Today is World Creativity and Innovation Day! This is a United Nation’s holiday celebrating the importance of creativity and innovation in all aspects of human development.
At CanFASD, we like to push the boundaries and come up with creative solutions to real-world challenges. Our team is at the forefront of FASD innovation in Canada. To celebrate World Creativity and Innovation Day, we wanted to share some of the ground-breaking things we are doing to address FASD in Canada.
Did you know that CanFASD started the first-ever comprehensive FASD Database in the world? This is an ongoing project that collects real-time data from FASD diagnostic clinics across the country. The data gives researchers a look into the profile of real Canadians with FASD. The Database helps to inform both FASD policy and practice in Canada.
Our Diagnostic Research Co-Lead, Dr. Mansfield Mela, and a team of experts have developed the first and only medication algorithm specifically for FASD. Up until this algorithm was published, clinicians had no guidelines to help them make decisions about what medication they should give to people with FASD. As a result, people with FASD were often being prescribed too many medications and those medications weren’t working as expected. This algorithm is a step-by-step instruction manual that helps clinicians make decisions about what medications to give each different patient.
We don’t just celebrate innovation within our organization, we also highlight the innovative work being done across Canada! Our Claudette Bradshaw FASD Innovation Award is given annually to an individual or organization that has developed an innovative intervention that has made a substantial contribution to the field of FASD. This award is meant to encourage creativity and innovation in FASD and inspire future initiatives.
Under the leadership of Dr. Nancy Poole, we’ve mobilized a team of experts from across Canada focused on FASD prevention initiatives. This team meets monthly to update each other on regional and local work and discuss research, policy and practice developments related to FASD prevention. The network has over 70 active members from across the country that are collaborating on innovative solutions to FASD prevention, like the Co-Creating Evidence Evaluation Project.
As an organization, our goal is to have all of Canada engaged and united in addressing FASD. To achieve this goal, we asked the Federal Government to develop a National FASD Strategy. This strategy will help get all provinces and territories on the same page and provide a way forward for how we can collectively address FASD in our country.
A national strategy to address FASD isn’t a new idea. In 2018, the Australian Government launched their own National Strategic Action Plan to address FASD. In 2020, the Government of Canada funded the development of a National Autism Strategy. But creation of a National FASD Strategy would mean big things for FASD in Canada. We encourage everyone to connect with their local candidates or members of parliament to support this initiative.
Creativity and innovation play a big role in finding solutions to complex problems. We’re really excited to have such a great team who bring imagination and inspiration to everything that they do.