McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

MacMillan honoured by Centre of Excellence

Published: May 1 , 2007
Dr. Arthur Frank
Dr. Harriet MacMillan, a child psychiatrist and researcher at McMaster University.

Dr. Harriet MacMillan, a renowned child psychiatrist and researcher at McMaster University, has been named Researcher of the Year by the Centre of Excellence for Early Child Development (CEECD).

MacMillan holds the David R. (Dan) Offord Chair in Child Studies, and is a professor in the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry and behavioural neurosciences.

The CEECD, based at the University of Montreal, enables and promotes the dissemination of scientific knowledge on the social and emotional development of young children, and the policies and services that influence this development.

McMillan was honoured specifically for an important research study that examined the effectiveness of home visitation by public health nurses in preventing the recurrence of child physical abuse and neglect. While that study exposed the intervention as having no merit in preventing future abuse and neglect, it was cited as an important contribution to building the knowledge of how children grow and develop.

The study was an intensive, two-year program during which public health nurses regularly visited families with a history of abuse. The visits continued for two years, and included family support, education and links to social services. The incidence of recurrence among the families who received these services was compared to that among families who received standard services from child protection agencies.

The results were reported in 2005. The Researcher of the Year Award also is for 2005, although it was only recently announced by the CEECD.

While the results of the study were disappointing to MacMillan, she looks past that to continue analysing what needs to be done in her field.

"More interventions need to be evaluated. More needs to be done to reduce the stressors on families, and support for at-risk families must be beefed up," she said in a profile that appeared in the CEECD bulletin.
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