Melanie Noel – Pain: Where do our childhood experiences fit in?


We are honoured and delighted to welcome Dr Melanie Noel to Le Pub. Melanie will guide us through and help us understand the links between childhood and adult pain, what children remember about painful experiences, how those memories develop, and how we can harness those memories and target them in interventions to foster more positive, accurate memories.


‘Childhood memories of pain can dictate how we deal with pain in the future.’

About this event

60% of kids with chronic pain will become adults with chronic pain.

What are pain memories?

How do memories of pain affect our pain trajectory?

How can we prevent the development of chronic pain?


Dr. Melanie Noel’s internationally recognized research has changed the understanding and treatment of the psychological aspects of childhood pain. She helped develop guidelines for pain reduction during vaccinations that have been adopted by the World Health Organization.

Melanie Noel, PhD, RPsych is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Calgary and a Full Member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education, and Owerko Centre. She directs the Alberta Children’s Pain Research Lab within the Vi Riddell Pain & Rehabilitation Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

Dr. Noel’s expertise is on children’s memories for pain and co-occurring mental health issues and pediatric chronic pain. She published conceptual models of children’s pain memory development, co-occurring PTSD and chronic pain, and fear-avoidance. In recognition of her contributions to advancing knowledge of the psychological aspects of children’s pain, Dr. Noel received early career awards from the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP), the Canadian Pain Society, the American Pain Society, the Canadian Psychological Association, and the Society of Pediatric Psychology.

Dr. Noel is an advocate for the use of developmentally tailored psychological interventions for pediatric pain management and serves on committees to promote and implement evidence-based interventions within her children’s hospital and beyond. As an evidence lead on the Help Eliminate Pain in Kids and Adults team, Dr. Noel co-authored clinical practice guidelines for pain and fear management for vaccine injections. Many of these recommendations were adopted by the World Health Organization.

Dr. Noel has broad clinical experience spanning both child-clinical (mental health) and pediatric (coping in the context of illness or injury) psychology and is fascinated by the role of parents and family in children’s mental and physical health. Particular clinical interests include pediatric acute and chronic pain (cognitive-behavioral and acceptance based therapies), emotion dysregulation (dialectical behavior therapy), and chronic illness.

When she isn’t at her lab at Alberta Children’s Hospital, Dr. Noel is at her “lab” at home: She is the proud mother of 3 young children.