Fraser Mustard Institute of Human Development

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“I want all disciplines to integrate the best of what we know about human development into their research, teaching and mentoring of graduate students. I want them to build new bridges between and among their disciplines that go beyond the old-fashioned interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. It is time to think ‘transdisciplinary’ if we are to make headway in meeting tomorrow’s big challenges.” DR. J. FRASER MUSTARD (MD 1953, LLD 1988)


Dr. J. Fraser Mustard was a towering figure in the arena of early childhood development. One of his final projects was to help plan and establish the Institute for Human Development.

Dr. J. Fraser Mustard (1927–2011) was a tireless and passionate world leader in the field of early childhood development and the socio-economic determinants of human development and health. The growing body of research on the brain and Dr. Mustard’s own work revealed that the experiences of very young children help shape brain development, affecting speech and learning as well as their temperament, behaviour and health. It can also leave them vulnerable to certain conditions as adults, including addiction and mental illness. Dr. Mustard’s ardent campaign, which called attention to these crucial early years and how brain development during this time influences health and well-being later in life, has inspired economists, educators and politicians around the globe. One of the final projects of his remarkable career was to help plan and establish a virtual, transdisciplinary institute devoted to human development at the University of Toronto. The Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development epitomizes the University’s driving ambition to prepare extraordinary leaders and channel the immense energy, resources and talent in Canada to address the most urgent global challenges in this field. Together, we have the opportunity to make a difference in the world by supporting children in the early years of life, helping ensure their optimal development so they will have greater opportunities to become healthy, productive, and well-adjusted members of society. We hope you will join us in this vital effort.


THE LONG REACH OF CHILDHOOD As a society, we are under-serving our children. One in four Canadian children are overweight or obese with up to 70 percent forecast to become overweight or obese adults by 2040. More than a quarter of Canadian children are not developmentally ready when they begin school while 70 percent of mental health problems and illnesses first become apparent during childhood or adolescence. Why?

Evidence shows us that a child’s early environment “gets under the skin,” literally shaping the architecture of the brain and other biological systems during a period when these systems are undergoing rapid development. These early life experiences affect how genes are expressed and how brain connections are built. Children exposed to positive experiences, relationships and environments at the earliest stages of life are much more likely to develop the neural and biological pathways that lead to healthy and productive lives as adults. Conversely, children subjected to poverty, violence, poor education or poor nutrition are much more likely to develop “wiring” which can have serious implications for their health well into adulthood. The complex interplay between our genes and our environment brings us back to the age-old question of nature versus nurture. Both, in fact, appear to work together to make us who we are. Improving our response to challenges facing children and gaining new understanding of how genes and environment interact will leave us better equipped to help children reach their full potential—ultimately building a healthier, more prosperous society.


Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development

INTERTWINED CHALLENGES S TEMMING FROM EARLY CHILDHOOD $2.62 billion annually in social costs for each cohort of school dropouts

27% of children are

not developmentally ready for school

1 in 5 Canadians will experience mental illness or addiction



By 2020, depression is expected to be the leading cause of disability


25% of children already show developmental challenges by 2000 days after birth

MENTAL HEALTH heart disease

obesity Obesity is strongly associated with diabetes, heart disease and depression


By 2040, up to 70% of today’s children are forecast to be overweight or obese adults

poor nutrition

The average Canadian consumes twice the recommended amount of salt. Excessive salt is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke

Obesity cost Ontario $4.5 billion in direct and indirect costs in 2009


Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development


The Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development is a necessary response to the challenges facing today’s children. Established as a virtual institute and anchored at the University of Toronto, the Institute focuses on the well-being of children from fetal life until approximately age six. Understanding that no single area of study can unravel the mysteries of human development, the Institute brings together the brightest minds across a variety of disciplines—education, social work, medicine, economics and public health, for example. As well, community partners including the Hospital for Sick Children, St. Michael’s Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and others within the Toronto Academic Health Science Network have come together through the sophisticated infrastructure of the University system. Together, we seek to better understand which factors affect which genes and how we can best influence the positive expression of these genes. The Institute consequently possesses unprecedented strength across transdisciplinary collaboration and discovery, contributing greatly to a healthy, capable and confident society that secures Canada’s future prosperity.




