Dr. Jennifer Zwicker has been involved with Kids Brain Health Network since 2013, and has worked with the Network in many different capacities. Most recently, she was appointed as KBHN’s Deputy Chief Scientific Officer, a role she is enthusiastic to take on.
“The leading research that occurs through collaboration with researchers, trainees, partners and stakeholders make KBHN an amazing network to be a part of. With a growing focus on implementation and impact, it is exciting to see the findings from KBHN research mobilized to impact the lives of children with developmental disabilities and their families. It is a privilege to take on this role and l look forward to working with KBHN’s CSO Dr. Reynolds and CEO Nicky Lewis in delivering on the ambitious agenda ahead. ”
Dr. Zwicker says the Network has truly evolved since getting its start back in 2010. It has shifted from having a primary focus on basic research to centering on how its research can be translated into having direct impact for children and families living with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
“In Canada, KBHN occupies a unique space where it transcends just the health sector, and touches on many other sectors including education and social services,” she says. “The lives of children with brain-based disabilities and their families are impacted by all of these different sectors, so being a Network that can intersect those is critical.”
Moving forward, Dr. Zwicker’s intention is for the Network to have a strong focus on implementing the research that has been ongoing for the past several years. She will use her expertise in policy and health economics to work towards this goal. Her research team is currently working alongside many of the KBHN research teams to study the cost and health outcomes associated with their specific projects. The objective is to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of each project, so that each team can articulate why their project is import and how it can have impact.
“A key role for KBHN is thinking about how we can take projects from being individual projects to eventually being implemented in the community,” she says.
Dr. Zwicker says she will also be focused on maintaining many of the unique and effective programming the Network has built up over the years, including a strong trainee program and family engagement workshops.
As Deputy Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Zwicker will use her expertise in both neurodevelopmental disabilities and policy to guide the Network into this new era, with the goal of having a completely sustainable Network by the end of the current funding cycle.
“I’d love to focus on thinking about the policy impact and the real impact of the research that’s being done,” she says. “That needs to be kept at the forefront as we continue to articulate the importance of the work that’s being done and the impact it has on families, as a way to eventually have a more efficient allocation of resources within the public sector.”