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Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health

We lead, discover and innovate to transform brain and mental health in children and youth.

The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH) at SickKids is a hub that cultivates the multidisciplinary integration of clinical care, research and education to improve the outcomes of children and youth living with brain and mental health disorders.

The GH-CBMH focuses on building novel collaborations across paediatric neurosciences and mental health disciplines, programs, and services to drive innovation.

By pioneering new understanding, therapies and approaches to care for the developing brain, and promoting and executing interdisciplinary and interprofessional activities, the centre strives to exceed its reputation as innovators in paediatric neurosciences and mental health care, both at SickKids and across global scientific communities.

What we do

  • Bring leading brain & mental health clinicians, educators, and researchers together into a community of scholars
  • Discover the fundamental basis of brain & mental health through innovative research
  • Translate discoveries to accelerate improved brain & mental health outcomes for children, youth, and their families
  • Implement new paradigms to prevent and treat brain & mental health conditions in children and youth
  • Inspire, educate, and mentor future generations of brain & mental health leaders


The GH-CBMH is a multidisciplinary and interprofessional group of researchers, physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, whose reach extends across SickKids and throughout the global community. 

Interim Centre Leads

Donald Mabbott

Program Head and Senior Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health

Headshot of Dr. Peter Dirks.

Peter Dirks

Chief, Division of Neurosurgery

Executive Committee

Jeff Mainland

Executive Vice President (Executive Sponsor, GH-CBMH)


Marie Bomba

Director, Foundation Relations, SickKids

Jonathan Golden

Director of Collaborative Professional Practice (Psychology and Social Work)

George Ibrahim

Staff Neurosurgeon, Division of Neurosurgery

Photo of Angela Murphy

Angela Murphy

Vice President, Campaign, SickKids Foundation

Suneeta Monga

Suneeta Monga

Interim Associate Psychiatrist-in-Chief

Heather Soberman

Heather Soberman

Director, Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health

Peter Szatmari

Peter Szatmari

Co-lead of the Precision Child and Youth Mental Health Initiative at SickKids

Mahendra Moharir

Mahendranath Moharir

Interim Division Head, Clinical Director, Division of Neurology and Paediatric Stroke Program

Headshot of Louise Gallagher

Louise Gallagher

Chief, Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative

Headshot of Darryl Yates

Darryl Yates

Executive Director, Brain and Mental Health Services


While the GH-CBMH research arm is represented by the Neurosciences & Mental Health Program, the Centre’s research activities actively promote collaboration and partnership across all seven research programs at the SickKids Research Institute. 

  • To develop and encourage novel research opportunities through strategic Centre initiatives 
  • To manage and promote the Centre’s grant competitions 
  • To work with internal and external stakeholders to leverage all opportunities for collaborative research and funding 
  • To review and adjudicate research related funding requests that are submitted to the Centre

Grant competitions

Chase an Idea in Paediatric Neuroscience catalyst grant competition: The purpose of this competition is to support the discovery of new and potentially ground-breaking ideas that would not receive funding through typical granting agencies. Innovation is key! You must truly be chasing an out-of-the-box; provocative and high-risk idea that can move the field of brain and mental health forward.   

Principal applicants should be SickKids staff members including researchers, clinical staff, fellows, research associates and directors/managers/coordinators  

A suite of catalyst grants of up to $65,000 each are awarded for one year research projects that are novel and innovative yet based on sound rationale and evidence for feasibility in: 

  • Basic or clinical neuroscience or behavioral research and/or   
  • Knowledge translation in clinical neuroscience or behavioral care 

Submissions to this grant competition should only be made for new projects; the continuation of existing projects will not be supported. Applications should be written for a broad audience (clinicians and researchers) and not specifically for experts in their field.   

The next competition will open in Fall 2023.    


The Paediatric Health Outcomes catalyst grant competition is a strategic initiative of the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH). The purpose of this competition is to improve the brain and mental health outcomes of children and youth by supporting the development of new ideas and interventions that would not qualify for funding through typical granting agencies. A focus on health outcomes is key! You must implement unique concepts, approaches or methodologies that will catalyze improved paediatric brain and mental health outcomes.   

