HELP announces Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl as our new Director

Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl

“We could not have asked for a more skilled, experienced or committed leader than Kim.  Kim’s long history with HELP and her deep interest in making a real difference make her an incredible choice as HELP’s new Director.  Already, we are buzzing with new ideas, new opportunities and new energy!  There is lots of work to be done and we are now ready to get on with it.”  - Pippa Rowcliffe, Deputy Director, HELP 

Following a competitive search headed by the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Medicine, we are thrilled to announce Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl as the new Director of HELP.  Kim has a long history in working on research projects with HELP.  In 2005 she became a HELP research affiliate.  She worked closely with HELP's founding Director, the late Dr. Clyde Hertzman and with him, pioneered work on the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI).  The MDI is a measure of 4th and 7th grade children’s social, emotional, and physical well-being inside and outside of school.  To date, over 25 School Districts in BC are using MDI data to help them plan and implement programs for children.

As HELP's Interim Director since July 2014, Dr. Schonert-Reichl successfully guided HELP through a period of transition.  As our permanent Director, Dr. Schonert-Reichl intends to lead HELP in continuing to pursue excellence and innovation in interdisciplinary research, toward our goal of improving the health and well-being of children and families.  She is also committed, to ensuring that HELP continues its long history of engaging deeply with communities, organizations and institutions across BC and Canada, and particularly with aboriginal partners, in consultation with HELP’s long-standing Aboriginal Steering Committee.

As HELP's Director, my goal is to significantly expand the capability and capacity of HELP through the extension of our current monitoring platform so that it covers key developmental stages across the child/adolescence life-course. The proposed Human Development Program of Research will extend our understanding of the roots of physical, cognitive, social and emotional health outcomes and will evaluate and recommend population level interventions that have the potential to yield broad benefits to society. The program will enable us to shift the entire population health distribution to the left—improving health outcomes for all. “   - Dr. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, September 2015

In addition to her role at HELP, Kim is a Professor in the Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology, and Special Education at UBC. A world renowned expert in the area of social and emotional learning (SEL) and development, Dr. Schonert-Reichl’s research focuses on the identification of the processes and mechanisms that foster positive human qualities such as empathy, compassion, altruism, and resiliency in children and adolescents.

Dr. Schonert-Reichl is the recipient of the 2015 Joseph E. Zins Distinguished Scholar Award for outstanding research on social and emotional learning (SEL), and the 2009 Confederation of University Faculty Associations BC's Paz Buttedahl Career Achievement Award in recognition of her sustained outstanding contributions to the community beyond the academy through research over the major portion of her career. Dr. Schonert-Reichl is also the recipient of the 2007 UBC Killam Teaching Prize in recognition of excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and the 2004 Vancouver School Board Recognition Award for her work promoting social responsibility in students.

She has been involved with many scholarly committees and consultancies. She serves as an advisor to the BC Ministry Education on the development and implementation of the redesign of the Curriculum and Assessment Framework that includes a focus on the promotion of students’ personal and social competencies; an Expert Advisor to the OECD’s longitudinal study of social and emotional skills, an Advisory Member of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) Research Advisory Group, and an advisor to the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education.