In October, the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) held a Fall Research Exposition: “10 Years of Insight – Connecting the Dots.” This year’s event connected neuroscience to child development in B.C., and family policy. This call to society perspective has significantly contributed to our understanding of the importance of the early years.
The recorded presentations are now available to view on HELP’s website at: http://earlylearning.ubc.ca/blog/2011/nov/09/2011-fall-research-exposition-event-summary/.
Dr. Clyde Hertzman
“HELP’s ‘Cell to Society’ Approach to Early Child Development”
Dr. Hertzman presents an approach to understanding the determinants and outcomes of early child development (ECD) – from the role of ‘developmental plasticity’ at the level of the child’s genome, to the intimate environments of the family, to policy and enabling factors at the national and international level. His presentation lays out the current state of ECD in B.C. in the context of these multiple determinants and provides an overview of the range of HELP research projects each of which are designed to understand more fully and/or improve ECD in B.C. Canada, and globally.
Dr. W. Thomas Boyce
“What the Genes Remember: The New Epigenetics of Early Life”
Emerging evidence indicates that many, if not most forms of human morbidity, arise from interactions between genetic susceptibilities and environmental exposures. One form of such gene-by-environment interplay is the new science of epigenetics: how experiences and exposures alter the structure and expression of genes, without changing the inherited DNA sequence. A variety of studies from the Human Early Learning Partnership are now suggesting that early experiences of adversity can change the ‘packaging’ of a child’s genes, perhaps setting early developmental trajectories toward lifelong health.
Dr. Paul Kershaw
“Does Canada Work for All Generations?”
Dr. Kershaw answers “No.” Canada is not currently working for all generations. There is a silent generational crisis occurring in homes across the country, one we neglect because Canadians are stuck in stale debates. Kershaw invites the audience to refocus public dialogue on one of the most pressing social and economic issues of our time: Canada has become a far more difficult place to raise a family.
International Dialogue: How to Put Research into Action in Communities
Three diverse and unique international presenters speak to their experiences of putting research into action in their communities. Dr. Joan Lombardi, former Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development, U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, discusses how they have used data to inform a comprehensive policy initiative developing place based strategies to support children and families in the United States. Anne Hanning, Indigenous Researcher and National Coordinator, Australian Early Development Index, and Bonnie Moss, Telethon Institute for Child Health & Menzies School of Health Research, talks about how she has worked with Indigenous communities in Australia to create cultural relevance for the Early Development Instrument data. Finally, Tracy Smyth, the Community Facilitator for the Alberni Valley Make Children First Network, discusses the importance of developing community partnerships as the foundation for using research effectively.
The Human Early Learning Partnership
University of British Columbia
Suite 440, 2206 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3, Canada