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(Class of '81) Melanie Barwick - Psychologist & Professor

Dr. Melanie Barwick, PhD, CPsych, is a Registered Psychologist with a primary role as a Health Systems Scientist in the Community Health Systems Resource Group at SickKids, and also holds appointments as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

As the Scientific Director of Knowledge Translation for the Child Health Evaluative Sciences Program at SickKids, Melanie has been developing and teaching a ground-breaking new training course designed to help scientists better communicate the impact of their findings to multiple audiences. It currently takes an average of 17 years to turn health-science discovery into practice, but “If you’re the mother of a very sick baby, 17 years is too long to wait. We have to find ways to shorten the time lag.”

Asked how The Study prepared her, Melanie shared, “The Study provided such an important foundation for my life, not just for my career. For me, the key elements were my teachers, the quality of the education I received there, and a community that provided somewhat of a buffer against several upending events in my life at a young age. I felt grounded at The Study; I felt at home.”

Regarding career and leadership, Melanie offered that, “Leadership skills make the difference between an ordinary career and one filled with more interesting opportunities. Leadership skills are important, but they must be balanced with good listening skills, attentiveness, humility, and core knowledge in your chosen field. Stepping up to lead is commendable, and may be recognized and rewarded by your own leaders and mentors, but you must also have a solid knowledge of your field and be humble about what you don’t know.”

Melanie continued, “Probably one of the most fundamental lessons about leadership is that once you become a leader, one of your most important tasks is to lead those coming up behind you.”
Her word of advice to today’s Study students? “Above all, be kind to everyone you encounter - in a way, kindness is the most fundamental leadership skill of all.”


  • 1996 Post-Doc, Hincks Institute (Infant Mental Health)
  • 1994 Post-Doc, University of Toronto (Developmental Psychopathology)
  • 1993 PhD, McGill University (Educational Psychology)
  • 1989 MA, OISE / University of Toronto (Special Education)
  • 1986 BA, McGill University (Psychology)

For more information on Melanie, visit: www.melaniebarwick.com