Human Early Learning Partnership

The Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) is an interdisciplinary research institute based at the School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of British Columbia. HELP’s brings together researchers and practitioners from across BC, Canada and internationally to address complex child development issues. HELP’s research projects explore how different environments and experiences contribute to health and social inequities in children’s development over their life course.


All children thriving in healthy societies.


We are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children through interdisciplinary research and mobilizing knowledge.

HELP strives to engage First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in research, data collection, and reporting in a culturally-responsive and safe manner that acknowledges the history, language and culture of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children and their families. HELP also recognizes the importance of conducting research that is guided by First Nations, Métis and Inuit ways of knowing.

To support this approach, HELP established an Aboriginal Steering Committee (ASC) in 2003. ASC members are leaders and experts, and elders and community members from First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities in BC and Canada. The ASC works in partnership with HELP faculty, staff and partners to understand the needs of First Nations, Métis and Inuit children, their families and communities. Learn more about the ASC.

“Our partnership with the UBC HELP team continues to have a significant impact on our ability to create healthy environments for our students in schools, and to support efforts in the community to focus on the wellness of our children.”

HELP's Child Development Monitoring System

The Middle Years Development Instrument is part of HELP’s Child Development Monitoring System. HELP’s monitoring system consists of a series of population-level questionnaires – the TDI, CHEQ, EDI and MDI (see details below) – that are used to collect longitudinal data about child development and the contextual factors that influence development. These questionnaires gather data from parents, teachers and children themselves at important transitional points in child development, providing important information from these multiple perspectives.

This monitoring system is the foundation for HELP’s interdisciplinary program of research that attempts to answer and address questions about the differences that make a difference in children’s development. For example, researchers working at HELP are using data from across the monitoring system, including the MDI, to learn more about children’s social and emotional health and well-being. In addition, these data are being used across sectors to support collaboration and inform policy and practice.

HELP's Founder

The institute was founded by Drs. Clyde Hertzman and Hillel Goelman in 1999. Clyde’s vision for HELP was to advance knowledge about child development and importantly, to apply this knowledge in communities. The work of HELP over two decades would not have been possible without his vision and passion.

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