The Medical Psychiatry Alliance kicked off its
inaugural annual conference at the University of Toronto,
October 31 with a call from one of its partners to challenge the status quo.
“The old ways simply are not good enough,” said Trillium
Health Partners President and CEO, Michelle DiEmanuele. “We need to challenge
each other. We have to disrupt, tick a few people off. People have to feel
uncomfortable in how we are changing systems models. This is about thinking and acting differently
on this pressing need in health care.”
The Medical Psychiatry Alliance (MPA) was formed
in January to address the challenge of integrating mental and physical
health care – a $60 million dollar
partnership between CAMH, Trillium, SickKids, the University of Toronto with
the support of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and
a generous anonymous donor.
“Within a system that tends to separate psychiatry from
general medicine we are not effectively recognizing and treating people with
physical and psychiatric illnesses," said CAMH Physician-in-Chief Dr. Benoit
Mulsant who was
recently appointed Executive Director of the MPA. “This Alliance
is all about putting mental health back into health care."
Dr. Benoit Mulsant welcomes conference participants
The MPA conference was attended by 200 physicians, clinicians,
and clinical leaders who work in primary care, mental health, emergency and
subspecialties in children’s health, medicine, seniors’ services and oncology.
The educational conference consisted of plenary speakers and
a panel discussion to discuss the use of collaborative care to create innovative
models of care in child, adult and geriatric medical psychiatry.
over 1.3 million people experience physical illness and mental illness at the
same time. Up to 25 per cent of people living with chronic health issues also
live with mental illnesses that contribute to their physical illness.
“We need to teach current and future health care
professionals how to prevent, diagnose and treat co-occurring medical and
physical illness within a novel integrated care model,” said Benoit. “We need
to create a new model of clinical care that will increase the life expectancy
of a vulnerable population.”