Nurturing the Next Generation (NTNG)

Brenda Smith-Chant

Brenda Smith-Chant, BA, MA, PhD Principal Investigator

Brenda Smith-Chant is the Chair of the Psychology Department at Trent University and Adjunct Professor with the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Institute at Yor k University.

Brenda completed her Masters and PhD at Carleton University and held a Restracom Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children on the Spina Bifida Project.

She has served as the co-ordinator of the Developmental Section of the Canadian Psychological Society and as a senior researcher for the Ministry of Children and Youth Services (province of Ontario), overseeing research and evaluation of early-years programs. Her research interests are in the area of children's cognitive development and how early development is influenced by parents, educators, and social policy.

She has been involved in multiple research projects including Ontario's Best Start, Cuba-Canada Pathways of Development, Count Me In! (and Count Me In, Two: Long-term predictors of math achievement in children), and the evaluation of the Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator initiative with the Ministry of Health Promotion. She is primary investigator on the Knowledge Synthesis Grant: Nurturing the Next Generation, in partnership with Peel Public Health.

More informationon Brenda

Stuart Shanker, PhD

Stuart Shanker, PhD

Stuart Shanker is Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at York University and Director of the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative at York University. He was educated at Oxford, where he obtained a First in PPE and won the Marian Buck Fellowship at Christ Church, where he obtained a First in a B Phil in Philosophy and a D Phil with Distinction in Philosophy. Among his awards are a Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship and Postdoctoral Fellowship; a Calgary Institute for the Humanities Fellowship; a University of Alberta Mactaggart Fellowship; an Iszaak Walton Killam Fellowship; and the Walter L Gordon Fellowship at York University. He has received many grants, most recently a $7 million grant from the Harris Steel Foundation to establish MEHRI, a state-of-the-art cognitive and social neuroscience centre.

Among his monographs are Apes, language and the human mind (with Sue Savage-Rumbaugh and Talbot Taylor, 1998); Wittgenstein's remarks on the foundations of AI (1998); Toward a Psychology of Global Interdependency (with Stanley Greenspan, 2002), The First Idea (with Stanley Greenspan, 2004), Early Years Study II (with J. Fraser Mustard and Margaret McCain, 2007) and El rizoma de la racionalidad (with Pedro Reygadas, 2008). He is the editor of several collections, among them The Routledge History of Philosophy (with G.H.R. Parkinson, 1994-2000); Language, Culture, Self (with David Bakhurst, 2001), Ludwig Wittgenstein: Critical Assessments (with David Kilfoyle, 2002), Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (a member of the PDM Steering Committee, 2006), and Human Development in the 21st Century (with Alan Fogel and Barbara King, 2008).

Dr. Shanker has just been appointed the Director of EPIC: an international initiative created to promote the educational potential in children by enhancing their self-regulation. He has served as the Director of the Council of Human Development for the past ten years; Director of the Canada-Cuba Research Alliance for the past six years; and he was the first President of the Council of Early Child Development in Canada. Over the past decade he has served as an advisor on early child development to government organizations across Canada and the US and countries around the world, among them Australia, Colombia, England, Ireland, Macedonia, Madagascar, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Peru, Romania and Serbia.

Dr. Nicole Letourneau, PhD

Nicole Letourneau, PhD, RN

Nicole Letourneau received her Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Alberta in 1998. She is tenured full Professor at the University of Calgary and holds the Norlien/ACHF Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health. Previously, she was the Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Healthy Child Development in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of New Brunswick. She is PI of the CHILD (Child Health Intervention and Longitudinal Development) Studies Program studying parenting, attachment and child development in the context of maternal depression, family violence, and substance abuse. Her most recent study examines the mediating influence of maternal attachment behaviours on the relationship between maternal mental distress during pregnancy and infant Hypothalmic Pituitary Adrenal axis responses. All of her research is community-based and seeks to develop evidence to guide best practice in parent-child support and intervention. She has received many honours for her scholarly work including being named Canada's Premier Young Researcher by CIHR in 2006, to Canada's Top 40 Under 40 in 2007, and to Who's Who in Canada from  2008-10. She has published (or in press) 70 peer-reviewed papers, 13 chapters and book contributions and presented her research over 150 times. As Principal or Co-Principal Investigator she has earned over 5 million dollars from national and regional funders. As Co-Investigator, she has earned nearly 10 million more research dollars for her projects.

Jim Dunn, PhD, MA, B.ArtsSc

Jim Dunn, PhD, MA, B.ArtsSc

Dr. Jim Dunn holds a Chair in Applied Public Health from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) for his program of research on Interventions in Residential Neighbourhoods and Population Health. He is also a Fellow in the Successful Societies Program of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR - www.cifar.ca). He is Deputy Editor of the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health and a member of the Editorial Advisory Board for Housing, Theory & Society, Social Science and Medicine and Health Reports. He has been a scientific advisor to a number of policy-related bodies, including the Privy Council Office of Canada, Health Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care, the National Housing Research Committee of Canada and the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe.

