So it’s no surprise that Red River College’s Janet Jamieson — Research Chair for the School of Health Sciences and Community Services, and the driving force behind the College’s world-renowned Science of Early Child Development (SECD) research project — has been nominated for a 2015 Women of Distinction Award.
Jamieson (shown above, at centre) was nominated in the category of Community Activism and Social Enterprise — a perfect match, given she’s been the principal researcher and lead developer on a series of projects for RRC that are grounded in the advancement of social equity, and have in turn led to the advancement of economic and environmental priorities.
The most notable of these is SECD, a knowledge mobilization initiative designed to make current research accessible to anyone interested in learning more about the profound impact of the early years on lifelong health and well-being.
First developed as a tool to help share the emerging science about early brain development and its implications for practice across sectors, SECD has grown and evolved into three online living textbooks, as well as other educational resources. Updated regularly, it brings research and concepts to life with hundreds of readings, videos, links and interactive activities. There have been many versions and modules developed to support its use with a variety of audiences throughout the world.
Colleges and universities (in Canada and elsewhere) use SECD in pre-entry, diploma, undergraduate and graduate programs as content for online and off-line courses, while government and community organizations use it for parent education workshops, staff training and professional development. Students, instructors and parent groups in 27 countries around the world use SECD.
Through a partnership with the Aga Khan Foundation, SECD is used extensively in East Africa and South Asia, reaching people in the most poverty-stricken parts of the world, and teaching them how to interact with their children to support healthy growth and development.
Jamieson herself has travelled extensively to isolated parts of Africa and Asia to deliver training modules and work with members of local communities to develop their skills at delivering SECD content. Her work has directly impacted hundreds of people in at least 22 countries, and has led to government advocacy that’s focused on investments in the early years as a way to improve economic, social and other outcomes.
And SECD represents only a fraction of Jamieson’s work. She has also led and overseen other projects in Bangladesh and Pakistan, has trained community-based workers in Sub-Saharan Africa to work with children impacted by HIV/AIDS, and has documented the leading-edge practices for health and early childhood education in Cuba, which have exceptionally high outcomes.
Jamieson has also contributed at the local level, serving on several advisory committees (among them Healthy Child Manitoba) related to early childhood development issues. She also led and managed an intervention known as the Abecedarian project, a structured, targeted approach that works with children in child care centres in Winnipeg’s lowest-income neighbourhoods, providing reading and other supports to support the successful entry of the children into the public school system.
Hosted by YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg, this year’s Women of Distinction Awards Gala takes place May 6, at the RBC Convention Centre.