Principal applicants should be SickKids staff members including researchers, clinical staff, fellows, research associates and directors/managers/coordinators 

Grants of up to $100,000 ($50,000/year for two years) will be awarded for novel project proposals focused on improving brain and mental health outcomes in children and youth. The project must be collaborative, innovative and based on sound clinical and/or scientific rationale. Preliminary data is not required.  

The next competition will open in Spring 2023.

The Brain & Mental Health Innovation Fund: The purpose of this fund is to support Centre members who are applying to external granting agencies that require matching funds. The maximum match per project is $50,000 per year for up to three years ($150,000 total). 

Applicants must be employed by SickKids and have a Research Institute (RI) appointment that permits holding external grants. 

The external grant competition must be national or international. Proposals must be peer reviewed, and the project must focus on brain health or mental health related research relevant to children or youth, or to fundamental issues of brain development. 

The next competition will open in Spring 2023.

The Brain & Mental Health Program Development Fund is an exciting new initiative of the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH). The purpose of this funding is to support programs in carrying out innovative brain and mental health-related work.

The GH-CBMH invites proposals requesting funding that is programmatic in nature, with the intent of making an impactful contribution in the brain and/or mental health sphere. The maximum funding per project is $200,000 per year, for up to three years (i.e., $600,000 total). Two awards are available.  

This competition is currently closed. Consider joining our distribution list to receive updates on future funding opportunities.  

Recent Program Development Fund Recipients:


In September of 2021, the Centre received a monumental seven-year, $50 million transformational gift from Mr. Garry Hurvitz. This gift supports the now-named Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH), activities under the SickKids Mental Health Strategy, and the Garry Hurvitz Community Centre for Mental Health (GH-CCMH).  

Since the Centre’s inception in 2011, the GH-CBMH has:

  • Awarded 35 Chase an Idea and 18 Health Outcomes catalyst grants. This $3.7 million investment in brain and mental health research has led to many successes including $14.6 million in external funding, 92 publications and 178 invited presentations  
  • Awarded $630K in matching funds for innovative projects, leveraging $17.5 million in external grants.   
  • Funded 29 research and clinician-scientist fellowships, including 3 integrative fellows.  

In addition, these findings have led to three potential patent partnerships with SickKids Industry Partnerships & Commercialization office.

The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health recently launched a new award: the Garry Hurvitz Brain Heath Innovator. To help the GH-CBMH reach one of its key goals: better brain health for children and youth, this award mobilizes a clinician-scientist to pursue innovative ideas, connect with patients and families in the clinic, and collaborate with world-class SickKids scientists to help overcome intractable challenges.

GH-CBMH's catalyst grant competitions are strategic initiatives to support and encourage the discovery of new and groundbreaking ideas that would not receive funding through typical granting agencies. 

Here are the latest grant winners for their innovative, provocative, and high-risk ideas that may move the brain and mental health science forward. 

Chase an Idea in Paediatric Neuroscience 2022 

  • Dr. Steven Prescott: Homeostatic regulation of neuronal excitability in Rett syndrome
  • Dr. Brian Kalish: Decoding the Neurobiology of Early Life Stress and Resiliency Using Spatial Genomics
  • Dr. Trish Domi: Home-Based Virtual Reality Telerehabilitation to Improve Upper Extremity Motor Function in Pediatric Arterial Ischemic Stroke Survivors
  • Dr. Paul Frankland: Assessment of cognitive dysfunction in a mouse model of long COVID
  • Dr Lu-Yang Wang: The Hidden Secret of Cardiac Sodium Channel Nav1.5 in the Brain
  • Dr. Carmen Parra-Farinas: Robotic-Assisted Endovascular Simulation Using Anatomical-Realistic and True-to-Flow 3D-Replicas of Pediatric Neurovascular Pathologies

Health Outcomes 2022  

  • Dr. Estelle Gauda: A phase I, safety and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics study of oral LCitrulline supplementation in preterm infants at risk for adverse neurodevelopmental and pulmonary outcomes  
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Guerguerian: The Cerebrovascular Reserve After ECMO Study 
  • Dr. Benjamin Steinberg: Brain-derived extracellular vesicles are biomarkers of neuroinflammation in preterm neonates with necrotizing enterocolitis: preclinical and clinical studies 

Education and Knowledge Transfer

Part of the Centre's mission is to inspire, educate and mentor future generations of brain and mental health leaders, and we view all those who are engaged in training with us to be a very important part of this mission.