Local National International

RESEARCH • • • • •

Developmental Paths and Interventions Healthy Kids Developing Brain and Human Potential Aboriginal Health and Well-Being The World’s Child

ACT NOW • • •

Community Engagement Policy and Practice Knowledge Mobilization



Undergraduate Programming Graduate Programming Professional Development

Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development


Led by an Executive Director and Directors in key strategic areas, the Institute has embarked on a three-fold mission: to grow academic capacity in the field through education and action; to generate knowledge in human development; and to transmit knowledge to effect change.

EDUCATION: Undergraduate courses and a Collaborative Graduate Program have been established to create the deep, broad pool of expertise in human development that is necessary to accelerate advances. The undergraduate course provides a foundation for those in related fields whose work will be informed by a solid understanding of early human development while the graduate program is more intensive for those dedicating their careers to this important field. This next generation of thought leaders could be researchers, policy makers, teachers and future parents, all of whom have tremendous influence on the well-being of children. RESEARCH is conducted collaboratively among leading thinkers from diverse fields such as education, social work, medicine and public health. This integration is key, for example, since it is understood that cardiovascular, mental health and educational issues share common early risk factors such as low birth weight and environmental stress. It is possible that one intervention, within a critical developmental window, could affect all three outcomes simultaneously. It is important to bring together specialists from a variety of backgrounds to examine the issues and successes our children encounter. We need to understand how, when and why children’s neural pathways are influenced and try to create environments for children that promote the healthiest development. Action through KNOWLEDGE MOBILIZATION ensures discoveries find their way beyond the University’s walls. They are swiftly transmitted to those responsible for children, including policy makers, parents, teachers, social workers, doctors, nurses, judges, and police officers—establishing environments that support children and enable decision makers to make the best choices on their behalf.



Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development

THE WAY FORWARD Big ideas and transformative change require visionary leadership and investment. There are many opportunities to make a lasting contribution to the development of human potential through the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development.

PRIORITY FUND Gifts of any amount to this core endowment fund help the Fraser Mustard Institute to respond nimbly to pressing needs as we continue to build the critical mass of expertise required to be a leader in the field of human development. Such circumstances include: seed funding for promising new research inquiries; the ability to act quickly to attract outstanding researchers as they become available; financial support for exceptional students; and hosting prominent guest speakers whose cutting-edge work will inform the work of the Institute.

LEADERSHIP SUPPORT The innovative capacity of the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development relies upon attracting and retaining outstanding leadership talent in human development. Funding these essential roles ensures the Institute can house exemplary administrators and leaders in the field of early human development. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR $5,000,000 endowed This keystone fund will support a senior faculty member who will oversee and administer the Institute’s progress in all areas, including communications, research, education and knowledge mobilization. Support of this fund will ensure the head of the Institute is an accomplished leader who is adept and focused on advancing the vision of Dr. Fraser Mustard.

ACADEMIC DIRECTOR $3,000,000 endowed Support for a senior faculty member who will be responsible for the direction of the Fraser Mustard Institute’s undergraduate and graduate education and training programs is required. This leader requires support to expand the human development curriculum and build the thought leaders of tomorrow. Creating innovative, enriching, multidisciplinary environments will attract the brightest students to tackle challenges in human development—ultimately benefiting children. RESEARCH DIRECTOR $3,000,000 endowed This fund will support a senior faculty member who will execute and promote activities to generate new knowledge within and across focused research themes and platforms. Central to the success of the Institute, this Director will bring together leaders in various fields including medicine, social work, education, and public health to push the frontiers of research in human development, enabling innovative discovery that will benefit children and the society in which they live. ACT NOW DIRECTOR $3,000,000 endowed Funds in this area will support a senior faculty member to oversee knowledge exchange between the Institute and the community. Consequently, this role will help drive public policy development—a fundamental means by which the Fraser Mustard Institute seeks to achieve its mandate to enhance the full potential of our children.



Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development


UNDERGRADUATE AWARDS Minimum $25,000 endowed or $2,500/year x 5 years expendable

COLLABORATIVE TRAINING PROGRAM $1,500,000 endowed or $60,000/year x 5 years expendable

The Institute seeks funding for undergraduate placement awards to offer the brightest students from a variety of disciplines the opportunity to work in a lab or group that is supervised by a leading researcher in human development.

