When Katherine Morison and the McMaster Child Health Research Day committee began strategizing how to host their annual event during Covid they hoped aspiring scientists would embrace a new virtual format.

On March 31st, they did.

Research trainees from undergraduate, graduate, and medical training programs, supervised by faculty in the Department of Pediatrics, came together on Zoom to deliver 113 presentations in one afternoon.

With only 5 slides and 5 minutes, junior investigators rose to the challenge of packaging a year’s work into a concise pitch. Topics were broad and included areas of clinical care, Indigenous health, socio-demographic determinants of health, neurodevelopmental conditions, maternal-infant health and breastfeeding, health behaviours like physical activity, and obesity in children.

Many studies also examined the impact of Covid-19. David Zorko, a pediatric resident in the Clinician Investigator Program, presented a study that used crowdsourcing to speed up the lengthy process of systematic literature review. In only 13 days, he completed a review of surgical mask decontamination literature; work that has been recognized by COVID-END, a network that supports leaders to make evidence-informed pandemic policy, as the highest-quality evidence synthesis on the topic.

Presentations were judged by faculty and outstanding contributions were recognized at an awards ceremony on April 1.

“It’s one of my favourite days of the year,” said, Elyanne Ratcliffe, Associate Professor of Pediatric Gastroenterology, and long-standing judge.

“We were absolutely thrilled by the quality of research and the ability of our young scientists to communicate their work,” said, Morrison, the department’s Associate Chair of Research, and co-lead of the MODR research team.

The event also celebrated the inaugural Anthony KC Chan Rising Research Star Award recognizing Dr. Joyce Obeid for her work investigating the role of exercise as medicine in children with chronic medical conditions. Obeid, who was herself a trainee in the department before earning her Ph.D. and accepting a faculty position, acknowledged the mentorship she received throughout her years in Pediatrics and its impact on her career.

“It takes a village to raise a child – I guess the same is true of a Ph.D. scientist!” said, Obeid.

The 6 award-winning presentations and Obeid’s lecture that accompanied her award are available on the Department of Pediatrics’ MacVideo Channel: McMaster Child Health Research Day 2021.

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