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HELP’s Year in Review: Reflecting on Achievements and Looking Ahead to 2024

As we bid farewell to 2023, we would like to take a moment to reflect on a year filled with accomplishments and milestones. The past twelve months have been marked by significant events that have furthered our commitment to improving the health and well-being of all children.

New Reports & Tools for the Child Development Monitoring System

Last December, HELP released the Early Development Instrument (EDI) Wave 8 Provincial Summary, providing invaluable insights into the state of early childhood development in our province. This comprehensive report has since served as a helpful resource for policymakers, educators, and community partners alike.

In a continuous effort to enhance accessibility and engagement, HELP launched two online interactive dashboards for the EDI and the Middle Years Development Instrument (MDI). These user-friendly tools empower stakeholders to explore and utilize data effectively, fostering informed decision-making in the realm of childhood development.

Milestones for Indigenous Initiatives at HELP

A momentous occasion unfolded this fall as HELP celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC). Two decades of collaborative efforts underscore the committee’s dedication to supporting HELP’s deeper understanding of the social, environmental, and cultural determinants of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis children’s health and well-being.

On October 5, ASC and HELP hosted a celebration in the First Nations Longhouse in honour of the committee’s 20th anniversary.

HELP also introduced a new Indigenous data request process earlier this year for participating school districts. These data can inform the work of Indigenous Education Councils and Indigenous organizations in supporting children and families. Data can be requested by any First Nations, Inuit, and Métis governments, communities, and organizations.

Growing Connections Across UBC & Beyond

The Honourable Mitzi Dean, British Columbia’s Minister of Children and Family Development, graced HELP with a visit this past September, emphasizing the significance of HELP’s work in contributing to policies that shape the well-being of children and families in the province.

L-R: Dr. Mariana Brussoni (Director), Hon. Mitzi Dean, Kinwa Bluesky, Shannon Piedt, Maddison Spenrath, Lori Huston

The Ministry of Education and Child Care also partnered with HELP over the past year to build capacity in Compassionate Systems Leadership province-wide, aiming to create a sustainable infrastructure to support the education system and integrate compassion into everyday work.

On National Child Day, UBC’s School of Population and Public Health released an in-depth profile of HELP. This feature highlighted our organization’s impact as well as some of the researchers dedicated to HELP’s mission of all children thriving in healthy societies.

HELP also welcomed four new faculty and affiliate faculty members, including Dr. Matt Carwana (UBC Pediatrics, BCCH), Dr. Nicole Catherine (SFU Children’s Health Policy Centre), Dr. Emily Jenkins (UBC Nursing), and Dr. Christine Voss (UBC Pediatrics). These additions bring diverse perspectives and skills to our collaborative efforts in advancing childhood research and initiatives.

Looking Forward to 2024

As we move into 2024, HELP is excited to announce new additions to our esteemed faculty and affiliates. Stay tuned for updates as we continue to strengthen our team and broaden our expertise!

We also hope you will mark your calendars for February 1, 2024, as HELP hosts the Pre-Conference Day of the Early Years Conference in Vancouver. This event promises to be a gathering of minds passionate about early childhood development, providing a platform for professional development, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing.

In closing, we express our gratitude to the dedicated individuals, partners, and communities that have been integral to HELP’s success over the past year. Together, we look forward to another year of impactful research, collaboration, and advocacy in support of every child’s right to a healthy start in life.