Education PhD grad nominated for 2024 Women of Distinction Award for commitment to trauma research

Nathalie Reid, '20 PhD, supports not only children but those entrusted with their care as director of the University of Regina's Child Trauma Research Centre.

8 May 2024

Nathalie ReidSeptember 11, 2001 was Nathalie Reid’s fourth day of teaching at a secondary school in Ottawa. She recalls how all of her careful planning and her dramatic “literary terms” lesson became irrelevant as the chaos of the World Trade Centre attacks depicted in news stories tore through her classroom that morning. What mattered were the humans with whom she was sharing the space as they all wrestled to make sense of a world that was not making much sense.

When a young person in her class was diagnosed with terminal cancer a month later, Reid was again reminded of the importance of centring humans, rather than only focusing on curriculum and management strategies.

Thus began her career-long commitment to finding ways that centred the lives being lived on school landscapes, even before there were words like trauma and wellbeing on school landscapes.

In the midst of completing her PhD at the U of A, which focused on attending to teachers’ experiences of trauma and trauma-sensitivity, Reid was hired to operationalize the opening of the Child Trauma Research Centre (CTRC) at the University of Regina, which she did on March 10, 2020.

Since then, the CTRC has striven to fulfill its mission to actively shape the world in which we hope to live, with deep commitments to multidisciplinarity, strength- and evidence-based research, and accessible and responsible knowledge mobilization, all within and for the communities in which the CTRC is nested. Through its work, the CTRC strives to interrupt dominant narratives of trauma as brokenness, and to support not only children and youth, but also those entrusted with their care.

The CTRC now includes research chair Dr. Lise Milne and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Hang Tran, a fellow U of A graduate, as well as a research coordinator and 15 research assistants.

The team engages in research in seven priority areas: education, supporting mental health and wellbeing, early prevention and intervention, public safety families, health, pre- and post-migration trauma, and climate trauma. Each of these areas invites collaborative and community-based research dedicated to addressing the long-term social, health, emotional, psychological, and economic impacts of childhood trauma.

The CTRC also undertakes program evaluations in partnership with organizations such as the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation and Psychology Canada, and supports national organizations such as Women’s Brain Health Initiative program Brainable, the Families Matter Research Group/Garnet Families Network, the Canadian Consortium on Child and Youth Trauma, the AVA online learning platform to reduce violence against women and girls, and others.

Importantly, the CTRC has become a space supportive of the research spectrum from volunteer researchers, interns and undergraduate researchers to graduate and postdoctoral researchers. The vibrancy of this research community has fueled its successes both internally and externally, creating at the CTRC a space for thinking, learning, listening and growing in good ways.

Reid serves as the director of the CTRC, and it is through this capacity that the whole CTRC team has been recognized for its work in Regina, Saskatchewan, and beyond. She is a finalist in the 2024 YWCA’s Women of Distinction’s Action and Advocacy award.