Compelling, Collaborative Keynote Address for the 2024 Sport for Life Ottawa Summit

Sport for Life is thrilled to announce a collaborative keynote address that will take place on Thursday, January 25 at the Sport for Life Summit in Ottawa. Drs. Jennifer Fraser and Tracy Vaillancourt will deliver a joint presentation focusing on abuse-free sport and mental health, with Dr. Jean Clinton providing an introduction on the topic. The Ottawa Summit takes place January 25-26 at the Nepean Sportsplex.

The need to belong is a fundamental human motivator. Yet, in the context of sport, the importance of belonging and mattering, built on positive relationships between athletes and coaches, is often neglected. This keynote will first review the research on the neurobiology of interpersonal relationships in relation to mental well-being and sport performance, and then apply this knowledge to the real world of sport with a focus on keeping them safe for all participants.

These three renowned speakers are very well equipped to speak on the subjects. Opening the session will be Dr. Jean Clinton – an acclaimed clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, with a specialization in Child Psychiatry. Dr. Clinton is not only a respected academic but also a dynamic influencer in the field of education and mental health.

Following Dr. Clinton’s introduction, Drs. Fraser and Vaillancourt will deliver their joint address. With her PhD in Comparative Literature from the University of Toronto, Dr. Fraser has honed a unique skill: the ability to cross-pollinate ideas across different disciplines, leading to groundbreaking insights. A decade ago, she embarked on a transformative journey by bringing together the seemingly disparate fields of bullying, abuse, and neuroscience. Her exploration and discoveries in this interdisciplinary arena have culminated in her latest work, The Bullied Brain: Heal Your Scars and Restore Your Health (2022). This book is not just a testament to her innovative thinking but also a beacon of hope and healing for many.

Dr. Vaillancourt – A distinguished Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in School-Based Mental Health and Violence Prevention at the University of Ottawa – brings a unique blend of expertise and experience. As the president of the International Society for Research on Aggression and a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Vaillancourt is at the forefront of research in her field, which primarily focuses on the intricate links between exposure to violence and mental health, with a particular emphasis on social neuroscience. Her work is not confined to the academic realm alone; she also holds a Canada Soccer National B Licence and National Youth Licence, and serves in various capacities with Canada Soccer and Ontario Soccer. This diverse involvement underscores her commitment to fostering positive environments in both educational and athletic settings. 

Join us on January 25 for this fascinating address. View the full Summit program here. Register for the Ottawa Summit here. Learn more about the Summit at If you have any questions at all about the event, please email Emily Rand:

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