RSC Expert Panel - Early Childhood Development

OTTAWA, Nov. 8, 2012 /CNW/ - It is now generally accepted that child, adolescent, and adult mental health, effective functioning, and well-being all result from a complex array of biological, social, and environmental factors. In order to advance public discussion on the issue of the role early adversity plays in these matters, the Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) gathered an Expert Panel on Early Childhood Development. The Panel was chaired by Prof. Michel Boivin, FRSC, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Child Development, at Université Laval, and Dr. Clyde Hertzman, FRSC, Director of the Human Early Learning Partnership and Professor in the School of Population and Public Health at The University of British Columbia. The Panel was given a mandate to consider a large body of scientific evidence that, if summarized for the public, would be helpful to their consideration of the issues surrounding early childhood development. While the RSC itself does not have an opinion on these matters, the Panel was struck as a service to Canadians, who would benefit from having a careful, balanced review of the publicly available evidence in this matter of critical importance to Canada.

On November 15, 2012 the Panel will release its report at a press conference in Ottawa. The report will be freely available for download from the Royal Society of Canada at that time.

The day following the release, the RSC will be hosting a Symposium at the Ottawa Convention Centre featuring many of the same panellists, discussing the issues present in the report. The Symposium is open to the public. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit our website.

The main questions that are elaborated upon in the report include:

  1. Are there identifiable adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, neglect, chronic poverty, family dysfunction, chronic illness, family addiction and/or mental illness that lead to poor mental health and unhealthy behaviours, such as addiction, in the adolescent and young adult? Is there evidence that they have their effects through changes to brain structure and function? Do these factors operate together to produce their changes? Are there factors that mitigate the influence of adverse early experiences?
  2. What is the evidence for the effectiveness of a variety of interventions to mitigate the adverse effects of environmental influences [including social, political and chemical/biological] on the developing child?  To what extent are such interventions being implemented in Canada?
Press Conference Details 
     Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 9:00 am EST
•     Ottawa Convention Centre, Room 209, Ottawa, 55 Colonel By Drive
•     Hard copies of the Executive Summary will be available onsite as of 8:30 am EST

SOURCE: Royal Society of Canada, The

For further information:

Russel MacDonald, Administrative Assistant, The Royal Society of Canada, (613) 991-6990 Ext. 111,

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