McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New professorship in family medicine will focus on child health

Published: September 10, 2008
John Cairney
Dr. John Cairney

When a child is clumsy by nature, does that impact how they get along with others, their level of social anxiety or even chance of depression, and what can be done about it?  If family doctors work with child psychiatrists and other health care providers, could solutions be found?

That is the focus of some of the research by a new McMaster University professor who has become the inaugural holder of the McMaster Family Medicine Professorship in Child Health Research.

John Cairney is examining the pattern of mental health problems across the life span as well as the impact of childhood physical disability on psychosocial and physical development in children.

The Department of Family Medicine of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster has committed $1 million over eight years to establish the position, which will have a broad perspective on child health.

Cairney, 40, has joined McMaster from the University of Toronto where he was the youngest to receive a Canada Research Chair three years ago. He also worked as a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in health research.

He has been jointly appointed as an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. In addition, he is the associate director of research for the family medicine department.

"I plan to build some novel research partnerships, in particular between psychiatry and family medicine, but I also see my mission as a bit larger than that," Cairney said. "I look to facilitate, foster, and develop linkages across the campus in areas of children’s mental and physical health and development. 

"I came to McMaster because of its reputation for world-class research in children’s mental health and pediatrics, and also because of its innovative approach to inter-disciplinary research and practice." 

David Price, chair of the department of family medicine, said: "I am just thrilled that we have been able to recruit Dr. Cairney to McMaster University.  He brings a wealth of expertise and experience and will help us to improve how we provide family health care and specifically, how we provide best care to our children and adolescents."

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