Promoting health in women and children

The Perinatal Epidemiology Research Unit (PERU) is a specialized and productive research unit based in the departments of Pediatrics and Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Founded in 1999, PERU’s mission is to promote women’s and children’s health and wellbeing by conducting excellent research and by teaching the next generation of physicians and researchers. PERU researchers’ findings inform and influence public policy and clinical practice to protect and improve the health of women and children in the Maritimes and beyond.

PERU’s team of leading researchers focus on the effects of mothers’ health before and during pregnancy, and on the health of their offspring. For example, the unit’s research provides crucial insights into the short- and long-term health impacts of such growing problems as maternal obesity and in utero exposures to environmental toxins.

Maintaining strong clinical connections

PERU’s researchers are situated in offices on the seventh floor of the IWK Health Centre, in close proximity to clinicians who work with pregnant women, newborns and children every day. These close ties to the clinical community ensure that the unit’s research is deeply informed by real-world challenges, and that its findings can be translated into improvements in clinical practice and health care policy. Ready access to clinicians also provides PERU’s trainees with many expert co-supervisors who can help guide them in their efforts to pursue highly relevant research projects.