INCH Lab Director - Dr. John Cairney


Dr. John Cairney is the Director of both the University of Toronto and McMaster INCH Lab, sites. He is an established, national academic leader in the field of pediatric exercise medicine and child health research, evidenced by the major research leadership positions he held early in his career: Canada Research Chair (Tier 2), Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto (UofT: 2005-08); McMaster Family Medicine Professorship in Child Health (2008-15); and McMaster Family Medicine Research Chair (2015-16) at McMaster University. Notably, he was the youngest scientist to be awarded a Canada Research Chair at CAMH, and the youngest member of the Department of Psychiatry at University of Toronto to hold such a distinction. Dr. Cairney is currently a Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education (FKPE) at UofT, and adjunct Professor in the Departments of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry at UofT and Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University. He is also a core scientist with the Offord Centre for Child Studies, CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research at McMaster University, and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.


Dr. Cairney has held numerous funded grants, totaling more than $16.5 million in research grants and contracts as a Principal Investigator. He has published over 220 articles in peer-reviewed journals since 1996, and has received numerous awards for his scholarly achievements, including two nominations for the prestigious Canada's Top 40 under 40 Award. He is the Editor/Author of four books, Mental Disorder in Canada: An Epidemiological Perspective (with Dr. David Streiner), Developmental Coordination Disorder and Its Consequences, Health Measurement Scales: A practical guide to their development and use. 5th Edition (with Dr. David Streiner and Dr. Geoff Norman), and Immaculate: A history of perfect innings in baseball. He is currently President-elect of the North American Society of Pediatric Medicine. Dr. Cairney has also held several positions that have allowed him to influence policy in Ontario. From 2012-2015, he co-led the evaluation of the Children’s Mental Health Strategy, a multi-ministerial initiative. Since 2013, he has been the Scientific Lead of the screening arm of the Special Needs Strategy for Children in Ontario. He currently serves on several editorial boards (e.g., BMC Pediatrics), and is the inaugural Editor-in-Chief of Current Developmental Disorders Reports.


Dr. Cairney has a multidisciplinary program of research, involving epidemiology, population health, kinesiology, psychiatry, social psychology, and pediatric exercise medicine. Broadly, he is interested in the association between physical activity and health (physical and mental), with a specific interest in the role that physical activity plays in the health and quality of life of children with chronic disease. Internationally recognized for his work in developmental coordination disorder (DCD) and its impact on the health and well-being of children, an important focus of INCH will be on understanding the determinants and consequences of this disorder. Dr. Cairney is also interested screening for early developmental delay, including DCD, and in health system response to identification of delay in children.


Published Books:

Cairney J, Streiner DL. (Eds) (2010) Mental Disorders in Canada: an epidemiological perspective. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.  

Authoured Chapters: Cairney J, Streiner, DL. Introduction: Psychiatric Epidemiology in Canada: A Coming of Age

Cairney J. (Editor). (2015). Developmental Coordination Disorder and Its Consequences. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Authoured Chapters: Cairney J. Chapter 1: Developmental Coordination Disorder and Its Consequences: An Introduction to the Problem

Streiner DL, Norman G, Cairney J. (2015). Health Measurement Scales: A practical guide to their development and use. 5th Edition. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press.

Cairney J. (2015). Immaculate: A history of perfect innings in baseball. Oakville ON, Canada: Mosaic Press