U of S Participates in $19.5-M National Study into Childhood Brain Disorders
|Nazeem Muhajarine (SHRF Photo)|
A University of Saskatchewan researcher will play a key role in a new $19.5-million nation-wide study of children’s brain development, leading efforts to raise public awareness of childhood brain disorders and helping to put the latest research knowledge into practice.
The NeuroDeveNet project, funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) and based at the University of British Columbia, will focus initially on autism spectrum disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and cerebral palsy. More than 70 researchers from a wide range of disciplines will explore how the brain develops, how to detect abnormalities, and how to repair the damaged brain.
With $1 million from the NCE over five years, U of S early childhood expert Nazeem Muhajarine will lead a team that will share with Canada’s health care professionals, researchers, affected families, and the general public the best research and evidence on ways to identify, treat, and prevent brain disorders in children.
“We are excited to work with researchers from across Canada so new knowledge they create in this network can be shared widely to improve the health and development of children affected by brain disorders,” said Muhajarine, head of community health and epidemiology at the U of S college of medicine.
“This will lead to healthier children, families, and communities, and reduce long-term costs to the health-care system through earlier diagnosis and treatment.”
Muhajarine will hire a team of researchers and professionals skilled in knowledge transfer and exchange, train five U of S graduate students, and develop new tools for sharing the latest research findings and best practices for effective treatment of children with developmental brain disorders. Students will participate in federal knowledge transfer training events and workshops with media partners including the science journal Nature and the Discovery Channel.
In addition to the federal funding, the U of S office of the vice-president research and the college of medicine will contribute a total of $145,000 to the project.
Muhajarine, who also leads the healthy children research theme for the Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit, is an acknowledged knowledge transfer expert in early childhood health and development.
“His leadership has made a significant impact in the province, fostering improvements in policy and practice for young children, their families and communities,” said Karen Chad, U of S acting vice-president of research.
Last week, Muhajarine was recognized with the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation’s 2009 Achievement Award for his leadership in turning research results into policies and programs that help Saskatchewan’s children.
In 2006, he won the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) regional knowledge translation award recognising his work with other academics, policy makers and practitioners from the community and government.
His team has recently launched a provincial network kidSKAN—the Saskatchewan Knowledge to Action Network for early childhood development—which has been awarded $200,000 from the CIHR. Information about the online community is available at: www.kidskan.ca
More information about the impact of Muhajarine’s work on the Saskatchewan community is available at: http://www.usask.ca/research/communications/explore/vol1no1/early_childhood_study.php
For more information, arrange an interview or obtain a photo of Prof. Muhajarine, contact:
U of S Community Health and Epidemiology
(306) 966-7940 (office) or 966-7945 (secretary) or 227-2982 (cell)
Fleur Macqueen Smith, research officer
Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit
(306) 966-2957 (office) or 261-6279 (cell)
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