Brenda Poon

Brenda Poon
Assistant Professor


Dr. Brenda Poon, Assistant Professor, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), UBC, is a recognized scholar in applied, community-based research.

Her lab, funded for a decade through multiple government grants, of staff and various student research assistants has successfully conducted multi-year, large-scale studies of implementation processes and outcomes for three provincially mandated population-level interventions all with the aim to identify developmental concerns at an early stage; two were school-based interventions that were adopted in all BC school districts.

By the nature of the critical connection between her research and practice, her research findings have been extensively translated for diverse audiences of knowledge users at every level from decision-makers to practitioners within and across education and health sectors, such as school teachers and administrators, early childhood educators, and public health personnel, and utilized by decision-makers from multiple provincial ministries, including the BC Ministries of Health and Children & Family Development. This research program has led to numerous local, national, and international conference presentations, more than 20 key reports for funders, and nine peer-reviewed publications. The reports generated have influenced policy and practices, including standardized practices for recording developmental assessment outcomes.


Dr. Poon completed her doctoral work in Special Education at UBC and postdoctoral fellowship with HELP through a joint award from the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation (CHSRF) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

Research Interests

Dr. Poon has led multi-year investigations involving extensive collaboration with the provincial government, regional health authorities, and community agencies. Her research interests include: population-level early identification and early intervention for children with special needs, complex systems of coordinated service delivery and supports, family-centered services, integrated child health information systems, as well as community-based research regarding social determinants of children's health and development. She currently has two programs of research: 1) social influences on the health and development of young children (a.k.a., Community Systems); and, 2) population-level surveillance of disabilities and chronic health conditions emerging in early childhood.


Dr. Poon’s teaching has related to community systems, bio-eco-social influences on child development, program evaluation, applied research methods, qualitative research methods, community-level determinants on well-being, and social contextual factors influencing prevalence of developmental vulnerabilities.

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