Clyde Hertzman, the director of the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) and a professor at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia, has been named Canada’s 2010 “Health Researcher of the Year” – the highest scientific honour from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This award recognizes Hertzman’s work on the effects of the environment on the development of young children.
Hertzman has gathered a wide range of scientific evidence to support the idea that what happens to children during their early years is important to lifelong health and well being. His research findings have helped shape national and international policy.
Hertzman helped write the Canadian Children’s Agenda, a federal/provincial agreement initiated in 1997, to start supporting early childhood development as part of a strategy to support children’s development more broadly. His research team at HELP, in UBC’s College for Interdisciplinary Studies, monitors the well being of B.C.’s children using the Early Development Instrument (EDI). In 2005, HELP was named the global knowledge hub for the World Health Organization Commission on the social determinants of health.
Hertzman will receive his award at the 2010 Canadian Health Research Awards hosted by CIHR and the Prix Galien Canada tonight in Ottawa.
“My research team and I work hard to promote a population health approach to early childhood development,” said Hertzman, who is also a Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Human Development. “I’m honoured that these efforts have been recognized by my peers.”
“We congratulate Dr. Hertzman for this well-deserved honour,” says John Hepburn, UBC Vice President Research and International. “His ambitious research program has had far-reaching impacts on public policy and has helped to improve the quality of life in British Columbia and beyond.”
The award includes a research grant of $500,000, paid over five years. Hertzman plans to use this grant to further HELP’s international work including promoting the use of the EDI in Latin America, China and Europe and to support the creation of a global monitoring protocol for early childhood rights for the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Hertzman is also creating a developmental monitoring program for Canada to allow researchers to link together data on the state of children’s development at key times throughout their childhood. The program will be used to determine whether or not children across the country are thriving.
The research of Hertzman and his team at HELP has been made possible through ten years of financial support from the province of British Columbia: the Ministries of Child and Family Development, Education and Healthy Living and Sport.
UBC researchers Michael Hayden, Robert Hancock and Brett Finlay have been past recipients of Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year award. For more information about CIHR, the award, and for a complete list of award recipients, please visit www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca.