In Memory - Andrew Yellowback

It is with great sadness that we share news of the passing of Andrew Yellowback.

Originally from Cross Lake, Manitoba, Andrew was a Cree elder and residential school survivor. He held numerous roles in civil service including as Federal Parole Officer and conducting Case Management services at federal and provincial prisons, where he helped inmates to rehabilitate themselves through teachings and counseling. Andrew was a committed member of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. He was very active in the urban Aboriginal community and held a strong belief in the role of Spirituality in the treatment of mental health and addictions problems.

Andrew was a member of our Aboriginal Steering Committee from 2014 to 2016. And while his time with us was short his legacy will have a lasting impact. “This is a true loss,” reflects Carrie Anne Vanderhoop, Co-Chair of the HELP’s Aboriginal Steering Committee. “He was dedicated to the work towards healing and wellness for Indigenous communities, especially families and children. It was an honour to have him at our table sharing his knowledge, experience and some good laughs.”

“He was a gentle soul,” shares Duane Jackson, Co-Chair of HELP’s Aboriginal Steering Committee. “My time with ...

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Remembering Clyde Hertzman

It is hard to believe it has been five years since we lost our dear friend, mentor and colleague, Dr. Clyde Hertzman. A passionate visionary, esteemed researcher and early child advocate, Clyde inspired every one of us. And he continues to do so. 

HELP Talks: Mobile Digital Technologies and Adolescent Mental Health

Please join us Thursday, March 1st (9:00am – 12:00pm) for HELP Talks: Mobile digital technologies and adolescent mental health.

HELP Talks are HELP faculty led events that focus on a particular area of human development from a research-to-practice perspective. Each HELP Talk explores a particular research area or idea, allowing us to think about child development from a range of angles and to engage in conversation and learning with a variety of academic and community partners.

We are pleased to welcome Dr. Candice Odgers, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior, University of California Irvine; Research Professor, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, and Dr. Shimi Kang, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, University of British Columbia; Founder, Provincial Youth Concurrent Disorders Program, BC Children’s Hospital, in an exploration of technology and adolescent mental health. Details are included below. Please RSVP to

Date: Thursday March 1st, 2018
Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Michael Smith Laboratories Lecture Theatre (room 102), 2185 East Mall, Vancouver, BC

Hosted by:
The Human Early Learning Partnership, School of Population and Public Health, UBC

Presented by:
Michael Kobor, PhD, Professor, Canada Research Chair in Social Epigenetics, and Sunny Hill BC Leadership ...

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Register today! Taking a Closer Look at Sleep Webinar

Please join HELP Director, Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, on February 14th (3:30-4:30 PST) for a webinar dedicated to the critical role sleep plays in middle years well-being. Kim will unpack the trends we are seeing related to sleep on the MDI and discuss what schools, communities and families are doing to support healthy sleep habits. Register today!

What's coming in 2018?

Dear Friends, Partners and Supporters of HELP, 

I’d like to start 2018 by acknowledging that HELP operates on the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh and Squamish Coast Salish peoples. We offer our sincere appreciation and gratitude to each of these Nations for allowing us to teach, learn, work and study each day on their traditional territory.

Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl, HELP’s Director, and I would also like to acknowledge the ongoing commitment of the members of our Aboriginal Steering Committee. They guide our program of research and reporting, support HELP in developing a deeper understanding of the social and cultural determinants of Aboriginal children’s health and well-being and nurture our understanding of cultural safety. Thank you.

Closing 2017

2017 was another rich year of progress at HELP.

Dr. Michael Kobor was appointed as the SunnyHill BC Leadership Chair in Child Development, with a commitment to lead a world class program of research about social epigenetics: how experience gets under the skin. Joanne Schroeder, a past HELP leader, received a Max Bell Foundation Policy Fellowship and has returned to HELP to push forward our commitment to early years systems leadership.

Our Faculty were also successful in ...

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HELP Talks 2018

Heard it mentioned? Seen the hashtag? Not sure what we are talking about?

HELP Talks are HELP faculty led events that focus on a particular area of human development from a research-to-practice perspective. Each HELP Talk explores a particular research area or idea, allowing us to think about child development from a range of angles and to engage in conversation and learning with a variety of academic and community partners.

This year’s HELP Talks promise to be some of the best yet. The first one will take place March 1st. Dr. Mike Kobor is pleased to welcome Dr. Candice Odgers, Research Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Faculty Research Scholar of DuPRI's Population Research Center, Affiliate of the Center for Child and Family Policy, Duke University. We are also very excited to share that our April 18* HELP Talks will focus on HELP’s Aboriginal work and include members of our Aboriginal Steering Committee. Watch our newsletter and social media channels for more information and registration instructions.

*Please note the date has changed from April 16 to April 18. 

MDI: A New Year, New Learning and New Champions

HELP's MDI Trainer Network activities kick off on January 25th when MDI Champions Peter Dubinsky (Burnaby School District) and Janelle Zebedee and Tricia Penny (Central Okanagan School District) join us for an online conversation about using MDI school data. But this is just the beginning.

On February 14th, HELP Director Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl will host a special webinar dedicated to the critical role sleep plays in middle years well-being. She will unpack the trends we are seeing in MDI data and discuss what schools, communities and families are doing in an effort to support healthy sleep. And later this spring we will showcase our new inquiry-based workshop guides. The guides will help you to get started on your Making Change journey and connect you with leaders in the government and non-profit sectors who use MDI data for community-wide planning.

Please visit our Events and Training page to sign up for upcoming webinars. And don't forget to share and encourage change-makers in your community to join.

Thank You!

Over the months of November and December, 33,000 Grade 4 and Grade 7 children in British Columbia - and another 11,000 from across Canada – are sharing their thoughts, feelings and information about their experiences both in school and in their community. This is our seventh year of collecting MDI data and the largest collection of MDI data to date.

We could not do this without the support and dedication of teachers, administrators and the children themselves. Thank you to all teachers and administrators participating in MDI collection this fall. We are so grateful for your support. Watch for community reports in the spring.

BCCHR Healthy Starts Seminar – January 19, 2018

The Kobor Lab invites you to participate in the January 19th BCCHR Healthy Starts Seminar featuring Dr. David Rehkopf. A close collaborator with the Kobor Lab, Dr. Rehkopf, Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Department of Medicine, Division of General Medical Disciplines, Stanford University will present “Examining Gene-Environment Interaction in Studies of Social Policy: The Effects of US New Deal Employment Policy on Height”. Please RSVP. 

Friday, January 19th, 2018
2:00 – 3:00 PM
Room BCCHR 3113

Early Years Conference 2018 and HELP Pre-Conference

In its third decade, the Early Years Conference continues to lead the field of professional development in early childhood development. This year's event, Strengthening Resilience in Today’s World - Leading with Kindness and Understanding, will explore the complex factors impacting children’s development, recognizing the essential aspect of nurturing relationships within families and in our professional roles as the cornerstone of strengthening children’s resilience. The conference will highlight many of the considerations and practices in work with young children and their families, particularly as we adapt to our rapidly changing society.

HELP is pleased to, once again, host a pre-conference as part of the Early Years Conference program. Entitled Supporting Compassion and Kindness in Children, our pre-conference offers an opportunity to explore aspects of social and emotional development across the early years and learn more about the science behind compassion and kindness. We are pleased to welcome Robert Roeser, PhD, Professor, Caring and Compassion and Human Development and Family Studies, College of Health and Human Development, Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Roeser will explore the roots of compassion in the early years and how compassion emerges as children develop. Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl will respond with observations about the ways ...

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November HELP Reads now online!

The November edition of HELP Reads is now online. HELP’s Human Development Research Review - also known as HELP Reads - aims to expand awareness of topics in human development, particularly social epigenetics, social determinants of health, socio-emotional learning, Aboriginal children and youth, and family policy. HELP Reads connects health academics, advocates, and professionals with online and publicly available research, news, and information. This review focuses on listing articles relevant to human development research activities at HELP.

