2014 Best Start Resource Centre Annual Conference
Thursday, February 27, 2014 - Friday, February 28, 2014
Contact name: 
Meghan Boston-McCracken
Contact e-mail: 
Contact phone: 
705.450.3600 • 416.408.2249 x 2345 • 800.397.9567
Presented by: 
Best Start Resource Centre
Province or Territory: 
Hilton Toronto Airport & Suites (close to Pearson International Airport) 5875 Airport Road Mississauga, ON L4V 1N1 Hotel URL: http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/ontario/hilton-toronto-airport-hotel-and-suites-YYZHIHH/index.html

The Best Start Resource Centre Conference is an annual event for service providers working on preconception health, prenatal health, and early child development to meet, share, reflect, network and be inspired! The annual conference attracts over 300 participants each year. In addition to offering excellent peer sharing opportunities, the conference allows service providers and policy makers to increase their knowledge and learn innovative strategies and programs relevant to their work. The annual conference will focus on strategies and solutions - from policy to practice. More specifically, the conference will showcase examples of the best and promising practice across Ontario and across multiple settings related to family, maternal, newborn and child health.

Please click here to find out more about the exciting line up of speakers and topics.

Who Should Attend
Service providers, policy makers and researchers who work to promote the health of expectant and new parents, newborns, young children, women and families: Public Health Nurses, Midwives, Doulas, Staff from Ontario Early Year’s Centres, Breastfeeding Supporters, Ontario Healthy Babies Healthy Children Staff, Administrators/Managers, Community Health Workers, Counsellors, Early Childhood Educators, Family Development Workers, Family Resource Program Staff, Primary Care Professionals, Health Promoters, Nutritionists, Researchers, Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

Early Bird Rates available until January 10, 2014. Click here for more information.

Presentations and Workshops
Here are just some of the workshops available this year. Please click here to find out more.

How Community, Family and the Environment Shape Children and What We Can Do About It through A Social Pediatrics Approach
Dr. Lee Ford-Jones, Professor of Pediatrics, Social Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases, University of Toronto
Major influences on child health are rooted in the social determinants of health. Life course models, viewing health as a developmental process, provide a new perspective on social determinants of child health. Effective interventions to minimize the adverse effects of poor social conditions on life course development need to take account of the interaction between the social environment and biological processes. Social determinants of child health are also very relevant to pediatrics as part of the causal pathways of pediatric disease and in relation to access to high-quality healthcare. Approaches through professional education, interprofessional clinical activity and advocacy, with the community and influencing policy change will be discussed.

The Origins and Development of Early Mental Health: Why Recognizing and Responding to Early Mental Health Needs to be the New Normal
Dr. Chaya Kulkarni, Director, Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP), The Hospital for Sick Children
Today, there is a growing body of research in the areas of brain development, epigenetics, and toxic stress. These research findings have helped us understand how early adversity, neglect or trauma can impact a child’s mental health and physical health in the early years and throughout life. While this information is received with enthusiasm by those working with young children, our practices and policies don’t always reflect the very research that excites us or helps us understand the journey of an infant, toddler or preschooler who is experiencing challenges and whose behavior may even challenge his caregivers. We must become ambassadors of the new research and determine how our practice will be influenced by research related to infant mental health: every day, during every moments and interactions with young children, their families and those we collaborate with to best meet their needs. When young children are exposed to trauma, live in an environment that includes multiple risk factors, or have a biological predisposition that puts them at risk for poor mental health, all parts of the system need to respond. Who is monitoring early mental health – do we even know how many may be at risk? What happens when there is a vulnerability – are we recognizing and responding as early as the research tells us we should? Are there services for infants, toddlers and preschoolers experiencing vulnerability readily available and accessible? This session will explore how the new science can be integrated into our practice, guide our policies, and ultimately, ensure the emotional safety of infants, toddlers and preschoolers who may be at risk for poor mental health – in the short and long term. One person can be a change agent – for a child, a family, or even within an agency. This presentation will bring together the research, practice and policy related to supporting early mental health throughout our systems and services for young children and their families.

Seeing the Unseen - An Introduction to Health Equity Impact Assessment
Andrea Bodkin, MPH, HC Link Coordinator, Health Nexus
This workshop will provide you with a hands-on orientation to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care's Health Equity Impact Assessment (HEIA) tool. This easy to use assessment tool is designed to identify the inequities that can unintentionally result from our programs, policies and initiatives. In this workshop, we’ll explore the concepts of health inequities, where they come from and how they affect the people and populations we work with. Examples of how HEIAs have been used in the field of maternal and child health will be explored. We’ll then work through a case study using the HEIA template. This hands-on workshop will be of interest to individuals working in planning, policy, program or proposal development; as well as those who work at frontline service delivery.

At the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Have gained an understanding of what health equity is and how it impacts health
  • Be able to identify vulnerable groups and potential unintended negative and positive consequences
  • Have insight in how to develop strategies to mitigate the effects of health inequities