On the road for Connections…

15 09 2010

Karen will be facilitating four regional sessions for Connections this month, beginning in St. John’s on September 17th. These sessions will bring together service providers and policymakers for a full day of knowledge exchange about women with substance use issues. Results from Connections’ recent meta-analysis will be shared with participants, who will then inform knowledge exchange planning and strategies to be pursued by researchers during the next phase of Connections’ work. The goal of Connections research is to improve services for women with substance use issues and their children in Canada.  

Scheduled sessions: 

  • Friday, September 17 – St. John’s, Newfoundland
  • Thursday, September 23 – Vancouver, BC
  • Friday, September 24 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
  • Friday, October 1 – Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) provided $1.4 million in funding over 5 years for Connections research. The objective is to identify the research needs of nearly 800 agencies working with women who have substance use issues across Canada, and to then develop, implement and evaluate knowledge translation and exchange strategies.  

Connections spokesperson, Alison Niccols, says “findings will help improve services, reduce costs (in terms of crime, unemployment, neonatal intensive care, etc.), and ultimately improve the health of a vulnerable, marginalized population of women and children at high risk for poor outcomes”. The research is timely, she points out, given that substance abuse during pregnancy has been identified as a major public health concern. At least 24,000 Canadians under the age of 21 have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and the annual cost to Canadians is more than $344 million according to Connections. 



Maternal use of alcohol and other drugs can have profound effects on child health and development. Many women who continue to abuse substances after childbirth have challenging life circumstances, including lack of affordable housing, diminished capacity for parenting, and difficulties providing stable, nurturing environments for their children. 


Led by researchers from McMaster University and McMaster Children’s Hospital, the Connections project involves collaboration among researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of British Columbia.   

For more information: www.connectionscanada.ca 



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