All children experience pain. Canada is a world leader in children's pain research, and effective treatments do exist, but this research evidence is not consistently mobilized into practice due to barriers and disjointed efforts. Canadian children subsequently suffer undertreated and preventable pain, leading to negative immediate and long-term health outcomes for children and families as well as detrimental impacts on the healthcare system.
On April 17th, the federal government announced a $1.6 million grant, over four years for Solutions for Kids in Pain, or SKIP. This new knowledge mobilization network is designed to improve children's pain management in Canada and around the world. Dr. Christine Chambers, Dalhousie Professor, researcher and Canada Research Chair in Children's Pain, the Scientific Director of SKIP. SKIP will have four main hubs: the IWK Health Centre (Halifax), SickKids (Toronto), Stollery (Edmonton), and Children's Health Care Canada (Ottawa).
The official SKIP launch will be held on Thursday, April 18th from 6-8pm at Volta in Halifax, with a special visit from Canadian icon, Ms. Erica Ehm.
Dr. Chambers and Erica Ehm—a former Much Music-host-turned-parenting-blogger—are helping millions of parents around the world learn how to help relieve their children’s pain with the #ItDoesntHaveToHurt initiative. The inspiration for this innovative partnership was a short YouTube video Dr. Chambers created to share research into how parents can help alleviate childhood needle pains. Dr. Chambers produced this video in 2013 with a $10,000 knowledge-sharing grant from the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation and launched it on social media with the hashtag, #ItDoesntHaveToHurt.
“I learned quickly that if you can tag and engage influencers and they share your content, you can reach more people and make an impact,” says Dr. Chambers, who took to Twitter to push her research findings out into the world.
Dr. Chambers had gained the skills and the courage to step into the social media spotlight thanks to a May Day Fund fellowship in media, policy, and advocacy she completed in 2013 in Washington, D.C. “This experience, and the coaching I received, taught me how to both communicate and engage,” she says. “It gave me the confidence to try new ways of getting information to parents about how they can help manage their child’s pain.”
“Children experience pain that is preventable and undertreated,” said Dr. Christine Chambers, children’s pain researcher and SKIP’s Scientific Director. “This grant will be a game-changer for children in pain and their families as it will ensure that our research findings get out of the medical journals and into the hands of people who can use them.”
LinkedIn: Solutions for Kids in Pain