University of Calgary

Nicole Letourneau

  • Adjunct Professor


Dr. Nicole Letourneau attained her BN (1991) from University of New Brunswick (UNB), Master’s (1994) and PhD (1998) degrees in Nursing from University of Alberta (UofA), focusing on pediatrics and community health. She completed post-doctoral training with Dr. Miriam Stewart at UofA and Dr. Doug Willms at Canadian Research Institute for Social Policy, focusing on social support in vulnerable childbearing families (1999-2003; Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Alberta Heritage Fund for Medical Research funding).

She was appointed Assistant Professor at UofA (1999), then she moved to UNB and was appointed Associate Professor (2003), all in Faculties of Nursing. She became Canada Research Chair in Healthy Child Development, attained tenure and was promoted to Full Professor (2007). She relocated to University of Calgary (UofC) to assume the Alberta Children’s Foundation Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health (2011-current). Primarily appointed in UofC Faculty of Nursing, additional appointments are in Cumming School of Medicine in Depts. of Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Community Health Sciences. She volunteers extensively in regional (Discovery House Board), provincial (College & Association of RN’s of Alberta), national (CIHR Governing Council) and international (International Association for Study of Attachment) venues.

She is Principal Investigator of the CHILD (Child Health Intervention and Longitudinal Development) Studies Program examining parenting, attachment and child development in the context of maternal depression, family violence, low income and other risks. She is Director of RESOLVE (Research & Education for Solutions to Violence). Her research is consistently community-based to guide best practice in parent-child support and intervention. Of the 10 studies she currently leads, key projects include:

·       APrON (Alberta Pregnancy Outcomes and Nutrition) cohort study of 2200 Alberta families, examining parental mental health influences on infants/children. Recent studies include the influence of mothers’ adverse childhood experiences and perinatal mental health on epigenetic expression of their three-month old infants, both explorations of intergenerational trauma mechanisms.

·       Harvard Center on the Developing Child-funded ATTACH (Attachment and Child Health) study, testing an innovative intervention to promote reflective function of high-risk mothers in order to promote secure maternal-infant attachment and child development.

·       CIHR-funded VID-KIDS (Video Feedback Intervention for Depressed Mothers and Infants), a nurse-delivered intervention for mothers with postpartum depression to support healthy maternal-child relationships and child development.

She regularly receives honours including:

·       CIHR’s Canada’s Premier Young Researcher (2006),

·       Canada’s Top 40 Under 40TM (2007),

·       Excellence in Research Awards from New Brunswick Nurses Association (2011) and College and Association of RNs of Alberta (2015),

·       Fellow of Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2014),

·       Excellence in Research Award from Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing (2017),

·       Centre for Addiction and Mental Health--Difference Maker Award (2017).

She has attained $50+ million in research funding, with $15+ million as lead investigator. She has ~20K Twitter followers (@DrNLetourneau), 140+ peer-reviewed papers, 14+ book chapters, 100+ opinion editorials in print and online Canadian news outlets, and authored Scientific Parenting: What Science Reveals About Parental Influence (2013) and forthcoming What Kind of Parent Am I? (both Dundurn).

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