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Dal professor partners with parenting website to help ease children’s pain

The “It doesn’t Have to Hurt” initiative aims to disseminate evidence-based research quickly through social media.

By KAREN BIRCHARD | OCT 27 2015

A children’s pain specialist has partnered with a popular blog for mothers in a campaign to disseminate pain research more quickly. Christine Chambers, a clinical psychologist and professor at Dalhousie University, launched the “It Doesn’t Have to Hurt” initiative in September in Halifax.

The project, which received a Canadian Institutes of Health Research partnership grant, brings together Dr. Chambers and her colleagues at Dalhousie’s Centre for Pediatric Pain Research with one of Canada’s top online magazines for parents, YummyMummyClub.ca.

Dr. Chambers, a mother of four, says by some estimates it takes 17 years for research findings to trickle slowly from a journal publication into common use by the medical profession or parents. “That’s an entire childhood or a generation missing out on evidence-based findings that could make a significant difference, especially for children in pain,” she says.

Dr. Chambers’ research looks at ways to alleviate children’s pain, including the pain from needles or surgery. Some of her evidence-based pain-reducing strategies include such things as applying numbing cream, blowing bubbles as a distraction or breastfeeding the infant. Shocked that such practical findings weren’t making their way to parents of children who were suffering, she made a YouTube video two years ago that has been viewed more than 150,000 times.

The global success of that video and feedback from thousands of parents sparked the idea for the It Doesn’t Have to Hurt initiative. Dr. Chambers will provide fact-based research information to YummyMummy, whose team will produce the online content and promote it through their various social media channels. The finished content will be given the stamp of approval by Dr. Chambers so that parents know it’s evidence-based information.

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