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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2011CFD0003-000059

Jan. 24, 2011

Ministry of Children and Family Development
Simon Fraser University

 

 

LEADING-EDGE RESEARCH TO ADDRESS YOUTH VIOLENCE

 

VANCOUVER – A new $4.5-million B.C. Leadership Chair at Simon Fraser University (SFU) will develop leading-edge strategies to reduce and prevent violent and aggressive behaviour in children and youth, Children and Family Development Minister Mary Polak announced today.

 

Dr. Robert McMahon, an internationally renowned clinical child psychologist, has been appointed as the B.C. Leadership Chair in Proactive Approaches to Reducing Risk for Violence Among Children and Youth. This is the first chair of its kind in the province, with a goal of establishing B.C. as a national and international leader in the development of effective intervention strategies to reduce and prevent violent and aggressive behaviour in children and youth.

 

“We know that vulnerable children and youth need access to a continuum of integrated services, encouraging healthy growth, functioning and pro-social development,” said Polak. “This chair will develop positive solutions for children and youth who struggle with violent and aggressive behaviour issues. The chair’s work will be incredibly beneficial not only to children, youth and their families, but ultimately to our province as a whole.”

 

The chair will develop preventative and treatment interventions for children and youth with conduct problems, built on evidence-based good practices. Conduct problems include significant levels of disruptive, aggressive or violent behaviour.

 

“There is a pressing need for more research and preventative programs in these areas,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Science and Universities. “The work of Dr. McMahon and his colleagues will help B.C. play a leading role in developing intervention programs that address violent and aggressive behaviour among young people.”

 

“As a member of the Vancouver Police Department, I have witnessed first-hand the impact of youth violence and youth crime on society,” said Inspector John de Haas, Vancouver Police Department. “Early intervention is key – the sooner you identify and address the factors of youth violence and aggression the better. We believe this chair will help develop effective strategies and programs to better address youth violence and aggression, which in turn, will help troubled youth avoid a life of crime and violence, and make our communities safer.”

 

The total chair endowment is $4.5 million, with $2.25 million provided by the Province through its $56.25-million Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF), and matching funds provided by SFU, including a leadership gift from Len and Judy Libin whose son, Joel, was a victim of youth violence. McMahon is the twenty-second LEEF chair to be appointed.

 

“I am very grateful to SFU and the government of British Columbia for this opportunity,” said McMahon. “The leadership chair will allow me to launch a program of interdisciplinary research to better understand the causes and development of violence and other serious conduct problems in children and adolescents, and, most critically, to develop more effective prevention and treatment strategies.”

 

“Dr. McMahon’s expertise will serve as a seed to crystallize SFU’s strength in clinical psychology, neurosciences, criminology and health sciences,” said SFU vice-president, research, Mario Pinto. “He will play a leadership role in critical research that informs intervention strategies in the problem of youth violence.”

 

The chair will also establish a new Institute for the Reduction of Youth Violence, at both SFU and the Child and Family Research Institute. The institute, supported by a $500,000 grant from the Ministry of Children and Family Development, will conduct research on risk and protective factors and developmental pathways of youth violence and other conduct problems, as well as evidence-based preventive and treatment interventions. It will bring together SFU researchers in psychology, criminology and health sciences, researchers in the developmental neurosciences and child health research group at the Child and Family Research Institute and researchers at other B.C. universities. 

 

The Leading Edge Endowment Fund (LEEF) was created by the B.C. government in 2002, to encourage social and economic development in the province. Total investment by the government is $56.25 million to create 29 permanently endowed chairs. Through LEEF, 20 leadership research chairs are being established at B.C.’s four research-intensive universities to further medical, social, environmental and technological research. The fund is also establishing nine regional innovation chairs to create opportunities in communities through B.C.'s colleges, institutes and teaching-focused universities.

 

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A backgrounder follows.

 

Media Contacts:

 

Christine Ash

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-1639

250 812-3616 (cell)

Richard Overgaard

Simon Fraser University

Communications

778 782-8985

778 836-9910 (cell)

 

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.


BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2011CFD0003-000059

Jan. 24, 2011

Ministry of Children and Family Development
Simon Fraser University

 

 

 

 

LEADING-EDGE RESEARCH TO ADDRESS YOUTH VIOLENCE

 

Focus of chair

 

The chair will focus on five main areas of activity:

 

·         Building Capacity – research on developing and promoting evidence-based prevention and treatment programs.

·         Risk Assessment and Management – research to test the validity of various risk assessment tools appropriate for use in B.C.

·         Prevention and Early Intervention – evaluation of the effectiveness of various universal and targeted intervention programs.

·         Treatment and Support – development and evaluation of improved treatment for violent young offenders, in collaboration with youth psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

·         Information and Training – regular international conferences will be organized at SFU, bringing leading international researchers and practitioners to B.C.

 

 

Conduct disorder

 

Approximately 40,000 children in B.C. are affected with conduct disorder, which is the child psychiatric condition that applies to those children and youth with the most frequent and severe levels of conduct problems. About 50 per cent maintain a pattern of anti-social behaviour and other mental-health challenges into adulthood. As a result, the social and economic costs associated with conduct disorder are extremely high.

 

 

Dr. Robert McMahon

 

McMahon is a clinical child psychologist who has served as both a professor (from 1987 to 2010) and the director of the child clinical psychology program (from 1991 to 1999 and from 2003 to 2010) at the University of Washington in Seattle. McMahon has also served as an associate professor in psychology at the University of British Columbia and at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

 

With extensive experience in the development, assessment, prevention, and treatment of conduct problems in children and adolescents, McMahon is an influential world leader who has delivered some 275 keynote addresses, conference presentations and workshops in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.


 

 

He is the editor-in-chief of the research journal Prevention Science, and has published 12 books in addition to some 175 book chapters and journal articles. McMahon has received more than $18 million in research grants throughout his career.

 

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Media Contacts:

 

Christine Ash

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Children and Family Development

250 356-1639

250 812-3616 (cell)

Richard Overgaard

Simon Fraser University

Communications

778 782-8985

778 836-9910 (cell)

 

 

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at www.gov.bc.ca.