Who we are

MICYRN is a federated, charitable organization founded in 2006 with the purpose of benefiting maternal and child health. Joining together 20 maternal-child research organizations across Canada, the network’s members are committed to harmonizing research processes, implementing best practices, and supporting collaborations both nationally and beyond in order to improve the quality, effectiveness and uptake of research.

Our Members

MICYRN incorporated as a federal not-for-profit society in January 2011. This process set the official bylaws by which MICYRN is governed, and helped define the members of MICYRN to be “a Canadian organization engaged in maternal, infant, child and/or youth health research.” MICYRN members include all 17 of the child/child-maternal and the 3 largest maternal health research organizations in Canada. The MICYRN member organizations are based at academic health centers affiliated with the 17 medical schools in the country. Each member organization names a voting representative.

Affiliated Networks

The need to pool cases, combined with a collegial collaborative culture, has spawned practice-evaluation, research & learning networks (PERLs) for maternity care and virtually every specialty area of pediatrics. These networks are devoted to addressing the most significant problems related to their specialty. Many of Canada's PERLs connect internationally, contributing to global advances in maternal and child health, and ensuring that Canadians have early access to new diagnostic tests, interventions and care models.

Collectively, this rich diversity of networks captures virtually all the neonatal and pediatric intensive care beds, all of the academic pediatric emergency, surgical and anesthesia services, most subspecialty pediatric practices, and 70% of the high risk maternity beds in the country.

The following networks are formally affiliated with MICYRN. Click HERE for a snapshot of research network activity across the country. If you are interested in joining our growing network coalition, please refer to the affiliation terms of reference and contact us.

Board of Directors

MICYRN’s has an effective and engaged Board of Directors that enables member organizations and network affiliates to achieve common objectives. Current Board members are:

  • Brent Scott, MD, CM, FRCDC
    Professor in the Department of Paediatrics/Medicine, University of Calgary Director, Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Dr. Scott completed his medical training at McGill University, Montreal, QC in 1976. He then undertook training in general paediatrics at the University of Alberta. In 1980, he was awarded a Medical Research Council of Canada fellowship that allowed him to continue with subspecialty training in paediatric gastroenterology and a concurrent Master of Science degree at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto and the University of Toronto.

Dr. Scott joined the Faculty of Medicine at U of C in 1982 and has brought his expertise to the classroom as a Professor of Paediatrics in the Division of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition (DPGN) at Alberta Children's Hospital and the University of Calgary, and offered his skills as an active clinician and researcher. In 1998, he was appointed Professor and Head, Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary; Head, Regional Clinical Department, Paediatrics, Calgary Health Region; and Chair in Paediatric Research, Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation. From 2007 to 2009, he was appointed as Vice Dean, Faculty of Medicine. In April of 2009, Dr. Brent Scott accepted the role of Director, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute for Child and Maternal Health (ACHRI). Executive Director since 2012, Dr. Scott works collaboratively with Alberta Health Services; the University of Calgary and the Institute’s sponsoring Foundation, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation to achieve a shared vision of “A healthier and more prosperous future for our children through research”. The Institute’s mission is to foster healthy biological and psychosocial trajectories for babies, children and youth through excellence in research, innovation, knowledge translation and education.

Dr. Scott has always been a strong proponent of developing excellence in education and research to improve the provision of clinical care. He has received a number of awards and distinctions including the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Clinical Investigator award in 1985, followed in 1991 by an AHFMR Scholar award and in 1996 a Senior Scholar award. He was recognized by the Promotions Committee, Faculty of Medicine, with the Distinguished Service Award for excellence in research and education in 1997. In 2003, the ACH Medical Staff Association Award of Excellence officially recognized his exceptional work and leadership on behalf of the children of Southern Alberta; and in 2010, he was awarded a Certificate of Merit from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. In 2016, he was recognized as Canada's top pediatrician when he received the Dr. Alan Ross Award. He holds the Husky Energy Chair in Child and Maternal Health, as well as the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Research.

  • Stephanie A. Atkinson, PhD, FCAHS
    Professor, Department of Pediatrics
    Associate Member in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
    Special Professional Staff in McMaster Children’s Hospital. Hamilton, ON

Dr. Atkinson is tenured professor and nutrition clinician-scientist in the Department of Pediatrics and Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and Special Professional Staff in McMaster Children’s Hospital. Current research encompasses several clinical trial and epidemiological investigations (funded by CIHR, Heart & Stroke Foundation and Dairy Farmers of Canada) of the environmental (nutrition), genetic and biochemical factors during fetal, neonatal and early childhood life that play a role in defining the offspring phenotype and as risk determinants for non-communicable diseases. She leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in the conduct of randomized clinical intervention trials of nutrition and exercise in pregnancy designed to optimize maternal and child health outcomes including bone health and neurocognitive functioning.

