Current projects
Proactive screening and family self-assessment of psychosocial strengths and needs are integral to the care of children with complex or chronic health conditions. In collaboration with medical sub-specialty clinics, we have developed a model of 'in-clinic' self assessment screening for children and their parents to understand psycho-social needs early in their health care journey. This screening process has allowed us to connect with families and offer a 'stepped' level model of care that ranges from access to hospital and community-based resources, consultation and assessment at clinical appointments, support groups, group therapy and focused workshops as well as individual therapeutic services to support best health care outcomes. As part of the in-clinic IPAD screening projects, children and youth have access to the ON-TRAC initiative to help support their education and independence as they transition to adult care. Evaluation of the feasibility and outcomes of these service delivery models is ongoing.

In collaboration with Pediatric Anesthesia Research Team (PART), UBC and Medical Psychology we are developing a behavioural biofeedback APP to teach children and youth coping strategies to improve their hospital based experiences by reducing the pain and anxiety than can be associated with medical procedures and treatments. We know that by reducing the experiences of pain and distress during a medical encounter we can shorten recovery times, pain medication use and improve outcomes of subsequent medical interactions. Phase I of this study has been completed to collect data from a range of children to help program our biofeedback application for diaphramic (belly) breathing, which has been shown to reduce experiences of stress, anxiety and pain in children. Phase II of our study will be conducted in collaboration with the Blood Lab at BC Children's hospital to understand the impact of our interactive, biofeedback application on children's experience of pain and anxiety during an acute medical procedure. Our goal is to make this APP available to the children of BC.

Somatoform Symptom and related disorders are complex conditions that represent a convergence of medical and psychological conditions that are often confusing for families and require a common language and team-based approach to treatment. Mental Health Services and Medical Psychology have collaborated to provide a 6 week psycho-educational group for children, youth and their parents called the Mind-Body Connection Group based on needs identified by patients and families. We are evaluating individual and group outcomes based on participation in this group based initiative and are currently planning to run our 6th group in the spring of 2016. Members of the BCCH Integrative Health Working Group have developed extensive resources for clinicians and families that will be widely available to build capacity and support a cohesive and consistent approach to the assessment, diagnosis and treatment models of these disorders.

Honours & Awards

Award of Excellence with Distinction for 'Youth Friendly Care'

Research Group Members

Salley Ash, social worker
Louanna Atkinson, Professional Practice Leader
Serena Gill, Project Coordinator
Tori Hurst-Martin, Clinical Social Work Specialist
Krista Johnston, Psychology Post-Doctoral fellow
Helena Lee, Social worker, Social Worker
Leanne Mak, Psychologist
Kristen McFee, Psychologist
Erin Moon, Psychologist
Megan Morrison, Social Worker
Cindy Neufeglise-Ross, Social worker
Meabh Neville, Social Worker
Julia Reniers-Smith, Social Work Student
Janine Slavec, Psychologist
Hope Walker, Psychologist
Pablee Wong, Psychologist