CIHR-IHDCYH and NICHD webinar on October 25, 2023

Event description

  • Webinar title: Understanding the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Promoting Health Equity Among Children, Adolescents, and Families in Canada and the United States
  • When: Wednesday October 25, 2023, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. ET
  • Who: Co-hosted by the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Format: An open-to-all webinar on Zoom


The COVID-19 pandemic created and exacerbated substantial challenges for children, adolescents and families around the globe. This webinar responds to a call from the research community for more information sharing and conversation about what is working well within the research ecosystem to help support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes identifying strengths in research design and approaches, meaningful partnerships, and health-equity-promoting interventions. Specific topics we will discuss include research on the social determinants of health and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and adolescents in diverse underserved communities. Presentations will pair speakers from the Canadian context and the American context.

This 3-hour webinar will highlight research that has identified what is working well to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children, adolescents and families, while also recognizing the serious and negative consequences of the pandemic.

This event is open to all, though capacity is limited. If you register and are later unable to attend, please cancel your registration as soon as possible to make the space available for another participant. Simultaneous French translation and sign language interpretation will be available. Closed captioning in English will be provided through Zoom functionality.

If you need other reasonable accommodations to participate in this event, please contact Dr. Jenelle Walker at, at least 5 business days before the webinar. For all other questions, please contact Joanne Wincentak at

Webinar Objectives:

  • Better understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and health equity issues affecting children, adolescents and their families in Canada and the United States.
  • Share successes and lessons learned; and identify barriers to multidisciplinary research with and about children, adolescents, and families within a pandemic context, particularly in diverse underserved communities.

Webinar Agenda

Time (ET) Agenda
2:00 – 2:10 pm


Dr. Christine Chambers, PhD
Dr. Diana Bianchi, M.D.

2:10 – 2:30 pm

Social Determinants of Health and COVID-19 Research with Children and Adolescents in Canada and the U.S.

Dr. Arjumand Siddiqi, Sc.D.

2:30 – 3:15 pm

Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Implications for Clinical Care and Research in Indigenous and Native American Communities

Dr. Amy Elliott, PhD
Dr. Deana Around Him, DrPH, ScM
Dr. Ryan Giroux, MD FRCPC
Devon Bowyer, MPH

3:15 – 3:25 pm Break
3:25 – 4:10 pm

Impact of COVID-19 on Black Children and Adolescents in Canada and the U.S.

Dr. Bukola Salami, RN, MN, PhD, FCAN, FAAN
Khadija Brouillette, BSc.
Dr. Laurie Brotman, PhD
Kai-ama Hamer, MA

4:10 – 4:55 pm

Recovery from Inequities Exacerbated by the Pandemic for Children and Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities in Canada and the U.S.

Dr. Jennifer Zwicker, PhD
Gillian Backlin
Dr. John Constantino, M.D.
Diane Southard, BS

4:55 – 5:00 pm

Closing remarks

Dr. Christine Chambers, PhD
Dr. Diana Bianchi, M.D.


Dr. Arjumand Siddiqi, Sc.D.
Professor and Division Head of Epidemiology, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto
Edwin S.H. Leong Chair in Child Policy Research, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto Canada

Arjumand Siddiqi is Professor, Division Head of Epidemiology (Dalla Lana School of Public Health), Canada Research Chair in Population Health Equity at the University of Toronto, where she also holds appointments in Sociology, Public Policy, and Women and Gender Studies. She is also Edwin S.H. Leong Chair in Child Policy Research at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto Canada. In addition, she holds adjunct appointments at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Dr. Siddiqi’s research focuses on understanding health inequalities, with particular emphasis on how they are influenced by social policies and other societal conditions. She holds several editorial roles, including for Social Science & Medicine and Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. She frequently speaks to and works with stakeholder institutions, including federal, provincial, and local governments, and international agencies. Dr. Siddiqi is the recipient of the 2022 Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Population and Public Health Mid-Career Trailblazer Award. She received her doctorate in Social Epidemiology from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Amy Elliott, PhD
Chief Clinical Research Officer, Avera Research Institute, Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center
Professor & Division Chief, Department of Pediatrics, University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine

Dr. Elliott is the Chief Clinical Research Officer for the Avera Research Institute and a Professor and Division Chief in the Department of Pediatrics, University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine. Dr. Elliott received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University and completed a fellowship in genetics and behavioral pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Dr. Elliott has been an NIH-funded investigator for over two decades with over $150 million in external funding largely in the area of maternal and child health. She has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and has presented internationally on her work. In addition to leading numerous NIH-funded multi-site longitudinal and program projects, Dr. Elliott manages the non-oncology clinical research portfolio for Avera Health, a large integrated rural health system based in Sioux Falls, SD. The Avera Research Institute has offices across South Dakota, including two tribal locations.