We offer comprehensive research training opportunities and catalyst grant competitions to enhance and supplement prior training, as well as to support the discovery of new and potentially ground-breaking ideas percolating within the Centre.

  • Identify and develop collaborative educational and knowledge translational initiatives across SickKids
  • Develop strategies integrating children and families in brain and mental health initiatives 
  • Review and implement innovative educational strategies
  • Implement Knowledge Translation (KT) strategies to facilitate new knowledge uptake globally
  • Act as a liaison between the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain and Mental Health Executive Committee, and internal and external partners for educational and knowledge exchange initiatives 

Awards & Fellowships 

Elizabeth Manson Award  

The Elizabeth Manson Award was established in 2005 by the Department of Psychiatry at The Hospital for Sick Children, to honour the lifetime commitment and dedication, to children’s mental health services and education that “Liz” has passionately demonstrated.

Supported financially by an endowment readily built by multiple donors, this award acknowledges the outstanding clinical and/or programmatic contributions of non-physician health professionals and/or leaders in the area of child and youth mental health, within the province of Ontario.

Value of award:
The selected recipient will receive an award of $1000 for their clinical or administrative/programmatic excellence in the area of child and youth mental health. Additionally, the recipient’s home institution will receive $1000 to support professional development.

The next nominations will be in Spring 2024. 

To submit a nomination: Please combine all requested documents into a single PDF document and send via email to Tegan Baker,

The Garry Hurvitz Generosity Award recognizes an outstanding GH-CBMH member (any individual working in the areas of brain health and mental health) who demonstrates generosity with their time and/or support to make a significant difference in the lives of their colleagues, patients, or families. 

Please note: This competition is restricted to internal, SickKids Research Fellows only.

The Integrative Research Training Fellowship Program is a strategic initiative of the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health, which provides advanced fellows with a comprehensive research training opportunity in a new discipline that enhances and supplements their prior training and professional background.

This Fellowship competition is held annually in the fall through Restracomp and the Clinician Scientist Training Program (CSTP).

Fellows must cross brain and/or mental health-related disciplines in order to be considered for an Integrative Research Training Fellowship.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  •  Neurologist or neurosurgeon training in a psychology lab;

  • PhD Social Worker training in psychiatry;

  • Neuroscientist training in a brain imaging lab or psychiatry.

Apply through Restracomp       Review CSTP policies and procedures (PDF)

The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH) is pleased to announce a call for applications for the inaugural Clinical Academic Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to provide candidates from any regulated healthcare profession from across the hospital with a comprehensive training opportunity in a new or different clinical area, which enhances and supplements their prior training and professional background.  

Designed as an integrative clinical academic fellowship, clinical and academic work could take place within any relevant clinical departments within the GH-CBMH at SickKids (e.g., the department of psychiatry, neurology, neurosurgery, social work or psychology) that is considered cross-disciplinary for the applicant. There are no restrictions on the type of integrative work conducted. Academic or scholarly work is also flexible and could include research (e.g., basic science or clinical research), teaching or educational scholarship, knowledge translation, patient experience research, quality improvement etc. Candidates from any regulated health care profession may apply. 

In their applications, candidates should provide a brief narrative on their expected clinical and academic/scholarship outcomes, including their clinical aims as well as academic project goals, and how the fellowship is cross-disciplinary and integrates different disciplines. Candidates must identify a primary clinical supervisor, and a second ‘mentor’ academic supervisor in another area/discipline than their own professional discipline. All supervisors must have a full-time faculty appointment at SickKids.  

Please review the Clinical Academic Fellowship guidelines for more information about eligibility, application process, adjudication, and award criteria.  

The next application process will begin in Spring 2024.

Questions? Please contact Tegan Baker, Program Coordinator at

AboutKidsHealth resources

We've curated a number of helpful resources on the brain and mental health from AboutKidsHealth, SickKids' health education website for children, youth and their caregivers. Visit the links below to learn more about each condition.


Interested in joining the GH-CBMH community? Complete our Member Registration form to receive timely updates about upcoming events, funding opportunities, fellowships and more.  


Contact us

If you have questions, please email us at

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