides access to the following:

Our Staff

Dr. Peter Rosenbaum
Director
Scotiabank Chair in Child Health Research

Peter is the inaugural chairholder of the Scotiabank Chair in Child Health Research and as the Director of the MCHRI, his principle role is to chart the future course of the institute. He is responsible for leading the strategic development and growth of the institute around the various research themes.

Peter holds a Canada Research Chair in Childhood Disability, is a Professor in Pediatrics at McMaster University and is a researcher at the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. His research interests include childhood disabilities and measurement and classification of function, quality of life of children with disabilities, family-centred service and family well-being and knowledge translation.

Research Support & Funding Information

Concept Proposals

The McMaster Child Health Research Institute is fully committed to supporting the research programs of all MCHRI members and partner groups. A Concept Proposal (CP) provides a vehicle for review and feedback from knowledgeable colleagues prior to the extensive time commitment required to produce a full research proposal. It provides the essential information needed for evaluation of priority, use of MCHRI resources, investigator effort involved, feasibility, and potential impact on children with complicated lives. The MCHRI is available for consultation and assistance with writing, reviewing, grant applications, ethics approval and linking investigators with community resources or other potential areas of collaboration.

Research Partners

The inaugural members of the MCHRI consist of research centres and/or programs that existed at McMaster University and McMaster Children's Hospital before the conception of the Institute or are new entities grown out of the collaborative work of MCHRI. These members conduct research in multiple areas of child health and development. They have come together as a federated group under the umbrella of the Institute, while continuing to maintain their original identity and research focus. Bringing these research centres/programs together will allow them to develop formal research partnerships with each other and with external partners, and leverage research knowledge and funding which would not be possible without the MCHRI.

The MCHRI members are:

Research Themes

The MCHRI brings together a group of internationally recognized child health research programs under a common umbrella, to share our experiences and to address these common themes of children and families with complicated lives. These groups bring significant research expertise in child and youth mental health, childhood disability, childhood cancer, obesity, exercise and nutrition, bone and muscle disorders, the economic costs of health care utilization and child maltreatment.

Together, we will approach child health research from new directions, seeking to understand and explore new issues and shed new light on challenges that have, until now, either not been recognized at all, or have been neglected. The MCHRI brings a fresh and innovative perspective to child and youth health, and expects to learn lessons that will ultimately benefit children and families everywhere and position the Institute as a world leader in child health research and treatment.

MCHRI will address conditions, themes and developmental stages simultaneously and in an integrated manner in its effort to discover new and innovative knowledge that is much less likely to be achieved by focusing only on specific conditions or themes.

The figure above demonstrates visually how various facets of MCHRI, including its goals, themes and research foci, are interconnected. Each condition can affect individuals at any stage of their lives across the many MCHRI themes. The figure illustrates diagrammatically how a number of aspects of the lives of children and families can be addressed thematically as elements of research programs, knowledge translation activities and therapeutic endeavours. Note as well that each theme is likely to be more or less applicable to every child with a ‘complicated life', and to their family.

Children with complicated lives and their families have many issues in common. The Institute will focus on cross-cutting research themes including:

Quality of Life

This dimension of child health is an area of increasing interest and at the same time confusion in the literature. McMaster child health researchers have made internationally recognized innovative contributions to the development and application of measures of quality of life in childhood cancer, childhood epilepsy, childhood disability and long-term neonatal follow-up. This emerging area of child health (and child health research) provides an excellent illustration of the way that the MCHRI can create a cross-cutting program of research that can become a resource for the nation.

Participation

The Institute will undertake to support researchers and their research programs through various funding mechanisms. Any individual supported by the Institute must be a member of the Institute and is expected to follow the guiding principles of the Institute. All research activities supported by the MCHRI, even with seed funding (when that becomes possible), will need to involve individuals from more than one of the MCHRI's federated members.

People's ‘participation' (engagement in life) is an aspect of the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Health and Disability (ICF) that needs to be developed and, again, is an area of special interest to child health practitioners and researchers at McMaster. This concept is of interest in childhood disability, diabetes, obesity, adolescent health and child and youth mental health.

Role of the Environment

A component of the ICF that is also attracting interest and attention, but about which there is as yet relatively little sound academic work, is identifying and measuring the role of ‘environment' in people's lives. For example, at McMaster there is expertise in ‘geomapping', in which health indicators can be plotted on maps to explore the distribution of these issues as a basis for further research and proposed interventions. Another component of ‘environment' is policy development at the political level, an area for which McMaster's child health expertise is frequently sought by provincial and national policy-makers.

Transition to Adulthood

Health and other professionals who work with youth with complicated lives share with parents a major concern about what happens to these children as they grow into adulthood. As the MCHRI develops there will be unique opportunities to cross-link health services researchers, parents, youth and practitioners to create and evaluate innovative transition programs, and then to ‘export' these widely across Canada and beyond.

Family Well-Being

Families’ lives are also ‘complicated’ by the realities of their children’s lives. We know, for example, that the physical and mental health of parents of these young people is significantly less good than that of comparable Canadian parents whose children are well. Chronic illness affects not only the child but also the family as a whole, often forcing many changes within the family. Researchers have illustrated how in these circumstances role relationship changes are often required, such as when one parent must stay at home to care for the child, forcing the family to survive on one income. Others have studied the family’s resilience and ability to mobilize resources to adapt and respond to the situation. It was found that families exhibiting warmth, cohesion, and stability appear to foster resilient children.

Focus Documents

Focus documents are published by the McMaster Child Health Research Institute to highlight current research being done by researchers within the MCHRI.

Contact Us

If you would like to learn more about the McMaster Child Health Research Institute, please contact us in one of the following ways:

By telephone: (905) 521-2100

By email: mchri@mcmaster.ca

By mail: McMaster Child Health Research Institute
Room 3N27
1200 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario
L8N 3Z5

By fax: (905) 521-1703
The McMaster Child Health Research Institute is located in the Health Sciences

Building on the McMaster University campus. Click here to download a map of McMaster University.