Dr. Deana Around Him, DrPH, ScM
Research Scholar, Child Trends
Adjunct faculty, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

Deana Around Him, DrPH, ScM, is a research scholar leading the development of Child Trends’ applied research agenda to advance the well-being of Indigenous children, youth, and families. Her work specifically aims to improve the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) children and families through culturally and scientifically rigorous research and evaluation. Dr. Around Him’s lived experience as a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, mother, and relative inform a career that respects Tribal sovereignty, builds on cultural strengths, and seeks to inform the policies and programs encountered by Indigenous families.

Dr. Around Him’s training focused on the social determinants of health, the life course approach to health, maternal and child health, and research ethics. She has worked with AIAN communities to develop and adapt interventions, build research and evaluation capacity, and strengthen research ethics knowledge and infrastructure. Dr. Around Him often applies community-engaged and community-based participatory research (CBPR) approaches in her work. Her past projects have involved partnerships to prevent adverse childhood experiences, trauma, and youth suicide; evaluate a culturally based safe infant sleep intervention; and explore American Indian student perspectives of school climate. Her current projects focus on evaluating a culturally based parent training curriculum, examining how home visiting has supported equity during the COVID-19 pandemic, and integrating Indigenous research methodologies and approaches in early childhood research and practice. She is also the strategic dissemination lead for the Tribal Early Childhood Research Center.

In addition to her role at Child Trends, she is an adjunct faculty member at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Community Health from Brown University, a Master of Science with a concentration in maternal and child health from the Harvard School of Public Health, and a Doctor of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Dr. Ryan Giroux M.D. FRCPC
General Pediatrician, St. Michael’s Hospital & Inner City Health Associates
Lecturer & PGME Indigenous Health Lead, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Dr. Ryan Giroux is a General Pediatrician at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Inner City Health Associates in Toronto where his clinical work focuses on urban Indigenous child health, as well as refugee & newcomer health. He is Métis from the Métis Nation of Alberta and mixed settler heritage. He is an Indigenous Educator at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and is the University of Toronto Temerty Faculty of Medicine’s PGME Indigenous Health Lead. He grew up on Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 territory in rural Alberta prior to completing a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology in Edmonton, and completed medical school and his Pediatrics residency at the University of Toronto & the Hospital for Sick Children. He is also part of the Canadian Pediatric Society’s First Nation, Inuit, and Metis Health Committee since 2017, where he has lead advocacy, education, and research related to Indigenous child health.

Devon Bowyer, MPH
Operations Manager, Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong (Place of Healthy Breathing)/Native Men’s Residence (Na-Me-Res)

Devon Bowyer identifies as Settler with Trinidadian Heritage. In 2018, Devon completed a double major in International Development and Health Studies at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. In 2020, he completed his Master of Public Health, in Indigenous Health degree at Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Devon is currently the Operations manager at Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong (Place of Health Breathing). Devon manages/plans all onsite COVID-19/Primary Care Vaccinations, COVID-19 testing clinics, outreach clinics and all daily operations at Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong.

Dr. Bukola Salami, RN, MN, PhD, FCAN, FAAN
Professor, Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Professor Bukola Salami is a Registered Nurse and an interdisciplinary community engaged researcher with expertise in Black peoples health, racialized peoples health, immigrant health, community engagement and equity, diversity and inclusion. She is a Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. She is the former Director of the Intersections of Gender Signature Area in the Office of the Vice President Research at the University of Alberta. She has been involved in around 100 funded studies totalling over $230 million. She founded and leads the African Child and Youth Migration Network, a network of 42 scholars from four continents. In 2020, she founded the Black Youth Mentorship and Leadership Program. Her work has contributed to improving social and health policies and practices, including informing the creation of the first mental health clinic for Black Canadians in Western Canada. She has presented her work to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health. In 2015/2016, she was a collaborating researcher at the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development. She has trained over 100 undergraduate and graduate students, including many (~10) who are now Assistant or Associate Professors.

Khadija Brouillette, BSc.
M.D.,C.M. Candidate 2026, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University

Khadija is a second-year medical student at McGill University and currently serves as the Chairperson of the Black Medical Students' Association of Canada (BMSAC) for the 2023-2024 term. She is a dedicated and passionate individual who is committed to advocating for the wellness of Black medical students. She completed her undergraduate degree in Life Science Co-op at McMaster University. Her research interests range from mental health of Black youth and the COVID-19 pandemic to evaluating the current Black medical students' perspectives. Khadija is passionate about paying it forward by utilizing the wisdom and advice that was shared with her and passing it down to the next generation of physicians. Overall, Khadija is an accomplished individual with a warm and friendly personality. Her dedication to advocating for Black medical students and reducing barriers to entry in the field of medicine is truly inspiring.

