McMaster Child Health Research Day charts the future of pediatric health

Eight McMaster researchers and other leaders standing in front of a sign for McMaster Child Health Research Day.

From left, researcher Briano Di Rezze, keynote speaker and Edmonton MP Mike Lake, chair of Pediatrics Angelo Mikrogianakis, McMaster Children's Hospital President Bruce Squires, pediatrics researcher Gita Wahi, Hamilton MP Lisa Hepfner, Offord Centre director Stelios Georgiades, and CanChild co-director Olaf Kraus de Camargo at this week's McMaster Child Health Research Day event.

More than 130 Health Sciences students, patient family members and special guests gathered to celebrate innovative research and compete for awards this week at the McMaster Child Health Research Day. 

The March 27 event was developed in collaboration with Hamilton’s child health community, including the Department of Pediatrics, the Offord Centre for Child Studies, CanChild, the Centre for Metabolism, Obesity and Diabetes Research, McMaster Children’s Hospital, and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.  

More than 125 studies were presented, spanning a significant breadth of topics, including artificial intelligence applications in health, basic science, chronic conditions and mental health interventions.  

“AI is not going anywhere, so we need to find ways to mitigate its effects, especially given the prevalence of online surveys and research,” said third-year undergraduate student Samantha Rutherford, whose study explored ways to stop chatbots from interfering with online data collection — a challenge she recognizes as universal across research fields.  

Researcher Andrea Cross, an assistant professor in the department of Pediatrics, is leading an innovative education program to empower youth and families to engage in health research.  

“Many people who are graduating from the course are now becoming champions and leaders and embedding meaningful family engagement within their communities and organizations,” Cross said.  

The quality of research and students’ passion was impressive, said Hamilton Mountain MP Lisa Hepfner, who served as a guest judge.  

“McMaster shows once again it is at the forefront of health sciences and that it is invested in improving the lives of young people in Canada and around the world.” 

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