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Post Doctoral Scholar - Perinatal Maternal Health, Family Health and Child Health, Faculty of Nursing

Job ID: 22574

Updated: April 1, 2021

Location: Other

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 region in Southern Alberta. The City of Calgary is also home to Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III.

Position Description


Postdoctoral Scholar position

Area:                   Perinatal Maternal Health, Family Health and Child Health  

Duration:             1-year full-time appointment with possibility of 1-year renewal    

Start date:           Negotiable

Salary:                 $50,000 (plus Plan C Extended Health Insurance benefits)


The Faculty of Nursing and the Owerko Center at the University of Calgary is accepting applications for a Postdoctoral Scholar to take part in developing and executing studies related to perinatal maternal health, family health and child health with a focus on underlying biological mechanisms to explain mental health and create and test relevant interventions.  This fellowship is embedded in a research program with extensive connections to local community partners and national research networks. The position will support the CHILD Studies research program to achieve four objectives: (1) To understand environmental predictors of children’s neurodevelopment, mental health and other health outcomes with a focus on parental perinatal distress (primarily depression, anxiety and biological substrates linked to stress such as cortisol); (2) To understand underlying mechanisms, mediators and moderators (e.g. epigenetic patterns, genetic plasticity, child sex, early parent-child relationship qualities including sensitivity and responsiveness, maternal-child attachment security) for association between exposure to perinatal distress and children’s neurodevelopment, mental health and other health outcomes; (3) To develop and test interventions to support vulnerable children’s neurodevelopment and mental health in families affected by toxic stress; and (4) To translate research findings in multiple traditional and novel ways to achieve the largest audience and uptake possible. The Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) is dedicated to studying neurodevelopmental disorders and child mental health.

Supervision of this appointment will be provided by Dr. Nicole Letourneau, Professor, Owerko Center and ACHF Chair in Parent-Infant Mental Health.

Job Description:

The position requires independent analysis and research, within a team approach in a fast moving and changing environment, often involving multiple stakeholders. As the successful candidate, you will contribute to refining the research questions and methods and will have the opportunity to lead a multi-pronged mixed methods program of research to study parent-child relationships, child mental health, neurodevelopment and other child health outcomes affected by “toxic stressors” such as maternal depression, family violence, and substance abuse. The PDS will also assist the Principle Investigator and support the research team through providing semi-skilled or skilled technical procedures. This may include interacting with participants to conduct assessments and assist in the goals of the research as necessary for the purpose of publications within the field of the research in both a national and international level. Success in the role will require some judgment and decision making, following procedures and guidelines set by the PI, and extensive collaboration with the research team. Quantitative analysis will apply statistical and epidemiological approaches to survey data. Qualitative analysis will integrate stakeholder perspectives and experiences.


  • Coordination and administration of research programs or projects;
  • In collaboration with the Principle Investigator, develop the structure, objectives, and policies of  research projects, evaluating research activities and recommending improvements when appropriate;
  • Working closely with the Principle Investigator in the coordination of project resources;
  • Responsible for coordinating research staff and volunteers, including the delegation of tasks and duties;
  • Develop project timelines, monitor and control project deadlines and outcomes, and closeout of projects;
  • Provide research support, produce reports, and administer research policies and procedures;
  • Work closely with the Principle Investigator in areas of analytics and reporting, in the development of documents and proposals for the purpose of presentation and publication;
  • Contribute to and assist in submitting research grant proposals, may be required to act on behalf of the Principle Investigator to granting agencies, or other internal or external agencies;
  • Provide professional services to other team members, internal and external to the research, providing guidance and knowledge transfer in training, procedures, and policy development;
  • Provide supervision and direction to administrative and research staff in the assignment of tasks and duties;
  • Responsible for detailed management of the design, documentation  and implementation of complex research projects;
  • Participate in the development of effective data collection procedures including data collection in clinical and field work settings, and instrument design;
  • IT skills: SPSS, Stata, R (data analysis and statistical software), Covidence, Microsoft Suite;
  • Perform statistical analyses including of epigenetic data;
  • Perform qualitative analysis;
  • Interpret qualitative and quantitative data;
  • Data entry, cleaning, and coding;
  • Analyse, regress, and model data to an advanced level;  
  • Conduct systematic literature reviews;
  • Apply for external fellowships and assist, when appropriate, with grant proposal writing and the mentorship of junior trainees.
  • Refine research questions and methods according to their expertise and interest within the project parameters;
  • Actively seek additional, external funding opportunities at local, provincial and national levels;
  • Actively contribute to the development of peer-reviewed publications related to the studies undertaken as part of the PDS appointment;
  • Provide leadership on knowledge translation activities;
  • Provide leadership and mentorship at weekly research team meeting, including supervision of trainees and support staff; and,
  • Undertake additional training.

Opportunities for applied training are available, related to statistical methods, qualitative inquiry and stakeholder engagement, policy analysis, grant writing, student supervision, knowledge translation of clinical research into practice and policy and multi-stakeholder collaboration with a range of investigators (policy analysts, epidemiologists, psychologists, qualitative researchers, legal analysts, statisticians and health service agencies).


To be considered for this position you must possess:

  • PhD in Nursing, health sciences, health services research, or a related field, completed within the last 4 years* (or will be complete upon PDS start date)
  • High level of effective organizational, time management and personal initiative skills
  • Proven ability to design and complete research studies of complex issues
  • Experience with research software (STATA or SAS preferred), NVivo, as well as Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint)
  • Strong team player
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, especially in scientific writing
  • Proven ability to deliver high quality publications and presentations
  • Understanding of experimental design and scientific process and evaluative and qualitative methodologies.
  • Strong track record of scholarly activities including publication of research findings in reputable peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations
  • Experience in applying for external grants and awards
  • Previous experience in the study of pre-natal maternal health (including mental health) and infant/child outcomes would be an asset
  • Previous experience in working with administrative data or large datasets would be an asset
  • Previous experience in the study of integrated service delivery or care pathways would be an asset
  • The successful candidates will have a proven record of success and be able to conduct research independently as well as part of a team.

