IMHP is pleased to invite you to our 7th Bi-Annual National
Expanding Horizons for the Early Years Institute on Infant Mental Health. 

There is a robust body of science underlying the importance of infant and early childhood mental health. Those implementing programs and services for families must have an understanding of scientific research in order to integrate evidence based knowledge and practices towards successful outcomes. The emerging research in the fields of neuroscience and epigenetics increasingly shapes our understanding of mental health and development in early childhood, but it is not always clear how this scientific inquiry can be integrated into everyday practice for frontline practitioners. How does the science of infant and early mental health change our knowledge, policy, and practice?

The field of infant mental health is built on foundations of interdisciplinary understanding. In the current landscape, practitioners come from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds and draw upon diverse facets of knowledge to inform their roles. Effective practice requires understanding of how brain development is scaffolded through the early years, the cumulative effect of experience on typical and atypical development, foundations of learning, and integration of therapeutic approaches into practice. Through community collaboration - the organic processes that build relationships across disciplines by exploring and maintaining partnerships - practitioners can benefit from the shared experience and expertise of others. This includes building a body of evaluation data to contribute to this understanding within scope of practice. However, knowing enough of the science to integrate and build evidence based practice also requires critical thinking. In application one must be cautious that ‘evidence’ may be unintentionally misused or misconstrued due to bias, systemic or individual perceptions.

This Institute presents a springboard for innovation and change across Canada – to better understand what works in prevention and early intervention practice, and how we can make systems of care and the services delivered more effective for families and young children. We hope that you will join our faculty of top experts in the field of infant mental health and early childhood development to share and discuss YOUR work with infants and families at this exciting National event.

The 2019 Expanding Horizons for the Early  Years National Institute on Infant Mental Health will bring together practitioners from multiple perspectives to reflect on the values of scientific research & evaluation when considering the promotion of early mental health. We will examine how evidence and understanding of core theories such as attachment and developmental neuroscience, has informed practice, and how community based programs enhance the critical work they do to provide meaningful services for families. 

This event is for multidisciplinary practitioners, supervisors, educators, researchers, administrators and policymakers concerned with the care of infants and young children and their families in settings such as:

  • children’s mental health/ psychiatry
  • infant and child development
  • health care (nursing, family medicine, pediatrics)
  • public health and policy
  • early childhood education, learning and care
  • pre- & post-natal programs
  • early intervention
  • child protection
  • Aboriginal Head Start programs
  • family resource centres
  • post-secondary education
  • social policy and advocacy

We invite all practitioners across Canada to join us and share our excitement about this forum, to build a stellar line-up of internationally recognized speakers. With over 25 different concurrent sessions to choose from there is something for everyone. We are sure you’ll find it a rewarding learning experience.


Submissions are invited for 90 Minute Concurrent Session Presentations

Papers (research, evaluation);
Workshops (emerging practices, programs);
and/or Thematic Symposia (collaborative presentations) on the topics of:

  • Innovative infant and early childhood mental health promotion, prevention and intervention programs, evaluation & research to inform emerging best practices in service delivery.
  • Translating emerging research on typical and atypical development in early childhood, neuroscience, and therapeutic approaches into practice.
  • Policy frameworks and advocacy efforts that support infant and early childhood mental health.
  • Innovative programs and initiatives which build practitioner capacity.
  • Models for effective interagency and interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Strengths based approaches for working with Indigenous families and promoting cross-cultural competence. 
  • Effective application of observation, screening and assessment approaches.
  • Parent support programs and resources, family-centred practice, and father involvement.Important themes (e.g., trauma, determinants of health, adoption) as applied in practice, which could include case presentations.





Only e-mailed submissions on the forms provided will be accepted. Completed forms should be sent by email to

Deadline for Submissions is June 1, 2018. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by the end of July 2018

Please Note: NO honoraria, accommodation, travel or other expenses are covered for presenters.
Presenters will receive a significant discount towards registration, however, ALL concurrent session presenters are expected to register and pay the appropriate fees.

Do you have programs or products to highlight?

Expanding Horizons for the Early Years brings together practitioners and service providers, physicians, academics and researchers from across Canada and internationally to share innovative and effective practice to enhance mental health outcomes for infants, toddlers, and families. Integral topics of promoting mental health, understanding brain development, self regulation, attachment, parent/ child attunement, observation, assessment, intervention and support for infants and families, will be woven throughout.

We hope that you will join our faculty of top experts in the field of infant mental health and early childhood development to share and discuss YOUR work with infants and families at this exciting National event. We encourage you to make use of this ideal opportunity to educate participants about your products and services and/ or to sell your products and resources.

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Prospectus COMING SOON

We have been very pleased to host many wonderful presenters including a wide range of colleagues from across Canada and internationally. Each installation of this event has brought together more than 450 delegates each over three days, to share their work, new research and practices related to socio-emotional development of infants and toddlers.

Some comments from past institutes:

“All of the speakers gave 200 per cent in presenting and the IMHP did 200 per cent to make us feel welcome and send us home with new ideas and resources to try with families. ”

“As always, IMHP training opportunities offer the best of the best.”

“I am leaving here feeling validated in the work I’m already doing and inspired in pursuing further study to expand my practice. Thanks.”

“An informative, inspiring conference. It’s also so reflective of collaboration on behalf of children.”

“Overall level of presentations – Exceptional!”

Click the links below to view the event brochures from past institutes.

Expanding Horizons for the Early Years: Looking Back to Transform the Future, 2015

with keynote presenters  Judy L. Cameron,Jean Clinton, Nathan Fox, and Harriet MacMillan

Expanding Horizons for the Early Years: Promoting Mental Health from Conception and Beyond, 2013

with keynote presenters Cindy-Lee Dennis,Deborah Weatherston,Dr. Allan Schore, Lee Ford-Jones, Paula Tyler, and Michael Trout

Expanding Horizons for the Early Years: Making Relationships Work for Infants and Toddlers, 2011

with keynote presenters Richard Tremblay, J.Douglas Willms, Nicole Letourneau, Jean Wittenberg and Mathew Melmed

Expanding Horizons for the Early Years: Practice, Research and Promoting Change, 2008

with keynote presenters Charles Zeanah, Roseanne Clark, Diane Benoit and Susan Bradley.

The Inaugural Expanding Horizons for the Early Years, 2005

keynotes included Janet Dean, Peter Rosenbaum, James McHale, and Sarah Landy.