New investment in collaborative research will address the impacts of COVID-19 on children and youth

News release

April 25, 2022 – Montreal, Quebec – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of families across Canada. Over the past two years, researchers have been studying the effects of COVID-19 public health measures, infections and vaccination on children and youth. To fully understand the impacts of COVID-19 and improve the health and wellbeing of children and youth, we need to support collaboration and information-sharing between research teams.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Canada’s Minister of Health, announced that the Government of Canada is investing $6.7M in a new pediatric COVID-19 research platform: Pediatric Outcome Improvement through Coordination of Research Networks (POPCORN).

Led by Dr. Caroline Quach at the Centre hospitalier universitaire Sainte-Justine in Montreal, POPCORN will support 16 research sites in pediatric hospitals across the country and will facilitate the sharing of COVID-19 information between these sites to ensure a coordinated research response. This collaboration will allow research sites to mobilize knowledge and provide the latest evidence to decision-makers in Canada and around the world.

POPCORN aims to answer important questions about how to protect children against the health effects of COVID-19. The team will do so by collecting, examining, and sharing valuable information from children’s hospitals across Canada about COVID-19 infections, vaccination, and social impacts.

The Government of Canada is providing funding for this investment through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This funding is part of the Government of Canada’s continued response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 


“Investing in the health of children and youth is a top priority for the Government of Canada. This new research platform will not only help us to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on young Canadians; it will better position us to respond to future health emergencies.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“CIHR is pleased to support this unique research platform that will enormously benefit Canadian children and families. The POPCORN platform will allow us to make important connections about the health of children and youth throughout the pandemic.”

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

Dr. Brian H. Rowe, Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health

“This investment from CIHR in POPCORN will be transformative. This investment will break down silos to orchestrate Canadian pediatric research networks, leverage networks’ strengths, and catalyze nimble, high-quality multidisciplinary child health research in Canada that can inform decision-makers through the current and future pandemics or for any child health issues of importance.”

Dr. Caroline Quach
Pediatrician, microbiologist-infectiologist, CHU Sainte-Justine
Professor, Université de Montréal
Canada Research Chair – Tier 1 in Infection Prevention from Hospital to the Community

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Marie-France Proulx
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

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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