*Please review the Postdoc Eligibility Guidelines for more information prior to applying for this position.

Application details:

Please submit your application as a single PDF file with the subject line: Postdoctoral application – [Your name] to Dr. Nicole Letourneau [email protected].

All applications must include:

  • Statement of interest (limit 1 page) summarizing your relevant experience, career goals, and description of how postdoc training will contribute to these goals
  • Two (2) writing samples (published or unpublished) that best exemplify your scholarly work, along with an explanation of your role in each sample current curriculum vitae (CV);
  • official or unofficial copy of diploma(s) / university certificate(s); and
  • contact information including email addresses for two (2) references to support the application. (reference letters will be required for final decisions)

Applicants are encouraged to apply to this position immediately. The position will remain open until filled.

Only those applicants selected for interviews will be contacted further. In accordance with Canadian Immigration requirements, priority will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada, although others are encouraged to apply.

Postdocs who are not Canadian citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada are advised to visit Information for International Postdoctoral Scholars for more information.

Additional information

The terms and conditions of employment are covered under the UCalgary and PDAC Collective Agreement. To find out more about postdoctoral scholar program at the University of Calgary visit our Postdocs website. 

About the Faculty of Nursing

The Faculty of Nursing at the University of Calgary has a proud history going back more than 50 years. The faculty has grown from a school of nursing in the newly formed University of Calgary in the 1960s to a full-on faculty in the 1970s. It began with a Bachelor of Nursing program and has expanded to include a graduate program with master's, nurse practitioner and doctoral studies. Concurrent with the addition of graduate studies, the faculty embarked on development of a research program. By 2015, the faculty proudly supported four chairs in nursing research and two research professorships.

UCalgary Nursing vison of nursing excellence through leadership, innovation and resilience continues to influence and change the face of nursing education, research and practice. Our mission to lead the generation of research and scholarship to improve and innovate nursing education, health outcomes and systems transformation. We deliver resiliency-informed experiential programs that develop the future leaders and innovators of the discipline and nursing practice. We engage with local and global communities to develop sustainable relationships for mutual benefit and increased resiliency.


About the Owerko Centre

The Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI) is dedicated to studying neurodevelopmental disorders and child mental health. Understanding neurodevelopment, neurodevelopmental disorders, and child mental health requires collaboration and coordination and a multidisciplinary team science approach. The Owerko Centre was founded to bring together multiple parallel efforts within neurodevelopment research and serve as a multidisciplinary research hub with a broad translational focus on neurodevelopment, child mental health, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Researchers in the Owerko Centre advance knowledge about brain development and child mental health, from the cellular level to public policy, drawing upon a wide spectrum of research methods.

Launched in the fall of 2015, The Owerko Centre draws its support from a critical mass of multidisciplinary researchers across the University of Calgary with expertise encompassing a broad range of neurodevelopmental and pediatric mental health research in basic, clinical, health services and population health.

Owerko Centre membership consists of 52 principal investigators representing faculties across the University of Calgary including Arts, Cumming School of Medicine, Kinesiology, Nursing, Social Work, and the Werklund School of Education. In addition to our cross-disciplinary team of principal investigators, the Owerko Centre includes over 180 trainees from the undergraduate to post-doctoral levels.

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.

Additional Information

To learn more about postdoctoral scholar opportunities at the University of Calgary and all we have to offer, view our Postdoc Careers website. For more information about the Faculty of Nursing visit Careers in the Faculty of Nursing

About the University of Calgary

The University of Calgary is Canada’s leading next-generation university – a living, growing and youthful institution that embraces change and opportunity with a can-do attitude. Located in the nation’s most enterprising city, the university is making tremendous progress on its Eyes High journey to be recognized as one of Canada’s top five research universities, grounded in innovative learning and teaching and fully integrated with the community it both serves and leads. The University of Calgary inspires and supports discovery, creativity and innovation across all disciplines. For more information, visit

To succeed as one of Canada’s top universities, where new ideas are created, tested and applied through first-class teaching and research, the University of Calgary needs more of the best minds in our classrooms and labs. We’re increasing our scholarly capacity by investing in people who want to change the world, bringing the best and brightest to Calgary to form a global intellectual hub and achieve advances that matter to everyone. For more information visit

About Calgary, Alberta

Calgary is one of the world's cleanest cities and has been named one of the world's most livable cities for years. Calgary is a city of leaders – in business, community, philanthropy and volunteerism. Calgarians benefit from the strongest economy in the nation and enjoy more days of sunshine per year than any other major Canadian city. Calgary is less than an hour’s drive from the Rocky Mountains and boasts the most extensive urban pathway and bikeway network in North America.

The University of Calgary has launched an institution-wide Indigenous Strategy in line with the foundational goals of Eyes High, committing to creating a rich, vibrant, and culturally competent campus that welcomes and supports Indigenous Peoples, encourages Indigenous community partnerships, is inclusive of Indigenous perspectives in all that we do.

The University of Calgary recognizes that a diverse staff/faculty benefits and enriches the work, learning and research experiences of the entire campus and greater community. We are committed to removing barriers that have been historically encountered by some people in our society. We strive to recruit individuals who will further enhance our diversity and will support their professional success while they are here. We encourage all qualified applicants to apply, however preference will be given to Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada.


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