Current volunteer service activities in national and international agencies include Chair of the Institute Advisory Board of the CIHR-Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes, past-chair of the Board of Directors of MICYRN, Executive of the Board of Trustees of the North American International Life Sciences Institute (Washington, DC), the Scientific Advisory Council of Osteoporosis Canada and Center/Leader and Executive of the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP). In knowledge translation activities Dr. Atkinson served on expert advisory panels struck by Health Canada, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplements of NIH that involved development of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), Dietary Guidelines for Americans and feeding practice guidelines for infants.

Recent awards of recognition include election as Fellow of the American Society of Nutrition and of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences; the Danone Institute Distinguished Nutrition Leadership Award; the Carmelle Murphy Alumnae Award of Distinction from Brescia University at Western University; a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; a Doctorate of Science, honoris causa, from Western University in 2006; and the Khursheed Jeejeebhoy Award for Best Application of Clinical Nutrition Research Findings to Clinical Practice from the Canadian Nutrition Society.

  • William Avison, PhD, FCAHS
    Scientist and Chair, Children’s Health & Therapeutics, Children’s Health Research Institute
    Scientist and Assistant Director, Lawson Health Research Institute
    Cross-appointed in Dept. of Paediatrics and Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Dr. Avison is a sociologist with expertise in the sociology and epidemiology of mental health. His current research focuses on the ways in which socio-economic disadvantage and various types of social stressors affect the mental health of families and children. He has published widely in international journals in sociology and psychiatry on a number of issues in the sociology of mental health. He has held operating grants from Health Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research since 1989. He was named as a Senior Research Fellow of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation from 1994-2000. He was the 2004 recipient of the Society for the Study of Social Problems' James R. Greenley Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociology of Mental Health. He was also named recipient of the 2009 Leonard I. Pearlin Award for Distinguished Contributions to the Sociological Study of Mental Health from the American Sociological Association. In 2012, he was elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Dr. Avison comes off a two-year term as Chair of the Council for Canadian Child Health Research. He is also a past Chair of the Medical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and past Chair of the Sociology of Mental Health Section of the ASA and of the Psychiatric Sociology Division of the Society for the Study of Social Problems. He is the Founding Editor of Society & Mental Health, the official journal of the ASA Section on the Sociology of Mental Health and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. He has served on scientific review committees for the Ontario Mental Health Foundation, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and National Institutes of Health. He has also chaired numerous grant review committees for the National Health Research and Development Program of Health Canada, including the Child Mental Health, Child Health, National Population Health Survey, and the Rehabilitation Outcomes Committees. He is the past chair of the Children’s Health Committee of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Public, Community, and Population Health Review Committee of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He chairs the Selection Committee of the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program.

Dr. Avison is Past-Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Mental Health Foundation. He has also been a board member of Madame Vanier Children's Services, Family Service London, the London and Middlesex Co-ordinating Council for Children and Youth, and the London Inter-Community Health Centre. He is a former Chair of the Resource Steering Committee of Kids Count, a primary prevention and health promotion program in 11 neighborhoods in London, and was the first Chair of Investing in Children in London. He has served on the City of London Mayor's Anti-Poverty Task Force. He was also the Academic Advisor to the Western Mustangs Men's Intercollegiate Basketball Program from 1993 - 2007. In 2004, he received the Vanier Roots and Wings Award for contributions to family and children's mental health.

  • Sandra T. Davidge, PhD
    Director of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI)
    Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology at the University of Alberta

Dr. Sandy Davidge is a professor in the departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Physiology at the University of Alberta. In 2012, Dr. Davidge was appointed Executive Director of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI). WCHRI was founded in 2006 as a partnership with the University of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation and the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation with a shared vision “To harness the power of research innovation for a healthy future for children and women”. WCHRI’s membership is made up of over 400 leading researchers, clinician-scientists, academics, health-care professionals and service providers from academic and community settings who are focused on improving health outcomes from women and children.

