Wednesday
Feb202013

Dr. Clyde Hertzman - A Champion for Children 

It is with sadness that we mourn the loss of Dr. Clyde Hertzman. Dr. Hertzman was a champion and advocate for the importance of early childhood development, social justice and for the elimination of poverty.

I was fortunate to work with Dr. Hertzman in a small capacity as a research assistant at Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), as a grad student at the University of British Columbia (UBC).  Through his clear explanations of the complex interaction between biology and environment he created opportunities for us to start to understand the interplay of genetics, epigenetics, neuroscience and developmental sciences. He simply explained that children’s development is impacted both positively and negatively by the interaction of nature (genes) and nurture (environment). Children who live with adverse conditions such as poverty, inappropriate care or violence experience poorer emotional, physical and mental health into adolescence and well into adulthood. Conversely, children’s health and developmental outcomes can also be maximized by safe, healthy, nurturing, and stimulating environments.

In the creation of the HELP at UBC and through his tireless work across BC and Alberta with the implementation of the Early Development Indicator (EDI), Dr. Hertzman supported opportunities for discussion and dialogue with communities and researchers to find unique and community specific ways to create environments to support healthy child development. 

The Early Years Continuum Project (EYCP), a project managed by Success By 6® was built upon many of the principles of his research. The purpose of the project is to work in consultation with parents and community partners to help communities to explore the continuum of services and programs that create a healthy, nurturing and stimulating environments for children and their families. We were fortunate to have Dr. Hertzman serve as expert advisor on the evaluation team for this project.

It is critical that we create healthy and strong communities free of poverty, so the environments that children live within will truly make a difference in the short and long term developmental outcomes for the children of Alberta. We are all now charged with the work that Dr. Hertzman started and it will be in tribute to him that we will continue on the path he set forth.

Blog written by Mary Stewart, Manager of the EYCP

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