Harper Government Invests in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Projects
(Toronto, Ontario) – Parliamentary Secretary Dr. Colin Carrie, Member of Parliament for Oshawa, announced on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, investments in two projects to address Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), a lifelong disorder caused by prenatal alcohol exposure. “Our Government is committed to addressing FASD and the lifelong impact it can have on Canadians, their families, and their communities,” said Dr. Carrie. “That’s why we are investing in projects to prevent more cases of FASD and to help Canadians of all ages who live with it.”
The first project, led by the Canada Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Research Network (CanFASD), will update diagnostic guidelines to include new FASD research and recommendations on how to diagnose young children and adults. For the first time ever, healthcare professionals in Canada and around the globe will have access to guidelines so they can diagnose individuals at any age.
“We need guidelines that reflect our improved understanding of how to diagnose this complex disability,” said Jocelynn Cook, Executive Director of CanFASD. “These guidelines can then help lead to improved health services and create a positive impact on the health and well-being of children and adults with FASD, across their lifespan.”
The second project, led by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), will study child development among elementary students to investigate the prevalence of FASD among the Canadian population. Key findings will highlight the impact of FASD in Canada and provide the evidence required to improve policy, programs and resources to address FASD. The World Health Organization will also use Canada’s data in its study on the prevalence of FASD around the world.
“It is essential to determine how many Canadians are living with FASD before we can understand the severity and impact of this condition,” said Dr. Svetlana Popova, CAMH senior scientist and the study’s lead researcher. “Once we have this information, we can plan policies and programs that will prevent FASD and more effectively address those already affected by it.”
The Public Health Agency of Canada’s FASD Initiative collaborates with partners across Canada to coordinate activities to address FASD. Through this Initiative, PHAC funds organizations to develop knowledge, tools and resources to prevent future births affected by alcohol and to improve the future health and well-being of individuals affected by FASD.