David L. Mowat, MBChB, MPH, FRCPC, FFPH

David L. Mowat, MBChB, MPH, FRCPC, FFPH

Dr. David Mowat is the Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel. In this role, he is responsible for protecting and promoting the health of more than one million people in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga.

During his career, Dr. Mowat has held positions at local, provincial and national levels. Prior to joining The Region of Peel in February of 2007, Dr. Mowat was Deputy Chief Public Health Officer at the Public Health Agency of Canada, where he had responsibilities for strengthening public health practice, including knowledge translation and the development of the public health workforce. In this role he has participated in many federal/provincial/territorial committees and national initiatives.

Previous appointments include Consultant in Maternal and Child Health in the Ministry of Health of Newfoundland, Medical Officer of Health for Kingston and area, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, and senior positions at Health Canada.

Dr. Mowat received his medical training at the University of Edinburgh, and a master's degree in public health from the University of California at Berkeley. He is also a fellow in community medicine of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a Fellow (by distinction) of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Colleges of Medicine (UK). He is an adjunct faculty member at McMaster, Queen's and the University of Toronto.

Anne Fenwick

Anne Fenwick, RN, BScN

Anne Fenwick is Director of Family Health for the Region of Peel's Public Health Department, responsible for a number of prevention, early intervention programs, designed to help children achieve their full potential.  She has extensive experience in public health, publicly championing to improve the health of children in Peel. She is currently leading Nurturing The Next Generation, one of Peel Public Health's key strategic priorities aimed at optimizing children's trajectories from preconception through the first year of life.

Anne is a strong proponent of investing in early child development as believes primary prevention, focused on the earliest years of life, is crucial for changing the health status of a community. She is co-founder of Success by 6 Peel, a strong collaborative of cross-sectoral partners in education, health, social services and government dedicated to ensuring all children in Peel thrive. She is actively involved in the community forging partnerships to provide innovative programming promoting publically championing.

Kathleen Dooling

Kathleen Dooling, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC

Kathleen Dooling , Associate Medical Officer of Health, Peel Public Health, Peel, Ont. Kathleen is a native of St. John's Newfoundland and moved to Toronto in 2004 for the community medicine residency program. Through her residency training she worked at the WHO in Geneva and with the CDC in Kenya. Dr. Dooling obtained her Masters in Public Health from John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Closer to home, Kathleen has worked in public health at the local, provincial and federal levels. In addition to her work as an AMOH at Peel Public Health, she practiced part-time as a family physician with Queen Square Doctors in Brampton. Currently, she is on an education leave at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

Cyndi Gilmer, MHSc(N), RN

Cyndi Gilmer, MHSc(N), RN

Cyndi is a tenure track faculty in the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing. She teaches nursing leadership, family nursing and supports community nursing courses for both academic and service learning courses. She is also involved in supporting the embedding of cultural safety and aboriginal health within the curriculum. Her research interests include participatory action research in community health, and leadership development in health care with a focus on the concept of moral distress in leadership roles. Her practice experience has included extensive experience in hospital administration, community women's health, maternity and paediatric nursing and public health nursing. She is involved in strategic planning with Community Health Centres and Family Health Teams and in volunteer board work with Five Counties Children's Centre.


Melanie Gillespie, MA

Melanie Gillespie is a Research and Policy Analyst in the Office of the Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health and is a member of the Nurturing the Next Generation research team. Melanie has 14 years of public health experience working on a range of topics in a variety of roles. Her background in health studies and community psychology has fuelled her interests in maternal and child health, immigrant health and health communications. Melanie is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Health at the University of Toronto with a concentration in Global Health.


Judy Buchan, RN, BScN

Judy Buchan, Project Manager for Nurturing the Next Generation program priority at Peel Public Health has worked in the public health arena for 16 years. Judy is a leader in her field with a solid foundation of knowledge related to public health and nursing practice. Her expertise in child and reproductive health is focused in the prenatal period, infancy and the transition to parenting. Judy has been a major contributor to the search for evidence related to the Nurturing the Next Generation Project.


Claudine Bennett, RN, BScN

Claudine Bennett has been an RN for 22 years in maternal child and public health nursing. She is currently a Research and Policy Analyst in the Family Health Division at Peel Public Health and is part of the Nurturing the Next Generation Research Team. Claudine is pursuing a Masters of Science in Nursing Degree at York University. Claudine is interested in health policy and recently completed four years on the Board of Directors at the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario.


Ellen Olsen-Lynch, B.Sc., M.L.I.S.

Ellen Olsen-Lynch, Ellen's career as a librarian started in a small community hospital which led to a position as a medical librarian at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital for 6 years. Since 2004 she has been at Trent University as a Learning & Liaison Librarian supporting faculty research and providing information literacy instruction to students, primarily for the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing, but for all other science faculties as well.


Evan Brockest, BA

Evan Brockest is currently working in partnership with Peel Public Health as the Research Coordinator on the Knowledge Synthesis Grant: Nurturing the Next Generation.

