Child Health Symposium

Children in Context: Optimizing Environments in a Changing World to Support Child Health and Well-Being

Child Health SymposiumThe Child Health Symposium is a collaborative presentation of Western University's Faculty of Health Sciences and the Thames Valley Children's Centre. It provides an opportunity for families, service leaders, researchers, educators and students from all disciplines to:

  • Share their knowledge, ideas and best practices for service delivery
  • Present current research interests, questions and findings
  • Learn more about the child health research happening in our community
  • Network and build relationships and collaborations with others (e.g., youth, families, students, service providers, educators, researchers) in our community in the area of child health and well-being

Event Details

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Online Virtual Event

Keynote address, clinical and research presentations, panel of speakers

Fees: The Child Health Symposium is FREE. Limited spaces are available. Please register by May 10


The deadline to register is May 10.

Joint Child Health Poster Session

This year we are collaborating with many different disciplines and programs to highlight some of the research and work that is being done in child health and well-being.

Join us for the Joint Child Health Poster Session during the late afternoon on May 19, 2021.

This poster session is co-presented by: Department of Paediatrics, Child and Adolescent Mental Health, Children's Health Foundation, Children's Health Research Institute, Children's Hospital London Health Sciences Centre, Western's Collaborative in Developmental Biology, Developmental Disabilities Program, Paediatric Surgery, Schulich Medicine and Dentistry, Thames Valley Children’s Centre, Western University's Faculty of Health Sciences, and Western University

Make it a 2-Day Event:

  • Child Health Research Day; May 19, 2021
  • The Child Health Symposium: May 20, 2021
  • Registration details will be posted

About the Keynote Speaker

Jason Gilliland

Jason Gilliland, BA (Hon), MA, MArch, PhD

Director, Human Environments Analysis Laboratory (Western)
Director, Urban Development Program (Western)
Professor - Western University: Department of Geography, School of Health Studies, Department of Paediatrics, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics
Scientist, Children's Health Research Institute
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute

Dr. Jason Gilliland is Director of the Urban Development Program and Professor in the Department of Geography at Western University. He is also cross-appointed to Western’s School of Health Studies, Department of Paediatrics, and Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and is a Scientist with the Children's Health Research Institute and the Lawson Health Research Institute. Dr. Gilliland is an award-winning teacher and researcher who is known internationally for his research on urban planning and public health issues, particularly for the novel ways he applies geographical tools such as GIS mapping to child health issues. In 2012 he was honored with the ESRI Canada Award for Excellence in GIS for “innovation in the field of Geographic Information Systems”, and in 2009 he was recognized with the prestigious Julian M. Szeicz Award from the Canadian Association of Geographers for significant research achievement by an early career scholar for his contribution to research on children in the city. In 2012 he was awarded the title of “Faculty Scholar” at Western for "sustained excellence in all scholarly activities". His current research examines the relationship between modern urban planning and development practices and various children’s health issues such as healthy eating, physical inactivity, mental health, and injury, and his work has appeared in leading international journals such as the American Journal of Public Health, Health & Place, and the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Dr. Gilliland believes that by gaining a better understanding of how environmental characteristics influence population health and well-being, we can better inform public policymakers and city planners of how to make effective changes to public policy and neighbourhood design to promote the health and quality of life of vulnerable populations. As part of their training in the Human Environments Analysis Lab (HEAL), Dr. Gilliland insists that his graduate students regularly engage with him in community-engaged learning and knowledge exchange activities with key policymakers, decision-makers, and stakeholder groups. Dr. Gilliland is also deeply committed to building links between the University and the community at large, and regularly applies his knowledge and expertise while serving on numerous boards and committees of governmental and non-profit organizations in Canada. In 2010 he won an ‘Angel Award’ for his ongoing community service in the Old East Village of London, and in 2019 the HEAL was selected as a finalist for the Pillar Community Innovation Award for its positive impact on community.


The Human Environments Analysis Laboratory:

Panel of Speakers

Panel discussion will focus on: Optimizing Home, School, Community, and Natural Environments to Support Child Health and Well-Being 

Colin KingColin King, PhD, C. Psych.

Associate Professor - Western University, Faculty of Education
Psychologist and Director of the Child and Youth Development Centre (Western University)

Dr. Colin King is a School and Clinical Child Psychologist and Director of the Child and Youth Development Clinic (CYDC) at Western University, an interdisciplinary training clinic for graduate students in school, counselling, and clinical psychology, and social work professional programs across Western.

