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About SickKids

September 5, 2013

SickKids and CAMH join forces – backed by $4.5 million investment in children’s mental health

Dr. Peter Szatmari named the Patsy and Jamie Anderson Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health

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Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO, SickKids, Dr. Peter Szatmari, Patsy and Jamie Anderson Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health, and Dr. Catherine Zahn, President and CEO, CAMH, at the chair announcement Sept. 4.

As kids across the country go back to school, two of Canada’s leading specialty hospitals are joining forces to tackle one of the most pressing health issues of our time: understanding and improving children’s mental health.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) is partnering with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) – backed by two philanthropic families and a combined investment of $4.5 million – to focus efforts on system-wide improvements for children and youth in need of mental health services across Ontario. Among the goals:

  • Identifying top community priorities for child and youth mental health;
  • Improving access and quality of care for children and youth, including more prevention and early intervention initiatives (especially in schools);
  • Accelerating discovery and innovation to find the causes of mental health disorders and better treatments; and
  • Training the next generation of leaders to address issues in child and youth mental health.

Leading this effort is Dr. Peter Szatmari, a renowned autism researcher and psychiatrist who this spring began a newly created, combined role at the University of Toronto, SickKids and CAMH to develop an integrated Child and Youth Mental Health program. Szatmari was officially welcomed as the inaugural Patsy and Jamie Anderson Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health at a special event at SickKids on Sept. 4.

The Patsy and Jamie Anderson Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health is a unique joint appointment at SickKids, CAMH and the University of Toronto – thanks in part to a generous donation of $1.5 million by Patsy and Jamie Anderson of Toronto, who have supported both hospitals as active volunteers for many years.

Patsy Anderson served on the SickKids Foundation Board from 2001-2011, the last five years as Chair. Jamie Anderson is a past Chair of the Board of CAMH, currently sits on the Board of CAMH Foundation and has been a co-chair of its successful $108 million Transforming Lives Campaign as well as its current campaign. SickKids Foundation is matching the Anderson gift to endow the Anderson Chair in perpetuity.

Knowing that support for young clinician-scientists is critical in this emerging field, another couple, Gail and David O’Brien, have generously committed $1.5 million to recruit postdoctoral scholars or fellows at the MD or PhD level.

The O’Brien Scholars Program in Child and Youth Mental Health will support a variety of early-stage researchers at both CAMH and SickKids over the next five years. Gail O’Brien was appointed a Trustee for SickKids in 2004, joined the Board of SickKids Foundation in 2009 and has joined CAMH Foundation campaign cabinet. David O’Brien is Chair of the Board of Encana and Chair of the Board of Royal Bank of Canada.

“Bringing our two organizations together is fundamental in improving mental health outcomes for children,” says Ted Garrard, President and CEO, SickKids Foundation. “We are grateful to work collaboratively with CAMH and to be backed by the outstanding contributions made by these donors to achieve new scientific discoveries.”

For Darrell Louise Gregersen, President and CEO of CAMH Foundation, hospital partnerships catalyzed by philanthropy are the future of innovation: “We know how important it is for institutions to work together in a field as critical as children’s mental health. Enabling the best minds to tackle this issue – backed by the deep commitment of donors like the Andersons and O’Briens – offers the opportunity for unparalleled impact.”