Evan graduated from Trent University in 2011 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Canadian Studies, with special emphasis on community-based research and urban social geography. Pursuing a richly interdisciplinary course of study throughout his undergraduate degree, Evan's research interests include the relationship between the built environment, social policy, and evolving trends in the shape and composition of contemporary urban and rural geographies.

Other Featured Experts


Jean Clinton, BMus, MD, FRCP(C)

Dr Jean Clinton is an Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience at McMaster, division of Child Psychiatry. She is on staff at McMaster Children's Hospital and an Associate in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster. In addition she is an Associate in the Department of Child Psychiatry, University of Toronto and Sick Children's Hospital. She is an Associate Member of the Offord Centre for Child Studies. She has been a consultant to child welfare and children's mental health programs for 25 years. Currently she is a consultant with the Telepsychiatry at Sick Children's hospital in Toronto.

Her community involvement is extensive. For 20 years she has been a consultant to early years and child care programs in Hamilton. She is a member of the National Advisory committee for the Welcome to Kindergarten Program with The Learning Partnership and has served as an expert advisor for "Invest In Kids Parenting Initiative". She was a founding Board member and Fellow of Fraser Mustard's Council for Early Child Development. Her skills as a knowledge translator are frequently called upon, and she gives many presentations to community groups annually, both nationally and internationally.

Currently, as a member of Hamilton's Best Start Network, she leads the Primary Care Engagement Strategy for the enhanced 18-month-well-baby-visit and is the Faculty lead for the provincial primary care education strategy through the Offord Centre.

She has authored papers on early child development and poverty, infant neglect, children's mental health, resilience, and on adolescent brain development.
She advocates for a system for children's well-being and promotes Asset Building believing All Kids Are Our Kids.


Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D

Bruce S. McEwen, Ph.D., is the Alfred E. Mirsky Professor and Head of the Harold and Margaret Milliken Hatch Laboratory of Neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University. He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. He served as Dean of Graduate Studies from 1991-3 and as President of the Society for Neuroscience in 1997-98. As a neuroscientist and neuroendocrinologist, McEwen studies environmentally-regulated, variable gene expression in brain mediated by circulating steroid hormones and endogenous neurotransmitters in relation to brain sexual differentiation and the actions of sex, stress and thyroid hormones on the adult brain. His laboratory discovered adrenal steroid receptors in the hippocampus in 1968. His laboratory combines molecular, anatomical, pharmacological, physiological and behavioral methodologies and relates their findings to human clinical information. His current research focuses on stress effects on amygdala and prefrontal cortex as well as hippocampus, and his laboratory also investigates sex hormone effects and sex differences in these brain regions. In addition, he served on the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Socioeconomic Status and Health, in which he helped to reformulate concepts and measurements related to stress and stress hormones in the context of human societies. This led to the concept of "allostatic load" that describes the wear and tear on the body and brain from chronic stress and related life style behaviors that lead to dysregulation of physiological stress pathways that are normally protective. He is also a member of the National Council on the Developing Child which focuses on healthy brain development as a key to physical and mental health. He is the co-author of book with science writer Elizabeth Lasley for a lay audience called "The End of Stress as We Know It"  published in 2002 by the Joseph Henry Press and the Dana Press and another book with science writer Harold M. Schmeck,Jr. called "The Hostage Brain" published in 1994 by The Rockefeller University Press.


François Lagarde, MA

François Lagarde is a leading Canadian social marketing consultant, adjunct professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal and associate editor of Social Marketing Quarterly. He has served as a senior consultant to the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation since 2005.


Marie Gendron, BA

Marie Gendron has over 20 years of marketing and communications experience in the private, public and philanthropic sectors. She worked as an advisor to the Quebec premier on the Youth Priority portfolio and was director of public relations at Radio-Canada (CBC). She is currently the director of the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation early childhood project and plays a lead role in the Help Them Grow campaign.


Adrian Mota, BSc

Adrian Mota has a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa. Adrian is the Manager of KT Initiatives at CIHR. He is responsible for all KT funding opportunities and initiatives. Adrian has been at CIHR since 2005, previously with the KT Branch as a KT Specialist responsible for the branch's IKT and MPD programs as well as leading the development of numerous KT Initiatives.


Jo Nelson, CPF, CTF

Jo Nelson has lived the concept of enabling consensus formation and enhancing group motivation for over 40 years in many different countries. Her dynamic facilitation style has endeared her to her clients and colleagues. She is also the author of The Art of Focused Conversation for Schools: over 100 Ways to Guide Clear Thinking and Promote Learning. Jo specializes in enabling people with diverse perspectives to communicate effectively

Home | Contact Us | Search
A-Z Topic List | Privacy & Terms of Use

Smaller Text Larger Text

A-Z List | Accessible Info | Careers | Contact Us


Health Services

Peel Public Health

Nurturing the Next Generation