Susa Benseler, MD, PhD; Director, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine; Strategy Lead, Child Health and Wellness Research Strategy; Husky Energy Chair in Child and Maternal Health; Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Research; University of Calgary
Children’s Healthcare Canada’s strategic priorities include informing the development of innovative and integrated health systems and advocating to improve children’s health and health systems. The SPARK: Conversations podcast series is a new solutions-focused podcast that connects the child health community with system leaders who tackle wicked problems and discuss ideas to inform the development of innovative and integrated systems serving children and youth.
Dr. Benseler has completely re-organized and improved the research environment for basic and clinical research. Dr. Benseler has strengthened the relationship between the Department of Paediatrics and the research institute with transparency, inclusiveness, and teamwork. This has led to remarkable new research partnerships between basic scientists and clinical researchers. Dr. Benseler has been able to develop a new level of community engagement which is extra-ordinary. Dr. Benseler has successfully stewarded the Child Health Research Platform as one of two winning submissions for the Cross-Cutting multi-million dollar initiative at the University of Calgary. ACHRI is the only research institute with a clear focus on research within the University, across campus, and in our community. These developments have all been the brainchild of Dr. Susanne Benseler and her team at ACHRI.
Children are the foundation of Canada’s future, and as such, research in child health is research on the future of our nation. Conducting health research with children is an ethical imperative to understanding treatment and prevention effectiveness, relative costs of child healthcare, and tactics to advance equitable healthcare. We had the opportunity to sit down with groundbreaking child health researcher, Dr. Susa Benseler, to understand the current landscape and trajectory of child health research. Dr. Benseler explains the need for an ongoing, national conversation, outlines why a cross-sectoral approach is impactful, and gives advice to others hoping to ‘scale up’ their child health research plans. She sheds light on her interdisciplinary vision to advance children’s healthcare in a positive direction.