Oct. 10, 2018

Dr. Susa Benseler appointed director of Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute

Appointment of Dr. Benseler to director of ACHRI effective Nov. 1.

The Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) and Alberta Health Services (AHS) Calgary Zone are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Susanne (Susa) Benseler, MD, PhD, as director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI). Effective November 1, 2018, Dr. Benseler replaces Dr. Brent Scott, MD. 

Dr. Scott is a visionary leader in children’s health care in Canada. He joined the Faculty of Medicine (now CSM) in 1982, holding several senior leadership positions including Vice-Dean, from 2007 to 2009. He was a central figure in many of the partnerships and approvals required to build the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

A strong proponent of health education and research excellence, Dr. Scott accepted the appointment to director at ACHRI in 2009. He developed ACHRI’s strategic plan and established its research priorities (Behaviour and the Developing Brain; Healthy Outcomes; and Genes, Development and Health). In each of the past three years, he has helped the institute increase its external research revenue. In 2016, Dr. Scott was the recipient of the prestigious Dr. Alan Ross Award for the top pediatrician in Canada. We thank him for helping build the institute into a leading child health research institute in Western Canada.

Dr. Benseler is well known within ACHRI and highly regarded for her many achievements, especially related to advances in precision health for children. She leads several national and international studies for childhood rheumatic and inflammatory diseases. She previously established an international, interdisciplinary network of investigators for children with inflammatory brain diseases — BrainWorks. Over the past decade, the BrainWorks team has dramatically improved the recognition, therapy and outcomes of children with a wide range of serious symptoms, including seizures or strokes, recognizing that inflammation can be the underlying cause. She led research studies successfully controlling the inflammation, allowing the brain to heal and preventing brain damage.

Dr. Benseler is currently heading a large interdisciplinary team of researchers at the CSM awarded $10-million in funding from Genome Canada for the implementation of genomic medicine into care for children with arthritis. In addition, Dr. Benseler and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Rheumatology team co-lead a partnership of Canada and the Netherlands for precision health in childhood arthritis. The partnership was awarded $8-million by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and a Dutch partner organization. The Understanding Childhood Arthritis Network (UCAN) study aims to develop biomarker profiles to enable a rapid diagnosis and selection of therapies to achieve the best outcomes for children living with of arthritis.

Dr. Benseler currently serves as the Deputy Head Research and Section Chief Rheumatology, Department of Pediatrics, at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. She is a member of ACHRI and the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. She is the Chair of the Canadian Pediatric Rheumatology Investigator (CAPRI) network and contributes to the Canadian Rheumatology Association, and the North American Childhood Arthritis and Rheumatology Research Alliance (CARRA). Dr. Benseler has numerous published peer-reviewed articles on childhood inflammatory brain diseases, vasculitis and other rheumatic diseases.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Benseler on her new role within the CSM, AHS and ACHRI. 


Jon Meddings, MD                                             Sid Viner, MD
Dean, Cumming School of Medicine                  Calgary Zone Medical Director
University of Calgary                                          Alberta Health Services

Dr. Susa Benseler, MD, PhD

Dr. Susa Benseler, MD, PhD