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CAMH awarded two major national research grants

Two different CAMH teams were awarded major Emerging Team Grants in a strategic program targeting “Co-morbidity of brain disorders and other health problems.” CAMH received two of the six research grants recently awarded across the country by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), earmarking nearly $2.6 million dollars in groundbreaking mental health research at CAMH over the next five years.

One CIHR grant allows staff led by CAMH’s Child, Youth & Family Program to do multifaceted work in child and youth concurrent disorders. The other grant went to researchers in the Social, Prevention and Health Policy Research unit for community-based research using the new Mobile Lab. The Mobile Lab is funded in part under the $15 million Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) award for infrastructure received last year.

Concurrent disorders and youth

Dr. Joe Beitchman, clinical director of CAMH’s Child, Youth & Family Program and 11 of the other co-investigators from CAMH will lay much-needed groundwork for improving the understanding, screening and treatment of concurrent disorders (co-occurring mental illness and substance use problems).

Taking a developmentally informed approach they will focus on the transition from childhood to adolescence, the period of maximum risk for the initiation of and steep increase in the use of illicit drugs.

“An important component of this project is also capacity-building by involving stakeholders,” Dr. Beitchman says. “We will build collaborative networks with community service providers who work with youth, with the objective of establishing an integrated health service and research network.”

Major national research grants went to two CAMH teams including CAMH researchers Dr. Jürgen Rehm (top) and Dr. Joe Beitchman

Multidisciplinary research hits the road

The CAMH Research team, including Drs. Samantha Wells, Jürgen Rehm, Kate Graham and others, brings together community partners, CAMH staff, and investigators from many disciplines. The team will use a mobile community research laboratory to help improve understanding, treatment and prevention of addiction and mental illness co-morbidities in a diverse set of communities.

Using a mobile lab to bring research to the community is a “brilliant” concept, according to Dr. Bruce Pollock, CAMH’s vice president, Research, who says this grant is also crucial because it allows CAMH to take an important first step in its ground-breaking CFI grant, “before we even have a shovel in the ground.”

“This grant illustrates very well the multidisciplinary potential of CAMH’s research,” Dr. Pollock says. “It represents a true collaboration of the biomedical and social community scientific components of the CFI grant.”

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