Dr. Laurie Brotman, PhD
Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development, Department of Population Health, NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Director, Center for Early Childhood Health and Development

Dr. Laurie Brotman is the Bezos Family Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Development, Professor of Population Health and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Brotman is Director of the Center for Early Childhood Health and Development at NYU Langone Health which aims to inform evidence-based policies and practices in support of equitable health and education outcomes for children and families living in historically disinvested neighborhoods. Dr. Brotman is the founder of ParentCorps, an evidence-based intervention that transforms the pre-kindergarten experience by helping schools partner with families to build a future where all children thrive. Dr. Brotman earned a BS in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and a PhD in Clinical Developmental Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She completed an NIH post-doctoral research fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Columbia University and an Ascend Fellowship at the Aspen Institute. Dr. Brotman has been funded by the NIH and the Institute for Education Sciences for more than 25 years. In recognition of her scholarship, Dr. Brotman received the Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research and the Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from Cornell University.

Kai-ama Hamer, M. A.
Director, ParentCorps
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Population Health, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Kai-ama Hamer is an experienced educator and leader who has dedicated her career to teaching, training and supporting both children and the adults in children’s lives to improve educational and health outcomes. Her career began working for several agencies to support families living in long-term shelters in NYC. In 2004, Kai became a special education teacher for the NYC Department of Education at PS 41 in the Bronx. She held several teaching positions there before being named Dean in 2012, establishing school-wide interventions and acting as the first line of support in crises. In this role, she began to facilitate ParentCorps for families. In 2015, Kai joined ParentCorps as a coach, and now leads the National Office as Director.

Gillian Backlin
CHILD-BRIGHT National Youth Advisory Panel (NYAP) Member

My name is Gillian Backlin and I am a student, hoping to work and equity diversity and inclusion as well as public policy. I am part of the National Youth Advisory panel, and enjoy being able to take part in patient oriented research and advocacy for people with disabilities. I have an online platform called Spastic & Fantastic which allows used to use my creativity and share my story.

Dr. Jennifer Zwicker, PhD
Director of Health Policy, School of Public Policy, University of Calgary
Deputy Scientific Officer, Kids Brain Health Network

Dr. Zwicker is Director of Social Policy and Health at the School of Public Policy, associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary, Canada Research Chair (II) in Disability Policy for Children and Youth and Deputy Scientific Officer for Kids Brain Health Network. Her research program assesses interventions and informs policy around allocation of funding, services, and supports for youth with disabilities and their families. Strong stakeholder and government collaboration has been critical in the translation of peer-reviewed publications to policy papers, op-eds and briefing notes for provincial and federal ministries and senate committees. Her work recently informed the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences National Autism Strategy Working Group and Royal Society of Canada Expert Working Group to develop disability inclusive policy during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been recognized for her policy leadership as an Action Canada Alumni, Governor General Leadership Forum, and Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.

Dr. John Constantino, M.D.
Liz and Frank Blake Chair for Children’s Behavioral and Mental Health, Chief, Center for Behavioral and Mental Health, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta
Vice Chair, Department of Pediatrics, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine

John N. Constantino, MD is the Liz and Frank Blake Chair of Children’s Behavioral and Mental Health and inaugural System Chief of Behavioral and Mental Health at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. He is a Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University, where he also serves as Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Prior to his move to Atlanta, Dr. Constantino directed the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis for 13 years and directed its NICHD-funded Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center from 2014-2022.

After completing combined residency training in pediatrics and psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY), Dr. Constantino established a clinical research program focused on disorders of social development in childhood. He and his team developed the Social Responsiveness Scale and used it to pioneer understanding of the dimensional nature and genetic transmission of the characterizing traits and features of autism. In collaboration with colleagues at UCLA, Emory, and Albert Einstein, his team has been engaged in a decades-long agenda to ensure that African American families affected by autism are equitably represented in the steady succession of national discovery efforts in genetics and early intervention.

Diane Southard, BS
Steering Committee Member, Parkway Parent Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities

Diane believes a diagnosis does not define a person because ALL people are capable of incredible things! This philosophy was born while working for young adults and children with disabilities as an undergraduate at Truman State University and learned through experience as the mother of eight, having children with Fragile X Syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Diane strives to share this value through volunteer service.

Diane serves as the Sibling and Self-Advocate Network Mentor with the National Fragile X Foundation where she coordinates virtual events, at home activities, and supports in person activities at NFXF events. She speaks at schools, universities, and businesses about Fragile X and respecting all people. Diane has assisted with annual Abilities Awareness events since 2006. She serves on the Steering Committee for the Parkway Parent Advisory Council for Children with Disabilities.

Diane served on the Executive Council for the Fragile X Research and Clinical Consortium from 2017 through 2019 and was the Southwest Regional Leader for the NFXF from 2013 through 2019. Locally she served as President of the Fragile X Resource Center of Missouri from 2009 to 2016. Diane is a 2006 Graduate of the Missouri Partners in Policy Making program.

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