Current research projects

Examining the social determinants of children’s developmental health with a population-level, Pan-Canadian database

Funding: CIHR

Timeline: April 2013-March 2016

Summary: Developmental health outcomes are not equally distributed in our society. Rather, they follow clear socioeconomic gradients. The main objective of the research project is to establish and analyze the first Pan-Canadian population-level database on children’s developmental health and associated socioeconomic and demographic context factors. The database will provide research insights that are unique in their own right. At the same time, the database will serve as a platform for future research that aims to establish population-level developmental health trajectory databases.


Fit for school, fit for life – Child health and school readiness

Funding: CIHR

Timeline: April 2014-March 2019

Summary: There is new research showing that health and developmental patterns such as BMI, physical activity, and nutrition measured very early in life may be associated with school readiness. This study will collect children’s height and weight to calculate their BMI, physical activity, sedentary behaviours, nutrition, and laboratory tests for nutrition and cardiovascular risk during health visits from birth to 3 years of age in their primary care physician’s office setting through TARGet Kids!, an established child health research network in Toronto. Children’s kindergarten teachers will then complete the EDI in JK and/or SK with the goal of determining if these health and developmental patterns early in life are associated with school readiness. Results from this study will support current health and developmental care in primary care for children, and find new areas to improve school readiness. This evidence will be used towards the promotion of school readiness in young children in Canada.

For more information on the Fit for school, fit for life study please click here.


Anesthesia exposure in early life and child development at school-entry: A population-based study

Funding: None

Timeline: October 2014-Ongoing

Summary: Anesthetics are known to have detrimental off-target effects that are especially pertinent to developing, non-mature cells and organs. There is increasing basic science and clinical evidence that children with developing neuronal structure and function are more susceptible to long-term effects in learning and behaviour. This study is looking at whether anesthesia exposure in children with immature structural and functional brain development has long-term adverse effects on child development at school-entry compared to children not exposed to anesthesia and whether this exposure has a dose-dependent association.


Canadian children with health disorders

Funding: CIHR

Timeline: September 2015-August 2018

Summary: The overall objectives of this study are to investigate social determinants of developmental outcomes for children with health disorders, and their variation among jurisdictions, as well as estimate prevalence of health disorders at an early age, using the EDI. There is evidence that childhood health disorders are associated with lower SES, however, it is not known whether the size of the SES effect is larger in children with health disorders than in typically developing children. Results of this study will have implications for both health service delivery and school-based intervention strategies and will contribute to a framework for public policy.