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About Kathy Speechley

Dr. Kathy Speechley is a population health specialist whose research concerns social determinants of health for children, including family structure, as well as quality of life in children with chronic illnesses.

Asset Map Keywords: Epilepsy, Quality of Life, and Social Determinants --> (see more)
Children's Health Collaborators: Simon Levin, Craig Campbell, and Jamie Seabrook

In collaboration with pediatricians like Dr. Simon Levin, community groups, and the families of patients, she has extensively studied the factors behind quality of life with children diagnosed with epilepsy. Dr. Speechley’s other research is also collaborative, helping design data collection methods to analyze population health and quality of life factors.

A weak correlation between severity of epilepsy in children and their quality of life indicates other factors are just as important as treatment when evaluating care. What factors, and why? Using qualitative and quantitative methods, while tracking children in longitudinal studies, to develop guidelines for managing quality of life outcomes for children with epilepsy.
Goal: to establish a system of healthcare for children with epilepsy that goes beyond treatment and management of the disorder.

After quality of life factors are established for children with epilepsy, which can be influenced in an impactful, cost-effective way? Developing and testing community supports, such as a mindfulness workshop, with community-based specialists like Dr. Karen Bax.
Goal: to create cost-effective treatment options that support children with epilepsy and their families.

Dr. Speechley received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979 and Master of Arts degree in 1981 in Sociology at The University of Western Ontario. She obtained her PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics at The University of Western Ontario in 1987 and then spent two years as a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University. Dr. Speechley, Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Epidemiology and Biostatistics, was appointed at Western in 1989.

Research Interests
Dr. Speechley’s two main research interests are quality of life in children with chronic illnesses and their families and social determinants of child health.

Research Activities
Dr. Speechley completed a multi-centre study following children newly diagnosed with epilepsy for two years to document the course and determinants of their quality of life. She is currently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to conduct a long-term follow-up of these children through adolescence and young adulthood. She continues to collaborate with colleagues on several studies assessing social determinants of health in children.

Research Cluster Membership

Research Interests
  • Quality of life in children living with chronic illness: trajectories and determinants
  • Social determinants of child health
  • Relationship between maternal and child health
  • Health survey methodology

Research Interest Area: Children's health
Research Overview: Epidemiology; Health related quality of life; Child health; Survey research methods


Present Professor, Western University Department of Paediatrics
Present Professor, Western University Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Present Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute ‐ Children's Health Research Institute (CHRI)


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Recent Works (7)