2018 Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children's Pain Relief
Ruth E. Grunau, PhD
Dr. Ruth Eckstein Grunau is a Professor in the Neonatology Division, Dept. of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia (UBC), and Senior Scientist in the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Grunau's early research (PhD UBC 1985) produced the first tool to quantify infant pain (Neonatal Facial Coding System [NFCS] 1987), which contributed to establishing that newborns perceive pain and the importance of pain behaviors in assessment of infant pain. Dr. Grunau is a leader internationally in research on long-term effects of pain in infants born very prematurely, who undergo frequent procedures while hospitalized in neonatal intensive care. Her ground breaking multidisciplinary research demonstrated that early pain exposure in these fragile babies alters brain development and stress programming from infancy to school-age, thereby contributing to their neurodevelopmental problems. Dr. Grunau’s research showing that pain in premature babies has long-lasting adverse effects was influential in changing policies in health care to recognize that pain management is critical for infants. Her current work addresses pain treatment in preterm infants. Dr. Grunau’s research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) USA and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). She has participated in leadership to advance the importance of child pain, as a Council member of the Special Interest Group on Pain in Childhood, International Association for the Study of Pain (2009-2015), and as a Co-Principal on Pain in Child Health, a CIHR strategic training initiative (2008-2017). She has published 170 peer-reviewed journal articles and 31 invited book chapters.
The Jeffrey Lawson Award was established in 1996 in memory of Jeffrey Lawson, whose mother, Jill, brought to the attention of professional organizations the practice of performing surgery and other procedures on children without the benefit of analgesia. The award recognizes advocacy efforts to improve management of pain in children.