At an early age, psychology alumnae Dr. Christine Chambers knew she wanted to be a child psychologist when she grew up. After reading a book about a child psychologist, she was hooked. This led her to UBC to study with Dr. Kenneth Craig, one of the world’s leading experts in the psychology of pain.
Her lifelong dream was realized in 2001 when she completed her doctorate in clinical psychology. Chambers is now a clinical psychologist, Canada Research Chair in Children’s Pain and a Killam Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology & Neuroscience at Dalhousie University. She has been identified as one of Canada’s top 10 most productive women in clinical psychology.
Her extensive research, based in the Centre for Pediatric Pain Research, explores the developmental, psychological, and social influences on children’s pain, with a focus on how parents and families factor into pain management in children.
"A consistent thread to my research over the years has been my focus on the role of parents in children’s pain. Parents want to support their children when they have pain, but often don’t know how. It’s been interesting to watch how my research program has shifted over the years from doing research on parents, to engaging parents as partners in my research."
"This is very much consistent with the current focus on patient-oriented research that is dominating the field of health research right now. Working with parents to improve pain management in children has been most rewarding."
As a mother of four, Chambers wanted her work to benefit her own children when they were in pain. This led her to examine her approach and take her research from evidence to influence. To do this, Dr. Chambers launched It Doesn’t Have to Hurt, a science-media partnership to mobilize evidence about children’s pain to parents. In partnership with Erica Ehm’s YummyMummyClub.ca, the initiative translates scientific knowledge about children’s pain management into blog posts, YouTube videos, Facebook polls, Instagram images, and Twitter parties.
Chambers is also tackling the problem of pain in children with cancer by developing Making Cancer Less Painful for Kids, a campaign in partnership with the Cancer Knowledge Network.
Using a media-driven approach, these initiatives provide parents with evidence-based research about how to manage needle pain and lessen pain for babies and young children today.