Research

Charlotte Waddell

Charlotte Waddell

SFU’s newest health policy centre

June 28, 2007

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One in seven Canadian children do not thrive and enjoy childhood because they suffer from serious mental health problems.     

Equally disturbing, most do not receive effective early intervention programs. Are too many children with mental health issues receiving medications instead of appropriate intervention programs?

Are too few children receiving prevention programs that could tackle the causes of problems before they start? What would help public policy-makers to address these problems?

A new SFU research centre—The Children’s Health Policy Centre—aims to find the answers as it focuses on public policy and children’s social and emotional development, or mental health.

"A huge number of Canadian children—about 14 percent—are experiencing mental disorders," says Charlotte Waddell, head of the centre and SFU’s new Canada Research Chair in children’s health policy. "We’re not reaching most of these children now," she adds. "We want to address health disparities, starting with children’s mental health. We believe that one of the best ways to do that is to build better connections between research and policy."

The interdisciplinary research centre is the first to be housed in the Faculty of Health Sciences. Waddell, together with a team of eight researchers, moved to SFU’s new health sciences faculty in 2006. "SFU’s explicit encouragement of interdisciplinary research is crucial if we are to tackle complex problems, particularly in health," explains Waddell, who is working with SFU faculty and students, as well as researchers at universities across Canada.

Another bonus is the faculty’s broad emphasis on public and population health. For Waddell, who is interested in changing both minds and policy, that was a great boon.

The centre’s work will focus on researching and promoting public policies and programs that can positively affect children. Info: www.childhealthpolicy.sfu.ca

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