Highlights this month include Social and emotional learning: recent and practical strategies for promoting children’s social and emotional competence in schools by Dr. Eva Oberle, Assistant Professor, HELP, and Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, Director, HELP. As well, we are pleased to share Engaging Indigenous families in a community-based Indigenous early childhood programme in British Columbia, Canada: A cultural safety perspective, by Dr. Alison Gerlach, HELP Honorary Research Associate, and so much more.

Our Library pages provide a wealth of information related to HELP's research as well as key child development research. Visit them today and often.

Register today for the December MDI Trainer Network webinar

The MDI Trainer Network December webinar: Using the MDI to help build a common language of well-being in schools
Q&A with HELP Director Kim Schonert-Reichl and Revelstoke Superintendent Mike Hooker
Tuesday, December 5, 2017 
3:30 -4:30pm PST

Although MDI data collection occurs only once annually, the conversations it sparks can and should take place year-round.
We’ve invited MDI Champion Mike Hooker to join us and share how his district is working to transform the MDI from a singular event into regular practice. Mike and Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl will also explore the opportunities to engage with classroom teachers and students around the data, and detail their tips for communicating that the MDI has concrete, applied impacts beyond its value as a research tool.

Register today! We’ve also set aside lots of time for questions — please submit yours when you register for the event.


Fall Expo Presentation Slides and More

On behalf of everyone at HELP, thank you for participating in our 2017 Fall Expo. This event continues to get better and better in part because of your participation and contribution. We hope you found it as informative and inspiring as we did.

The morning presentations were recorded and have been posted to HELP’s YouTube channel:

Part 1: The Research - Introductions and Community Systems with Brenda Poon
Part 2: The Practice with Joanne Schroeder and Panelists

As well, the morning slide presentation is available here (PDF). Please note that Brenda Poon's presentation has been trimmed slightly as the social network visualization information requires additional contextualization and interpretation. Brenda is happy answer any questions you may have. 

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to fill out our event evaluation form. The data gathered from these evaluations helps to us plan future events, including HELP Talks and Expos. The survey will take about 5 minutes to complete.

HELP Talks: The Impact of Early Experiences on Development: Insights from Children in Adoptive and Foster Families in BC and Abroad

The November HELP Talks will take place Wednesday, November 22nd 2017. Please join us as we focus on children who experience challenges during the early years, in part due to their unstable or atypical child-rearing context. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Lucy Le Mare, Professor, Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, and Director, Centre for Research on Early Child and Health Education, who will discuss findings from her longitudinal work with Romanian children adopted in to Canadian families. Our own Dr. Alisa Almas will discuss findings from her work with Romanian children and their experiences in and out of various types of care, including institutional and foster care. We also welcome Nicki Elischer, a Family Support Counsellor, who will discuss her family preservation work in Vancouver to support families in distress. A detailed agenda is included below. Please RSVP to

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017 at 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Hertzman Boardroom, HELP Office, SPPH
University of British Columbia, Vancouver


9:30 – 9:45 am: Welcome and Introductions
Dr. Alisa Almas, Faculty Research Associate, HELP

9:45 – 10:30 am: The Romanian Adoption Project: Risk and Resilience
Dr. Lucy Le Mare, Professor, Faculty ...

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HELP is Hiring! CHEQ/EDI Implementation Lead (Leave Replacement)

HELP is seeking a CHEQ/EDI Implementation Lead (Leave Replacement) - Posting #28188 -  to coordinate key project deliverables of the Early Child Development Program of Research in specific relation to the Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (CHEQ) and the Early Development Instrument (EDI). The incumbent will coordinate tasks related to implementation of the CHEQ and the EDI, which are standardized child development research tools; as well as being responsible for the coordinating effective implementation across the entire province. For further information, please go to the UBC Job Careers page.