Child Health and Wellness

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Idea Exchange

Webinar | Nov. 23

At our virtual Idea Exchange on Nov. 23, we explored how UCalgary, in partnership with Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, is transforming the way we care for children by uniting researchers, health-care providers, community organizations, children and families to identify and address critical gaps in child health and wellness.

We delved into results from the All Our Families Study, which has been following a cohort of children for 10 years beginning at pregnancy to better understand their mental health, behaviour, growth and development. Data from this study is currently informing policy, programs and practices to improve the health and well being of families and communities in Alberta.

Watch the recording of this illuminating conversation about how, together, we can translate research and knowledge into better care and outcomes for our children.

Watch the recording

Program begins at the 6-minute mark. 


Meet the Panelists

Susa Benseler

Dr. Susa Benseler, MD, PhD

Dr. Susa Benseler, PhD is a paediatric rheumatologist at the Alberta Children's Hospital. She is a Professor of Paediatrics, a clinical epidemiologist and clinician investigator in rare inflammatory diseases and child precision health. She serves as the Director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. She is Husky Energy Chair in Child and Maternal Health, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Pediatric Research. Dr. Benseler trained at SickKids, Toronto and joined the University of Calgary in 2013.

Dr. Benseler focuses on the transformation of care for children with inflammatory diseases. She previously established the first Childhood CNS Vasculitis and Inflammatory Brain Diseases Clinic and Research program and built BrainWorks, an international Childhood Inflammatory Brain Diseases Investigator Network. Past Chair of the Canadian Pediatric Rheumatology Investigator Network, she co-leads the Canadian translational childhood arthritis projects UCAN.CURE and UCAN.CAN-DU, the latter in partnership with the Netherlands. Both research projects aim to understand the biology of childhood arthritis and translate biological evidence into optimal treatments to achieve best possible outcomes for children living with arthritis.


Suzanne Tough, MSc, PhD

Dr. Suzanne Tough, MSc, PhD

Dr. Suzanne Tough, MSc, PhD is a Professor with the Departments of Paediatrics and Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine. She is the Principal Investigator of the All Our Families Study and the ABCD Alberta Births Cohort Harmonization Initiative.

The underlying aim of her research program is to optimize birth and childhood outcomes by creating evidence that informs the development of community and clinical programs and influences policy. Dr. Tough is a Policy Fellow with the MaxBell Foundation/Burns Memorial Fund and has served as the Scientific Director of Provincial organizations and Strategic Clinical Networks. She has been recognized for her innovation and leadership through numerous awards including the United Nations and as a Women of Vision. She participates as a member of national and international committees including those convened by WHO and the Canadian Maternal Infant Child and Youth Network (MICRYN). 


Photo of Saifa Koonar

Saifa Koonar, MA

Saifa Koonar, MA, is President and CEO of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation. As a passionate advocate for the health and well-being of children and families, Ms. Koonar has helped to bring our community together around transforming Calgary’s pediatric health landscape. This has and continues to make possible crucial advancements in research and care, including the creation of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and construction of the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Rotary Flames House and the new Centre for Child and Adolescent Mental Health set to open in 2021. 

Ms. Koonar serves on leadership and advisory committees for Canada’s Children’s Hospital Foundations, Children’s Healthcare Canada, the Aga Khan Foundation Canada and the Woodmark Group. She was recently appointed to the Premier’s Council on Charities and Civil Society. She is a proud University of Calgary alum having received her Master’s of Business Administration and her Bachelor of Commerce degree at UCalgary.