Psychiatrists recognize outstanding contributions to mental health at their annual conference

Psychiatrists recognize outstanding contributions to mental health at their annual conference

On September 14, 2019, the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) recognized exceptional psychiatrists, psychiatric residents and individuals for their contributions to the mental health of Canadians.

CPA conferred its highest award, the President’s Commendation, to two worthy recipients in appreciation of their outstanding contributions and mental health leadership in Canada:

Andrea Paquette, an award-winning mental health speaker, activist, educator and published author from Vancouver, British Columbia, who has helped to destigmatize mental illness through her charitable work as president and founder of the Stigma-Free Society.

Mary Deacon, chair of Bell Let’s Talk, for her leadership of the country’s largest-ever corporate mental health initiative in support of research, greater access to treatment, improvement of workplace mental health and the fight against stigma.

Dr. Sabina Abidi from Halifax, Nova Scotia, received the C.A. Roberts Award for Clinical Leadership. Throughout her career, Dr. Abidi has advocated for system change to improve mental health services for children and youth, especially for those living in underserviced areas. Early in her career, she initiated a shared mental health care program in the Halifax Region, and a decade ago, she developed the IWK Youth Psychosis Program. This program was the first to formally link services to bridge the gap for youth transitioning to Nova Scotia’s adult mental health system.

Dr. Alexander McGirr from Calgary, Alberta, was recognized with the Early Career Achievement in Psychiatry Award. Dr. McGirr completed his residency just two years ago, but has already dedicated 15 years to psychiatric research. He also has over 60 peer-reviewed publications in top-ranked journals in psychiatry and neuroscience, the vast majority as first author. At the University of Calgary, where he is an assistant professor, Dr. McGirr leads a pre-clinical research program that uses animal models to study brain circuitry changes after stress as well as a clinical research program that uses non-invasive neurostimulation for depressive disorders.

Dr. Harriet MacMillan, a psychiatrist and paediatrician from Hamilton, Ontario, was honoured with the J.M. Cleghorn Award for Excellence and Leadership in Clinical Research for her research on the prevalence of child maltreatment and intimate partner violence. Over the past 30 years, her groundbreaking research has highlighted the important relationship between exposure to child maltreatment and mental health outcomes in adulthood. Dr. MacMillan developed a concise and valid measure for child abuse, which serves as a foundation for many international surveys, and as a result of her studies, decision-makers are refocusing their efforts towards developing and evaluating interventions to prevent child maltreatment before it occurs.

Dr. Nadiya Sunderji received the Paul Patterson Innovation in Education Leadership Award. Dr. Nadiya Sunderji was recognized by the CPA for implementing novel training in integrated mental health care for psychiatry residents at the University of Toronto. This training is recognized across Canada and is founded on a national study led by Dr. Sunderji. The study developed expert consensus on the core competencies needed by psychiatrists to practice collaborative care. An essential aspect of the program is its varied clinical settings, such as homeless shelters and child protections services, which allow residents to reflect on how to embed community service within their individual career. Through this program, residents provide service in settings where psychiatric care was previously unavailable.

R.O. Jones Awards for Best Papers

1st place: Madison Lackie, Dorothy Shaw, Deirdre Ryan, Barbara Shulman, Andrea Kennedy, Lori Brotto

2nd place: Allison Crawford, Anne Kirvan, Eva Serhal, Shelley McMain, Tali Boritz, Robert Cardish, Stephanie Cassin, Gili Adler Nevo, Christine Mitchell

3rd place: Tea Rosic, Balpreet Panesar, Nitika Sanger, Brittany Dennis, Caroul Chawar, Alessia D’Elia, Alannah Hillmer, Zainab Samaan


Best Research Poster Awards

1st place: Rachel Grimminck, Joanna Rankin, Paige Durling, Jihane Henni, Dean Mrozowich,  Amber Barlow

2nd place: Deanna Bruno, Leslie Molnar, Rebecca Yang, Jennifer Hensel

3rd place: Amal Abdel-Baki, Dominic Thibault


Best Early Investigator Poster Awards

1st place: Andrew Perrin, Mark Horowitz, Jacob Roelofs, Patricia Zunszain, Carmine Pariante

2nd place: Cara McQuaid, T. Leblanc, D. Groll, T. Reshetukha

3rd place: Emily Yung, Tamara Cassis, Nancy Low


Fellows and Distinguished Fellows of the CPA
On Saturday at lunch, at its annual general meeting, the honour of Fellow of the CPA was bestowed upon CPA member psychiatrists Dr. Katherine Gillis, Dr. Popuri Krishna, Dr. Heather Milliken, Dr. Alexander Simpson, Dr. Nachiketa Sinha and Dr. Joel Watts.

Dr. Padraic Carr, Dr. Raed Hawa, Dr. Karen Saperson, Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam and Dr. Karandeep Sonu Gaind were honoured with the distinction of Distinguished Fellow of the CPA.

Other psychiatric organizations also recognized the noteworthy work of their colleagues during the CPA annual conference:

Alex Leighton Joint CPA – Canadian Academy of Psychiatric Epidemiology Award in Psychiatric Epidemiology
Dr. Norbert Schmitz

Association of Chairs of Psychiatry of Canada Award for Excellence in Education
Dr. Catherine Hickey

Association of Chairs of Psychiatry of Canada Annual Research Award
Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy

Association of Chairs of Psychiatry of Canada Award for Creative Professional Activity
Dr. Joshua Rosenblat

Coordinators of Undergraduate Psychiatric Education Award for Best Paper by a Medical Student
Dr. Mirna Hennawy

Coordinators of Undergraduate Psychiatric Education  Award for Early Educator
Dr. Ariel Shafro