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Thompson Rivers University will host a research team that will study the early development of local aboriginal children in the Kamloops area.

The B.C. government has appointed a psychologist to lead university researchers studying early development among First Nations children in Kamloops.

Dr. Rod McCormick will head research teams at Thompson Rivers University, where a search committee recruited him to partner with aboriginal groups in the area .

Dr. McCormick has worked with the Canadian Institutes of Mental Health, and his projects have included aboriginal mental health and youth suicide.

Children's Minister Stephanie Cadieux says Dr. McCormick's expertise as scholar of First Nations mental health will help improve culturally appropriate programs that strengthen the prospects for aboriginal children.

Alan Shaver, president and vice chancellor of the university, says support from the region's aboriginal bands helped attract Dr. McCormick to the facility.

The project involves $2.5-million in funding that has already been announced, with half the money coming from a 2007 grant from the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the rest from a $56-million private endowment fund created in 2002 and awarded to 29 post-secondary facilities around the province.