Cindy-Lee Dennis, PhD

 

Selected Expert Advisor Activities

  1. Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health. In March 2016, I was selected to be a member of the Standards of Post-natal Care in the Immediate Post-natal Period Expert Panel. To goal of this expert panel is to establish a safe and timely system of post-natal care in Ontario that ensures quality universal screening, assessment, and follow up for mothers and newborns in the post-natal period. The specific objectives are to: (1) articulate provincial standards for newborn examination and screening, (2) establish clear roles and responsibility, including guidelines for community based care/support to mothers and newborns post-discharge, (3) create a mechanism of accountability, and (4) develop a comprehensive communication strategy for providers (hospitals, community) and for patients.
  2. Healthy Human Development Table. In March 2015, I was appointment as Co-Chair of the Healthy Human Development Table, effective April 1st 2015 and ending March 31st 2017. This Table is supported by Public Health Ontario. The overall goal of this committee is to  a significant impact on the policies and practices related to perinatal mental health across the province Ontario.  Background information: The first comprehensive Strategic Plan for Ontario’s Public Health Sector, Make No Little Plans, was launched in 2013. A Healthy Human Development (HHD) Collective Area of Focus Table was convened in January 2014. The Table’s stated purpose was to develop a limited number of tactical areas of focus in this area, and an implementation plan to be provided to the Ministry of Children and Youth Services. Through ongoing consultation with policy makers and public health practitioners, the HHD Table has prioritized the area of parental mental health in the perinatal period to support healthy child development as the initial area of focus.
  3. Best Start Resource Centre and the Ontario Breastfeeding Committee (2012). I was invited to be on an Advisory Committee to revise the Baby-Friendly Common Messages document. The goal was to make this resource into a province-wide and easily accessible document to promote the Baby-Friendly Initiative across Ontario. This resource was published in 2013.
  4. Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2011- ongoing). I was invited by the Medical Officers of Health and Healthy Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program directors to be a member of an Advisory Committee. The Ministry of Children and Youth Services is currently strengthening both the screening and home visiting components of the HBHC program while also addressing the inefficiencies of the current delivery model. The role of the Advisory Committee is still ongoing and is to provide advice on how best to move forward with the program improvements.
  5. Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2010). I was invited by the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, Early Learning and Child Development Branch to be on an advisory panel as they updated the Health Babies Healthy Children (HBHC) program (province-wide health service) screening tool that is administered to all new mothers. The purpose of this screening tool is to identify at-risk mothers who may require further intervention to promote positive maternal and child health outcomes.
  6. ECHO: Improving Women’s Health in Ontario (2011). I was one of 10 researchers/health professionals invited to participate in a province-wide round table on postpartum depression with the goal of moving towards standards of practice for Ontario (2011). A report from this meeting was developed and disseminated to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
  7. Toronto Public Health (2009-2010). Toronto Public Health conducted a research study to identify rates and patterns of breastfeeding among first-time Toronto mothers. The study also explored factors associated with breastfeeding, including hospital and community-related factors. A final report was developed entitled: Breastfeeding in Toronto: Promoting Supportive Environments. I was requested by Toronto Public Health to be a consultant for this study where I assisted with data analysis and interpretation. I also edited the summary and technical reports.
  8. Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health (2009-2010). I was an invited member of the Maternal-Newborn Advisory Committee, Breastfeeding Services and Supports work group. The work group identified: (1) leading best practices related to increasing and sustaining breastfeeding initiation and duration rates; (2) priority areas for enhanced breastfeeding services, (3) areas where greater system integration is necessary, and (4) low-cost, evidence-informed, and cost-effective recommendation and options to improve rates of breastfeeding initiation and duration. These recommendations were presented to the PCMCH.
  9. Best Start Resource Centre (2007-2008). Member of Best Start (Ontario’s Maternal Newborn, and Early Child Development Resource Centre) Perinatal Mood Disorders Training Resource Advisory Committee. This committee developed a new teaching tool entitled “Perinatal Mood Disorders – an interdisciplinary teaching video” available to all health professionals. The resource consists of a 25-minute video, facilitator guide, and pre/post test. The resource tool, particularly the video, aims to: (1) increase awareness and knowledge of perinatal mood disorders; (2) facilitate viewers’ ability to assess, screen, diagnose, treat, and support clients with perinatal mood disorders; (3) stimulate participatory discussion; and (4) explore additional resources for increased learning through the additional links provided. This resource tool can be used for: (1) individual continuing education; (2) organizational in-services, and lunch and learns in the form of one hour, two hour or half day workshops; (3) academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level; (4) awareness raising campaign; and (5) presentations.
  10. MediSpin (2006). My expertise in perinatal mood disorders was acknowledged when I was the only Canadian invited to participate with a US group of perinatal mental health researchers and psychiatrists to develop an educational video on postpartum depression (funded by the National Institute of Mental Health). Combining their understanding of health and medical issues with expertise in multimedia technology, MediSpin (a multimedia medical communications company) assisted us in the design, development, and delivery of this internet-based teaching program on postpartum depression, which was launched in November 2006. The program is found on MedEdPPD.org, a professional, peer-reviewed website developed with the support of the National Institute of Mental Health to foster the education of primary health professionals (e.g., pediatricians, family physicians, obstetricians, psychiatrists, nurses, physician’s assistants, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives) who care for women who have or are at risk for postpartum depression.
  11. Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services (2005). I was invited by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services to participate in a discussion group (three meetings) with the purpose of providing expertise that will assist Ontario demonstration health regions to plan and implement effective community-based strategies related to postpartum mood disorders.
  12. Metro Mothers Network (2004-2013). The Metro Mothers Network (MumNet) is a registered not-for-profit organization founded and run by volunteer women to provide a network of sharing, an opportunity to workout, and a break from childcare. Each week, MumNet groups meet a one-hour program. The program formats vary week-to-week and group-to-group, ranging from informal discussions to guest speakers with topics focused on matters related to the health, education, and emotional well-being of mothers and their infants. Over the past several years, I have been asked to speak at these lay group meetings about postpartum depression.