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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Two exceptional CAMH leaders named to the Order of Canada

Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO and Lisa Brown, Executive Artistic Director and Founder of Workman Arts to be honoured.

TORONTO, Dec. 29, 2014– Dr. Catherine Zahn, CAMH President and CEO has been named as a Member of the Order of Canada for “her contributions as a neurologist, health care administrator and advocate on behalf of those living with mental health and addiction issues”. Lisa Brown, a member of the CAMH community for over 30 years, has also been named a Member for "her contributions to both the arts community and to mental health advocacy as the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Workman Arts," a CAMH Partner.

Called CAMH’s “nuanced crusader” by the Toronto Star, Dr. Catherine Zahn, a practicing neurologist and distinguished leader in health care, joined CAMH as President and CEO in December 2009. Her reputation in hospital integration and her leadership of the renaissance of the Toronto Western Hospital are notable accomplishments in a health care career that spans nearly 30 years. 

A champion for the integration of psychiatry and neuroscience, since joining CAMH Dr. Zahn has been working to steer mental illness into the mainstream of medicine and promoting equitable access to health care resources—as well as social inclusion—for people with mental illness and addiction. 

Dr. Zahn has led the way for CAMH’s visionary redevelopment project, driving social change from the heart of Toronto’s Queen Street West community. She has become a beacon of hope and optimism, working to make care and treatment more widely available, fostering breakthroughs in research and discovery, and challenging the stigma of mental illness through social advocacy.

Under Dr. Zahn’s leadership, the first ever mental health collaborative for children and youth was born between CAMH, SickKids and the University of Toronto, leading to improved access to care for our most vulnerable citizens. In another first, Dr. Zahn fulfilled a long-held vision with the recent announcement of the Medical Psychiatry Alliance – a unique collaborative between CAMH, SickKids, Trillium Health Partners and the University of Toronto-- building the bridge between mental health and physical health and toward truly integrative health care. 

“I’ve been given a sacred trust — to champion the cause of people with mental illness and addiction, and I have promised that everyone who touches CAMH will become an advocate for mental health,” said Dr. Zahn today. “Our patients have schooled me in courage and compassion and complexity. I am honoured, and humbled, to be named a Member of the Order of Canada on their behalf.”

CAMH is also celebrating Lisa Brown’s appointment to the Order of Canada. The Founder and Artistic Director of Workman Arts is being honoured for her contributions to both the arts community and to mental health advocacy.

Fresh out of nursing school, Lisa Brown began working at CAMH in 1982, offering frontline care to patients.  Recognizing the need for establishing an artistic outlet for psychiatric clients, in 1987 she went on to found Workman Arts, one of the largest and longest-running multidisciplinary arts and mental health organizations in the world.

For over twenty-five years, Workman Arts has empowered aspiring, emerging and established artists with mental illness and addiction issues to develop and refine their art practice through multifaceted arts training programs and public performance and exhibition opportunities in five disciplines: music, theatre, visual, literary and media arts. Her model has since been replicated around the world.

In 2004, Lisa Brown was decorated with the Governor General’s, Meritorious Service Medal for her vision in the founding of Workman Arts and again in 2012 when she received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal at Rideau Hall. In 2013, she earned a prestigious Ashoka Fellowship.

“I am honoured to be appointed a Member of the Order of Canada,” said Lisa Brown. “I am also grateful to many colleagues and friends who have worked with me over the years to support artists in their recovery and build a deeper and more empathic understanding of the challenges of mental illness and addiction through the arts.”

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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit www.camh.ca

Media Contact:
Kate Richards
Media Relations Specialist
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
416 535-8501 ext. 36015
media@camh.ca

 

  Dr. Catherine Zahn

 
 

 Lisa Brown

 
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