Kathleen Pajer

Investigator, CHEO Research Institute

Dr. Pajer is a Full Professor of Psychiatry, was Chair of the University of Ottawa Department of Psychiatry from 2017-2022 and Chief of the CHEO Psychiatry department from 2014-2022. Her research has produced over 80 peer-reviewed papers, mainly on two topics: 1) the biopsychosocial characterization of conduct disorder in adolescent girls and 2) improving the child and youth mental healthcare delivery system. The work has been funded over the years by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Ontario Ministry of Health, and various non-federal funders.

Dr. Pajer’s current focus is on using precision health to transform child and youth mental healthcare delivery and research. She is the Medical Lead of the CHEO Precision Child and Youth Mental Health Initiative, a cross-institutional program with SickKids in Toronto.

Research Projects

  1. Circadian cortisol secretion in adolescent girls with conduct disorder


    This study advanced our knowledge about girls with severe antisocial behavior, discovering that lower circadian cortisol secretion is present in girls with CD, but largely due to decreased volume of cortisol secretion between awakening and 30-minutes post-awakening time. Comorbid internalizing disorders were not associated with differences in circadian secretion of cortisol, compared to girls with only CD.

  2. A stochastic optimization approach for staff scheduling decisions at inpatient units


    In this paper, we propose an optimization scheme in order to schedule the operations of the orthopedic surgery division at Habib Bourguiba University Hospital. This type of planning could be performed for a general problem of scheduling “n” operations in “m” operating rooms and “b” recovery beds with the conditions that: m ⩽ b, longer operation takes longer recovery time and no wait as much as possible between the operating room and the recovery room.

  3. Peripheral and neural correlates of self-harm in children and adolescents: a scoping review


    Our scoping review demonstrates that this corpus of research is not sufficiently mature for a meta-analysis to identify potential biomarkers. Many conflicting results are reported for the 28 specific correlates. Interpretation of the divergent results is hampered by methods that may have produced biased findings and samples mainly generalizable to clinical populations and girls. Most of the work was done in adolescents, not children younger than 11 years.

  4. Parenting during the COVID-19 pandemic: The sociodemographic and mental health factors associated with maternal caregiver strain


    Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new stressors for parents (“caregivers”) that may affect their own and their child’s mental health (MH). We explored self-reported levels of caregiver strain (parents’ perceived ability to meet parenting demands), and the MH and sociodemographic factors of caregivers to identify predictors of strain that can be used to guide MH service delivery for families.