Award-winning health scientist speaks at U of S on early childhood development

What do children's development in their early years and Canada's ecological footprint have in common? Both are critically important challenges facing society that require long-term commitment from a wide range of sectors to overcome them, says Clyde Hertzman, Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Human Development at The University of British Columbia.

Clyde Hertzman, Canada Research Chair in Population Health and Human Development
A video of the event is available on the U of S YouTube
Photos of the event are available in the U of S Flickr Gallery

"There is a huge gap between what Canadians know about these issues, and what we, as a society, are doing about them," says Hertzman, who was named Canada's Health Researcher of the Year in 2010.
Hertzman will speak about the interconnected challenges of trying to shrink our ecological footprint and support the earliest stages of human development during a presentation at the University of Saskatchewan entitled: "Are we the people we need to be? Early human development and the challenges of the 21st century"
His talk is part of the Royal Society of Canada's (RSC) prestigious Governor General's Lectures.
Hertzman notes that Canada, with one of the planet's largest ecological footprints, spends enormous resources to support an unsustainable lifestyle for the future.
Similarly, research shows that more than a quarter of Canadian children are behind in one or more key domains of their development, yet Canada has one of the Western world's weakest systems to support families and their children's development in the early years.
Hertzman studies how early childhood disadvantages can have lifelong impacts. He directors the the Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), an interdisciplinary research network of 200 faculty, researchers and graduate students from six B.C. universities,
He has led HELP's work in B.C. using the Early Development Instrument, a population-based measure for communities to gauge school readiness, to demonstrate that too many children - almost one in four - are considered "vulnerable" by the time they enter kindergarten. This figure could be cut to 10 per cent by investing in early years programs and supports.
In 2005, HELP was designated by the World Health Organization as the Knowledge Hub on Early Child Development. Hertzman is team leader of this hub and of the global Knowledge Network.
This free public talk, part of a cross-Canada tour, will be streamed live on the internet and archived for later viewing at:
The Governor General's Lectures of the Royal Society are the first national research lectures in Canada. Under this program, the Royal Society, the premiere national academy, sends top scholars and scientists to select universities across the country to inform Canadians about advances in many areas of research, as well as discuss their policy implications. The Governor General has input into the selection process.
U of S history professor Jim Miller, winner of the 2010 Gold Medal of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, has been selected to give a series of Governor General's Lectures entitled "We are All Treaty People" across Canada in late 2011 and early 2012.
About the Royal Society of Canada: As the senior national body of distinguished Canadian scholars, artists and scientists, the Royal Society promotes learning and research in the arts and sciences, advises governments and organizations, and promotes Canadian culture. The RSC consists of nearly 2,000 Fellows—men and women selected by their peers for outstanding contributions to the natural and social sciences, the arts and the humanities.
For more information contact:
Michael Robin
U of S Research Communications
(306) 966-1425
Amélia Zaglul
Officer, National and International Events
The Royal Society of Canada (RSC)
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