Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

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The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health is a clinical, research, and teaching facility that is associated with the University of Toronto. The Centre is one of only four mental health and addictions facilities to receive the Centre of Excellence designation by the World Health Organization (WHO). It was created in 1998 through the merger of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, the Donwood Institute, the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry, and the Addiction Research Foundation. The Centre's central research and clinical facilities are located in Toronto and 12 additional offices are found in communities throughout the province of Ontario.

The Centre's underlying goals are to advance the understanding of mental health and addiction and to utilize that knowledge in their treatment programs. It aims to prevent problems, find more effective treatments for mental illness and addictions, and improve the quality of life for persons who are afflicted with mental illness or struggling with addictions. It is a patient-centered institution that provides services that are sensitive to gender, age, race, culture, religion, and sexual orientation. The Centre is a unique entity that is recognized for its ability to:

  • Integrate biological, clinical, and social research;
  • Translate research results into treatments and tools for practical use;
  • Blend treatments for alcohol and drug addiction and mental health disorders;
  • Conduct leading-edge research; and
  • Provide continuity of care in one location.

The Centre is involved with many programs to strengthen the capacity and quality of mental health and addiction services in Ontario. One program, the Assertive Community Treatment Team, uses a multi-disciplinary team to provide intensive treatment of chronic mental illness in diverse communities. Another program educates family physicians, who have patients with addiction and mental health disorders, through a series of continuing education seminars. The Centre aids the smaller, more distant Ontario communities by sending "fly-in" consultation teams or through video conferencing with patients or health care providers. In addition, the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit is housed at the Centre and provides funds for surveillance, evaluation, and research into nicotine addiction.

The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry is the primary research site of the Centre. Funding is provided by the Ontario Ministry of Health, research grants, and donations. Psychiatric research programs include biochemistry, endocrinology, epidemiology, genetics, molecular biology, neurochemistry, neuroimaging, positron emission tomography (PET), and transgenics. Major areas of research include:

  • Investigating the biological aspects of mental illness and addiction;
  • Studying nicotine addiction;
  • Investigating treatments for depression;
  • Investigating treatments for children with behavioral problems;
  • Improving the treatment of schizophrenia;
  • Studying pathological gambling; and
  • Studying the issues of mental health and the homeless.

The Centre publishes the Journal of Addiction and Mental Health, a magazine that provides information and news items relevant to mental health professionals and other interested parties. The readership includes professionals, patients, consumers, and family members. Initially aimed at a Canadian readership, the Centre hopes to expand the Journal of Addiction and Mental Health to attract an international readership. Also published by the Centre is the Balanced Scorecard which provides an overview of the performance of the Centre.

Key personnel at the Centre include: Dr. Paul Garfinkel, president and chief executive officer; Jean Simpson, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Dr. Georgiana Beal, chief of nursing practice and professional services; Dr. David Goldbloom, physician-in-chief; Dr. Patrick Smith, Vice president, addiction programs; Jean Trimnell, vice president; mental health programs; Dr. Franco Vaccarino, vice president, research; Carolyn Nutter, vice president, community health and education; and Mary Deacon, president and executive director, CAMH foundation.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, is located at 33 Russell Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S1, (416) 535-8501, http://www.camh.net.

Belinda Rowland

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Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

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