Stephanie Atkinson
Professor, Pediatrics

Dr. Atkinson is a Professor and nutrition clinician-scientist in Pediatrics at McMaster University. She is an Associate Member of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, faculty member of the Medical Sciences Graduate Program and serves as Special Professional Staff in McMaster Children's Hospital. Dr. Atkinson has devoted her research career to investigations of compromised statural growth and skeletal development in prematurely born infants and children secondary to pediatric diseases or drug therapy such as those with leukemia, cystic fibrosis, rheumatoid arthritis and nephrosis. A focus of her current research embodies clinical trial and epidemiological investigations of the environmental (nutrition), genetic and biochemical factors during fetal, neonatal and early childhood life that play a role in defining the offspring phenotype and as risk determinants for non-communicable diseases. Such investigations include CIHR-funded randomized clinical trial (RCT) of nutrition and exercise interventions in pregnancy designed to optimize maternal and child health outcomes including cardiometabolic and bone health and neurocognitive functioning; and currently a national pregnancy intervention trial starting preconception that is harmonized in design with similar RCTs in China, India and South Africa.

Dr. Atkinson is committed to fostering research careers in young scientists having trained over 50 graduate students, 12 post-doctoral fellows and over 100 undergraduate science students whom she supervised in fourth year thesis projects. From 2003-18, she was a principal scientist and executive member of the multi-disciplinary strategic training program funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research called the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientists Program (CCHCSP) and served as Centre Leader for this program at McMaster.

In professional service activities she has held leadership positions having served on the inaugural Governing Council of CIHR (2000-05) and as elected President of the American Society for Nutrition. In addition to her current role as Chair of the Institute Advisory Board of CIHR-INMD and Consultant to the Scientific Advisory Council of Osteoporosis, she is past-Chair of the Board of the Maternal, Infant, Child and Youth Health Research Network (MICYRN) and Executive Member of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), North America. In knowledge translation activities Dr. Atkinson served on expert advisory panels struck by Health Canada, the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplements of NIH that involved development of the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), Dietary Guidelines for Americans and feeding practice guidelines for infants.

Recent recognition honours include an a Doctorate of Science, honoris causa, from Western University; election as Fellow of the American Society of Nutrition and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences; the Danone Institute Distinguished Nutrition Leadership Award; Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal; and Khursheed Jeejeebhoy Award for Best Application of Clinical Nutrition Research Findings to Clinical Practice from the Canadian Nutrition Society.
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