May 21, 2020

New funding announcements for UCalgary Nursing

Dr. Nicole Letourneau's ATTACH program receives CIHR-SPOR partnership grant and City of Calgary Change Can't Wait program supports ASIST training

Nicole Letourneau

Dr. Nicole Letourneau (PhD) is the ACHF Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health and a research professor in the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of ACHRI.

UCalgary Nursing professor Dr. Nicole Letourneau (PhD) and her team have received a CIHR-SPOR partnership grant for their project Attachment and Child Health (ATTACH) Program: Promoting Vulnerable Children’s Health at Scale. ATTACH is a successful psychoeducational intervention program designed with community agencies who serve families of preschoolers affected by parental depression, addictions, domestic violence and poverty.  It aims to improve the parent-child relationship by helping parents understand both their own and their children's thoughts and feelings, resulting in better health and development for the child.

The $1-million+ - funded study will involve a series of intervention sessions with families at risk.  ATTACH facilitators will conduct a series of one-hour sessions over a period of 10 weeks where they videotape free play as well as discuss day-to-day and hypothetical stressful situations with the caregiver(s). 

"A roadmap to health equity for children vulnerable to early adversity is our goal," explains Letourneau who also holds the ACHF* Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health and is a research professor in the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of ACHRI*.

"These interventions perhaps have the greatest potential to improve long-term health outcomes for these kids."

* ACHF - Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation
*ACHRI - Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute

The Faculty of Nursing has received $55,000 from the City of Calgary’s Change Can’t Wait! program to run an ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) for Trainers which will be conducted by the Centre for Suicide Prevention. 

The pilot program will deliver this valuable training to four faculty members, allowing nursing students to learn from these instructors and making these important skills more accessible and affordable to them.  Additionally, there are still barriers within the health-care system related to mental health: supporting education around suicide and incorporating it into the nursing curriculum can go a long way to help in removing stigma.

Change Can’t Wait! is a one-time program, announced in May, intended to find new solutions to help Calgarians struggling with mental health and addiction challenges. The training will hopefully be conducted in the fall.