A transdisciplinary collaborative training program will empower the next generation of researchers to move seamlessly across disciplines and sustain research and discovery in early human development. The program will include two levels:

GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS $100,000 minimum endowed or $4,000/year x 5 years expendable

1. An advanced training program where PhD students and fellows receive an intensive series of courses, workshops and hands-on training in human development.

Competition is intense and U of T accepts only those with superior academic achievement and potential to contribute to the academic and professional community of scholars. Once admitted, graduate students are offered financial support in the form of grants as well as teaching and research fellowships. Graduate fellowships are especially important as they serve three functions: 1. They help populate the Collaborative Training Program which facilitates transdisciplinary, in-depth learning and collaborations in human development.

2. A more general collaborative program in human development for PhD students that will include course content and a seminar series. RESEARCH DAY $200,000 endowed or $8,000/year x 5 years expendable The newly established Research Day provides a forum for students in the Collaborative Graduate Program and faculty from different disciplines to showcase or speak about their work and seek opportunities for collaboration. The winning student poster will be awarded $500.

2. They support students who move on to teach and/or practice and share their knowledge. 3. They are critical for retaining and attracting the brightest students for our research in human development.



Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development


CHAIR IN CHILD AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT $3,000,000 endowed This chair will fund a leading thinker skilled in creating and advancing successful approaches and interventions that target children at risk of poor cognitive, emotional, behavioural and social outcomes, particularly those in challenging environments. This position will be situated within the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. CHAIR IN DEVELOPMENTAL HEALTH $3,000,000 endowed This position will advance studies in developmental health within the Department of Physiology in the Faculty of Medicine. Research undertaken by the Chair will determine how maternal health and early experience, through genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, shape human development and drive a trajectory toward life-long health and away from disease.

INTEGRATED GRADUATE RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIP IN DEVELOPMENTAL HEALTH AND REGENERATIVE MEDICINE $1,500,000 endowed or $60,000/year x 5 years expendable The University of Toronto and the Karolinska Institutet are world-leading research institutions with particular strengths in early human development. These scholarships allow top graduate students from each to undertake up to a year of their research program in the partner institution, accelerating students’ emergence as leading global contributors in this field. POST-DOCTORAL FELLOWSHIPS $1,250,000 endowed or $50,000/year x 5 years expendable The Institute seeks funding for graduate fellowships to develop the next generation of researchers in early human development. These awards allow students to immerse themselves in their research and to inquire and discover.

CHAIR IN EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF INDIGENOUS CHILDREN $3,000,000 endowed This chair holder will focus on the link between traditional Indigenous knowledge and community mental health care research, policy, models, and services. These activities reflect the fact that mental health supports within Canadian urban and reserve Indigenous communities are increasingly considered vital for individuals to heal from the legacy of colonization. This position will work within the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).



Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development


SEMINAR SERIES $1,000,000 endowed or $40,000/year x 5 years expendable The Fraser Mustard Institute Seminar Series will be offered as an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and the public to broaden their knowledge beyond their specific area of research and/or studies or general knowledge. The Institute will provide a full agenda of nationally and internationally acclaimed speakers that represent academia, industry and government.

DISTINGUISHED VISITING SCHOLARS $2,500,000 endowed or $100,000/year x 3 years expendable Distinguished visiting scholars are outstanding senior scholars who are leading experts in human development. While being hosted by U of T, they participate as valuable contributors to the teaching, research, and outreach missions of the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development.



The aim at the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development is to maximize the potential of every child through its focus and leadership in early human development. We invite you to help us realize this great transformative outcome and make a lasting impact on generations of individuals.

“There is an enormous opportunity to make a big difference in the world by giving people the best start in life. It takes so much more to fix a problem than to prevent it in the first place.� MOSSADIQ UMEDALY ADVISORY COMMITTEE MEMBER 16

Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development


For more information: Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development 252 Bloor Street West Toronto, ON M5S 1V6 Canada 416-978-8325 To support the Fraser Mustard Institute for Human Development contact: Selina Esteves Division of University Advancement 416-978-0391

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