As a leader in perinatal research, Dr. Davidge holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Maternal and Perinatal Cardiovascular Health and is a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Science. She is the current President (2017/2018) for the international Society for Reproductive Investigation. Dr. Davidge serves on many national and international grant panels and is on the editorial board for the American Journal of Physiology. Dr. Davidge is a founding Council Member for Canadian Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) Society, an Advisory Board Member for the Preeclampsia Foundation of Canada and Board Director for PolicyWise for Children and Families. Dr. Davidge’s research program encompasses studying cardiovascular function as it relates to 1) complications in pregnancy (preeclampsia and maternal aging) and 2) developmental origins of adult cardiovascular diseases. The Davidge laboratory combines their expertise in pregnancy research and aging to understand long-term consequences of an adverse pregnancy on cardiovascular health of the offspring as they age. Dr. Davidge has published over 210 original peer-reviewed manuscripts and 26 review articles in these areas and is currently funded by a Foundation Grant from Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

  • Terry Klassen, MD, MSc, FRCPC
    CEO and Scientific Director, Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM)
    Head, Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba
    Medical Director, Child Health Program, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority

Dr. Terry Klassen has been the Director of Research for the Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba and Associate Dean (Academic) in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, in charge of the George and Fay Yee Center for Healthcare Innovation since September, 2010. From 1999 to 2009, Terry served as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, Director of the Alberta Research Centre for Health Evidence and Director of the Evidence-based Practice Center at the University of Alberta. He is a clinician scientist whose clinical base is Pediatric Emergency Medicine, and has been active in Pediatric Emergency Research Canada collaborating on a national research program involving randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews and knowledge translation. He has a consistent record of national and international peer reviewed funding, along with a publication record that has included many articles in the highest impact medical journals. In 2009, Terry co-founded StaR Child Health, an international group aimed at improving the design, conduct and publication of randomized controlled trials in children. In recognition for his lifetime contributions, he was elected into the Institute of Medicine in 2010 in the foreign associate category. He is also a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Terry’s research has had a large impact on the practice of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, which was recognized when he received a 2011 Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Canadian Medical Association Journal Top Achievements in Health Research Award. In 2012 Dr. Klassen was appointed to the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

  • Katie Lafferty
    Executive Director, Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery

Katie Lafferty is the Executive Director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery, a national organization focused on collaborative research, training, and knowledge translation in stroke recovery. Prior to this role, Ms. Lafferty served for twelve years as the Executive Director of the Canadian Stroke Network, a non-profit entity funded by the federal Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. In that role, she oversaw numerous programs and initiatives including the development and implementation of the Canadian Stroke Strategy and the Canadian Stroke Congress.

Ms. Lafferty currently serves on the Board of Governors of The Ottawa Hospital and the Board of Directors of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (Vice Chair), CorHealth Ontario, and the Maternal Infant Child and Youth Research Network. She also serves on the Steering Committees of the Canadian Vascular Network and the Canadian Stroke Trials for Optimized Results initiative. Since 2013, Ms. Lafferty has assisted the NCE program in reviewing applications for new networks as both an Expert Panel participant and Chair and most recently chaired a Multidisciplinary Assessment Committee for the Canadian Foundation for Innovation.

In 2006, Ms. Lafferty and her husband founded Watson’s Pharmacy and Compounding Centre in Old Ottawa East, and in 2012 they opened a second pharmacy on Wellington St. West. In 2013, Watson’s won a national Commitment to Care award for its integrated pharmacy program. Prior to 2001, Ms. Lafferty was a Principal Consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers in Washington D.C. and London, England. Ms. Lafferty holds a BSc in biology from Queen’s University and a Master of Science in Industrial Administration from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 2010, Ms. Lafferty was recognized by the Ottawa Business Journal as one of Ottawa’s “Top 40 under 40” for her contributions in the health sector.

  • Suzanne Tough, MSc, PhD
    Professor, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Suzanne Tough is a professor with the Departments of Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary, and a Health Scholar supported by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions. She was the inaugural scientific director of the Maternal, Newborn, Child and Youth Strategic Clinical Network and the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research. Dr Tough is a lead scientist on the development of a child data repository, which will enable the re-use of research data to enhance the development of new knowledge and increase research productivity. Dr Tough is a member of national and international advisory boards, including the Public Health Association of Canada and the World Health Organization Preterm Birth International Consortium. In these roles Dr. Tough has contributed to the development of research strategies and processes that inform policy and practice, and address contemporary issues in knowledge translation and applied research.