Colin has trained and worked in a variety of community, hospital, and mental health settings with children and youth experiencing learning, behaviour, and social-emotional difficulties. Prior to arriving at Western, he worked in private practice and as a Psychologist and Coordinator of Psychological Services in the Thames Valley District School Board. As a parent to two young boys, he is always striving to follow the same recommendations he provides for other caregivers, with a keen awareness that "knowing" and "doing" are often two different pathways.


Child and Youth Development Clinic (CYDC):

Trish TuckerTrish Tucker, PhD

Associate Professor - Western University, School of Occupational Therapy
Director - Child Health and Physical Activity Lab (Western University)

Dr. Trish Tucker is an Associate Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy and the Director of the Child Health and Physical Activity Lab at Western University. Dr. Tucker’s expertise are in the broad areas of health promotion, physical activity, and childhood obesity prevention. Her primary area of research is the measurement and promotion of physical activity with a particular focus on preschool-aged children. Trish’s current research includes: (1) identifying and modifying environmental influences on young children’s physical activity and sedentary time at childcare; (2) exploring the effects of introducing physical activity policies in childcare centres; and (3) developing and testing an online physical activity training module for implementation during early childhood educators’ pre-service schooling.


Samadhi Mora SeverinoSamadhi Mora Severino, MA

PhD Candidate, York University - Health Policy and Equity: Examining the Intersections of MAiD, Home Care Access and Palliative Care Access for People with Disabilities in Canada
Board Member - Public Health Ontario Research Ethics

Samadhi Mora Severino is parent of two children — one with complex needs and severe disabilities. She is an emerging equity researcher in the areas of health and disability services/policy. Additionally, she is an advisor for VPS which advocates for safeguards with medical assistance in dying (MAiD) for people with disabilities in Canada. Samadhi’s experience includes research with children with complex disabilities, adults with disabilities, and Indigenous People with Disabilities living in Ontario. As a PhD student at York University she uses mixed methods and participatory-action methodology in relation to MAiD, home care access, and palliative care access for People with Disabilities in Canada. Prior to this, she completed a Master’s degree in critical disability studies where she conducted primary qualitative research on the inequities of accessing home care supports for the Unpaid Caregivers of Children with Medical Complex Needs in Ontario. Since 2014, she has worked in a leadership role in Ontario to support and advocate for parents of children with disabilities navigating the Ontario Health care system. She has also served as a member of the technical working group for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to develop a provincial program for self-directed funding for children with medical complexity in Ontario. Finally, she is currently a community board member for the research ethics board at Public Health Ontario.

LinkedIn Profile:

Conference Proceedings

  • 9:00 a.m. – Official Start and Welcome
  • 9:15 a.m. – Panel Presentations: Optimizing Home, School, Community, and Natural Environments to Support Child Health and Well-Being
    • Colin King –Western University, Faculty of Education
    • Trish Tucker – Western University, School of Occupational Therapy
    • Samadhi Mora Severino – York University, Health Policy and Equity
  • 10:15 a.m. – Break
  • 10:35 a.m. – Session 1: Presentation Clusters (breakout sessions)
    • Cluster A: COVID-19 and Children's/Youth's Mental Health
    • Cluster B: Inclusive Education, Intervention, and Assessment
    • Cluster C: Youth Transitions and Intervention
    • Cluster D: Infants, Childhood, and the Environment
  • 11:45 p.m. – Lunch
  • 12:15 p.m. – Networking Opportunities and Activities
  • 1:00 p.m. – Session 2: Presentation Clusters (breakout sessions)
    • Cluster E: Virtual Care Delivery and COVID-19
    • Cluster F: Healthcare Provider Perspectives
    • Cluster G: Youth and Parent Perspectives
    • Cluster H: Physical Activity and Determinants of Health
  • 2:10 p.m. – Break
  • 2:30 p.m. – Keynote Speaker
    • Jason Gilliland, BA (Hon), MA, MArch, PhD
  • 3:20 p.m. – Last Session, Final Thoughts for the Day
  • 3:30 p.m. – END

Additional Information

For more information about this event, contact:

Faculty of Health Sciences

Gord MacDonald
Research Officer
519-661-2111 ext. 80505

Thames Valley Children's Centre

Carrie Connell (event inquiries)
Education and Program Coordinator 
519-685-8700 x53367