Dr. Christine Chambers, psychologist and expert in children’s pain research, named Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health

News release

August 26, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Michael J. Strong, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and CIHR’s Governing Council, announced today the appointment of Dr. Christine Chambers as the new Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH). This appointment will be effective January 1, 2020.

Dr. Chambers is a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Children’s Pain and a Killam Professor in the departments of Pediatrics and Psychology and Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. She is also the Scientific Director of Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP), a not-for-profit organization funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence. SKIP’s mission is to improve children’s pain management by mobilizing evidence-based solutions.

Dr. Chambers is a recognized international leader in her field whose expertise spans knowledge generation, synthesis, and translation. Her research program examines the role of developmental, psychological, and social factors in children’s health, with a focus on children’s pain.

Dr. Chambers spearheads the #ItDoesntHaveToHurt initiative, a science-media partnership for parents about children’s pain, which generated 150 million content views worldwide in just one year, trended nationally on social media several times, and won multiple national and international awards. Her YouTube video for parents on evidence-based techniques for managing children’s needle pain has attracted close to 250,000 views.

Dr. Chambers is well acquainted with CIHR: She has frequently served as a Chair, Scientific Officer, and peer reviewer for CIHR competitions; has held CIHR funding for 15 consecutive years; previously held a CIHR New Investigator Award; and, since 2018, has served as a member of the Institute Advisory Board for the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis.

As Scientific Director, Dr. Chambers will work with her community to identify research priorities, develop funding opportunities, build partnerships, and translate research evidence into policy and practice to improve the health of Canadians and people around the world. As a member of CIHR’s leadership team, she will participate in implementing CIHR’s strategic direction.

Dr. Chambers will replace Dr. Shoo Lee, who has led the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health since 2011. 


“I am so pleased to welcome Dr. Christine Chambers to CIHR. Her research productivity, ability to build relationships, track record as a leader and mentor, and compassion for her young patients – not to mention her expertise in knowledge translation and public engagement – will be enormously valuable to the organization and the IHDCYH community. I would also like to thank Dr. Shoo Lee for his years of service and for building a strong foundation for the Institute.”

Dr. Michael J. Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“I’m a passionate believer in the power of health research to improve the lives of children and their families. I look forward to engaging with stakeholders – researchers across all career stages and from different disciplines, trainees, health professionals, administrators, policy makers, partners and, importantly, children, youth, and families themselves – to build on IHDCYH’s strong foundation. Together we will tackle current health issues, address inequities, encourage a life-cycle perspective, and create partnerships to promote research excellence and impact.”

Dr. Christine Chambers, incoming Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health

“This is a terrific honour and achievement for Dr. Chambers! Her clear commitment to research on children’s health, combined with her outstanding experience as a leader, scientist and educator make her an excellent choice for Scientific Director. On behalf of Dalhousie University, I’m excited to congratulate her on this new position, where I know she will continue to make an incredible impact.”

Dr. Teri Balser, Interim President and Vice-Chancellor, Dalhousie University

“The appointment of Dr. Chambers to the prestigious role of Scientific Director is a testament to her significant accomplishments in her field. Her world-renowned research program has played a key role in the improved management of pain in children, and we are incredibly proud to have a researcher of her caliber at Dalhousie University.”

Dr. Alice Aiken, Vice President, Research and Innovation, Dalhousie University

Quick facts

  • Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to health researchers and trainees across Canada.

  • As one of the 13 CIHR Institutes, the CIHR Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) supports research that ensures the best start in life for all Canadians and the achievement of their potential for optimal growth and development. 

  • Among its many priorities, IHDYCH spearheads the Healthy Life Trajectories Initiative, which aims to prevent non-communicable diseases by focusing on health during conception, fetal life, infancy, and early childhood; the Preterm Birth Initiative, which focuses on achieving improved outcomes for premature babies; and IHDCYH Talks, an annual video competition that encourages knowledge translation.

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Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Michele Charlton
Communications Advisor
Dalhousie University 
(902) 494-4148

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.

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