March 10, 2014

Renowned pediatric neuropsychologist joins University of Calgary

Keith Yeates supports Eyes High and Brain and Mental Health Theme
Keith Yeates, PhD, is known for his research in the field of traumatic brain injury in children and youth.

Keith Yeates, PhD, is known for his research in the field of traumatic brain injury in youth.

Renowned pediatric neuropsychologist Keith Yeates, PhD, will join the University of Calgary on April 1 as a key recruit to the campus-wide Brain and Mental Health Strategic Research Theme – one of six research themes guiding the university towards its Eyes High goals. 

Yeates, who is well known for his research in the field of traumatic brain injury in children and youth, will spearhead the development of a comprehensive neuropsychology research program within the concussion and brain injury initiative.  

As well as working with the university’s department of psychology in the Faculty of Arts, Yeates will be involved as a senior scientist and dual member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.

Expert in child and youth traumatic brain injury

“In the Faculty of Arts, we are delighted to have recruited someone of Dr. Yeates’ caliber,” says Dean Richard Sigurdson. “As a prominent member of our psychology department, he will help us recruit the very best graduate students to the University of Calgary. And as a leading authority on child and youth traumatic brain injury, Dr. Yeates will contribute to meeting the University’s Eye High objectives of becoming a top research university in Canada, innovating in teaching and learning, and benefitting  our community.” 

“Precursors of adult brain and mental health disorders can often be identified in early childhood,” adds Dr. Brent Scott, executive director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) and Husky Energy Chair in Child and Maternal Health. “Dr. Yeates’ research in young patients with head injury and neurological disorders will improve the evaluation and treatment for families and their children in Calgary and beyond.”

Yeates will come to Calgary from his role as chief of the section of pediatric psychology and neuropsychology at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and professor of pediatrics, psychology and psychiatry at Ohio State University College of Medicine.

Improving outcomes for childhood brain disorders

One in five children in Alberta will experience a mild brain injury or concussion by the age of 10 years. Research shows that many of them will suffer post-concussion symptoms for three months or longer.  The symptoms can be debilitating with persistent headaches, fatigue and even depression.

In Calgary, Yeates will be developing a neuropsychology and rehabilitation psychology research laboratory to better understand concussion recovery and promote more effective treatment. He will also be providing leadership to the collaborative concussion efforts across the campus.

By working to integrate the university-wide concussion initiative to support research and education for children, youth and adults, Yeates will build upon an existing foundation of clinical services provided at the Alberta Children’s Hospital through its emergency department and pediatric concussion clinic, and through the sports concussion clinic in the Faculty of Kinesiology and the adult concussion services provided at the Foothills Medical Centre.

Neuropsychology is the science of brain and behaviour. It plays a critical role in understanding the outcomes of concussion by providing tools for assessing cognitive abilities, both pre- and post-injury. In concert with neuroimaging, neuropsychology provides significant insights into the process by which the brain recovers from injury.  Rehabilitation psychology provides the basis for innovative behavioural treatments that can help prevent negative outcomes after concussion and alleviate them when they do occur. 

Community donations through Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation

This recruitment is supported by a generous community donation of $2 million provided to the ACHRI through the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation and an additional $200,000 of program support provided by the HBI.

Research in neurodevelopment and brain injury is a priority for ACHRI. In addition to existing research space in the Alberta Children’s Hospital supporting the assessment of patients seen on that site, ACHRI is developing 1,000 square metres of new space to support brain and mental health research in the Child Development Centre at the University of Calgary, across the street from the Alberta Children’s Hospital. This project is also generously supported by the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation through community donations.

Yeates’ research falls under the Preventing and Treating Concussion and Brain Injury priority of the Brain and Mental Health Strategic Research Theme. The faculties of Arts, Kinesiology, Medicine and ACHRI and the HBI are key partners in this priority.