CCHCSP spells success

Trainees get a head start on their research careers

Sandra HodgettsAs a post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Sandra Hodgetts was keen to get the best possible training and credentials to kick-start her research career.
She was able to achieve this goal after applying for and winning a coveted Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (CCHCSP) post-doctoral award. The CCHCSP provides research training, career development and financial support for promising, aspiring child health clinician scientists across Canada. The Women and Children’s Health Research Institute has been a CCHCSP funding partner since its inception in 2006.
Hodgetts has nothing but praise for the rigorous, demanding program that has launched the careers of a number of leading Alberta researchers. “The program catapulted me into a successful career,” she says. “It taught me the nuts and bolts of being a clinician scientist. It enabled me to network and establish mentorships and transdisciplinary collaborations, which can be hard to come by as a trainee.”
As a CCHCSP trainee, Hodgetts was able to expand her post-doctoral research from the small study she had initially planned into a province-wide look at how families of children with autism navigate supports and services that are available to them. The result was a much more in-depth study with clinical and policy implications that was widely circulated, published and presented to government. The study laid the foundation for Hodgetts’ current research interests, which focus on supports and services that can improve the lives of children with autism and for their families and better integrate them into the community.
Hodgetts, who is an assistant professor of occupational therapy in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and a co-director of the Support Kids Inclusion and Participation Lab (SKIP), has continued her involvement with CCHCSP as a program co-lead at the U of A. “I am a big champion of the program. It made me a stronger investigator and a bigger picture thinker. I would like to see other young trainees have the opportunity to receive these benefits.”
The CCHCSP program and awards are funded by the generous support of the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation through WCHRI.