Dr Tough has been recognized for her skills in research team development and scientific innovation through a Health Region Peoples’ Choice Award, a University of Alberta Alumni Award of Excellence, and a Global YWCA Women of Vision award. She has led research teams within health care organizations and in academia, and is passionate about collaboration and team science. In these roles Dr. Tough has facilitated the development of team handbooks, governance and accountability structures. The underlying aim of her research program is to optimize birth and childhood outcomes by creating evidence that informs the development of community and clinical programs and influences policy. She leads the Alberta Births Common Data project to harmonize data collection across birth cohorts, and she is the principal investigator of the All Our Babies/Families (AOB/F) Study, a cohort with 3,200 mother-child pairs that has followed mothers from pregnancy through to when their children at eight years of age. The overall vision of the AOB/F research team is to investigate the relative impacts of the social and genetic environments on child health.

Leadership and Coordination

MICYRN's leadership and coordination team, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, manage and operate the coordinating center, which is the network’s resource and knowledge hub. A core staff with complementary skills provides services including meeting logistics, stakeholder communication and knowledge translation, research analytics such as needs assessments and environmental scans, and financial, project and strategic management. All members have access to these services, which would otherwise be costly to acquire individually.

  • Scientific Director
    Anne Junker
    Email: ajunker@cw.bc.ca

    Anne Junker assumed leadership of MICYRN in April 2009. Dr. Junker is an Associate Professor and Associate Head, Faculty Development, in the Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, and in practice at BC Children's Hospital (BCCH) as a pediatric immunologist, specializing in the primary immunodeficiency disorders. She brings to MICYRN 15 years previous experience as senior medical director for BCCH pediatric specialty services, and 10 years as director for clinical research at the Child & Family Research Institute. She is chair of the Quality Committee of the BC Clinical Research Infrastructure Network, and co-chair of the Canadian Child & Youth Health Coalition. As director of MICYRN, she represents Canada on the Coordinating Group of the European Network for Pediatric Research of the European Medicines Agency (Enpr-EMA).

  • Executive Director
    Stephen Barbazuk
    Email: Stephen.Barbazuk@cw.bc.ca

    Stephen Barbazuk joined MICYRN in January 2012. He is responsible for the strategic planning process and the subsequent development, implementation and evaluation of all projects and activities and has management responsibility for the coordination and oversight of all financial, communication and administrative functions in the central office. Stephen’s most recent role prior to joining MICYRN was with the BC Provincial Health Services Authority as Corporate Director, Strategic Planning and Transformation Support. Stephen has a background in Life Sciences, having graduated from the University of British Columbia in Cell and Developmental Biology with subsequent work in Immunology research projects for the Department of Microbiology & Immunology and has since amassed expertise in strategic planning and project management in biotechnology, research and healthcare over the past 15 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) with the Project Management Institute, holds a 6-Sigma Green Belt process improvement certificate and has completed international coach training in order to apply additional skills to support organizations in realizing their vision.

  • Engagement Associate
    Andrea Rudy
    Email: andrea.rudy@cw.bc.ca

    Andrea joined MICYRN in June 2013 with a background in science and communications. As the engagement associate for MICYRN she is responsible for supporting the implementation of the Network’s stakeholder engagement strategy through the development of communications material and engagement process framework for MICYRN’s initiatives and associated policies and procedures for the coordinating centre. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Dalhousie University and a Masters of English in writing from the University of New Brunswick.

  • Administrative Assistant
    Christine Oriel
    Email: christine.oriel@cw.bc.ca

    Christine joined MICYRN in June 2014. In her role as administrative assistant, she is responsible for the day-to-day activities of the Coordinating Centre and providing support to the Board of Directors and Executive team of MICYRN. Prior to her current role, she worked as an executive assistant at Little Mountain Place and as an administrative assistant at Providence Health Care. Christine received her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from California State University, Long Beach.


MICYRN was formed in 2006 and initially funded by the ten children’s hospital foundations through the Children’s Miracle Network start-up grant. We have been fortunate to have sustained support from many of our members, which serves as a testament to the value MICYRN brings to maternal and child health in Canada. This continued support helps ensure MICYRN is in a position to partner its initiatives with national and international ventures. Contributions from other major funding bodies have also been a result of MICYRN members’ support and efforts in the maternal and child health community.

We would like to gratefully recognize all of those organizations who have contributed through the years.