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The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Heath at CHEO


CHECKPOINT - Special Edition


January 2007

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Strategic Directions 2007 and beyond

The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO has moved into the next phase of delivering on its mandate - integrating the child and youth mental health system. Our goal remains to help build a better system for children, youth, their families and caregivers in Ontario. Over the last two years we have worked towards that goal by funding and conducting research, fostering networks and partnerships and supporting education and intervention through a variety of activities.

It is clear to us that the breadth and complexity of the issues and opportunities demand a targeted approach to fulfilling our mandate. Defining the next phase of our activities as an organization has meant renewing our strategic plan and accountability framework.

The Centre's senior staff, with the support of a facilitator, engaged in a thorough visioning process. In addition, there was consultation with the full staff and the various committees involved in governing the Centre. These include representative groups of consumers and advocates, service providers, researchers and our advisory council. The process brought us to a strategic plan that we are confident will guide the Centre to achieve positive and meaningful impacts.

Strategic Impact and Action

The Centre's plan focuses on three strategic impact areas that will lead to system-wide change over the next 3 to 5 years. They are:

  1. Evidence-based knowledge and practice in use
  2. Capacity in training, research and evaluation maximized
  3. Working together with others to make child and youth mental health matter across Ontario

These are operationalized in seven key actions that continue to be implemented and held up for evaluation.

  1. Build, synthesize and mobilize the evidence
  2. Accept a model for measuring and monitoring the incidence and prevalence of child and youth mental illness in Ontario
  3. Build capacity in research; facilitating service providers’ ability to enhance research skills, maximize use of existing evidence and contribute to evidence through program evaluation
  4. Foster an integrated system through building partnerships and facilitating networks
  5. Become a recognized leader informing policy development and advocacy
  6. Engage and educate cross-sectoral service providers and educators who interact with children and youth
  7. Become a recognized leader in youth engagement for child and youth mental health in Ontario

Each of these also has a number of priority projects associated with it. Over time, we expect that the projects will be modified to reflect changes in the environment and emerging priorities for the Centre, its stakeholders and constituents.

Our mission and vision remain unchanged but our path to achieving them is clearer and better defined through our strategic plan. Mental illness and its associated stigma have marginalized too many young people and their families and caregivers for too long. There is now an upswing in the awareness of this societal negligence. The Centre continues to be a rallying point and a leader bringing people and information together to address the underlying issues in constructive and creative ways.

We welcome your input in how the Centre is doing. Contact us to discuss how we can work together to re-design and enhance an integrated system that successfully meets the needs of the province’s children, youth and their parents and caregivers.

Dr. Simon Davidson, M.B., B.Ch., F.R.C.P.(C)                          Dr. Ian Manion, Ph.D., C.Psych.
Executive Director, Planning and Development                       Executive Director, Operations

The Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO is committed to contributing to building the capacity of the mental health care system and the evidence-base that supports it.

We believe that a fully integrated system meeting the mental health needs of children, youth and their families in ways that are evidence-based, can be achieved.

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Centre Staff

In the summer of 2004 the Centre was launched with a stakeholder consultation session, a logo and one employee. Today the organization has grown to over two dozen creative and dedicated individuals working to bridge the gaps within the child and youth mental health system in Ontario.

Centre staff work in close collaboration across all projects. They are also organized according to their functions. Whether the management team, the project team leads, the research assistants and associates team, the Web site and applications team, the administrative team or the affiliated mental health team, all share a commitment to achieving the goals set out by the Centre.

Management Team
Management Team The Centre’s management team works collaboratively to lead and manage the many activities of the Centre. The team comprises Dr. Ian Manion, Executive Director, Operations; Dr. Simon Davidson, Executive Director, Strategic Planning and Development; Amy Boudreau, Manager, Administration; Karen Kidder, Manager, Knowledge Exchange.

Project Team Leads
Project Team Leads The Centre’s project team leads bring expertise from various areas to lead projects that fit within our mandate and to identify key opportunities for the future. Project team leads include Kristen Keilty, Web Site Administrator; Peter Levesque, Knowledge Exchange Specialist; Dr. Darcy Santor, Scientist; Dr. Howard Schachter, Scientist; Jane Tallim, Program Leader, Strategic Education and Youth Engagement; and Cecily Wallace, Media/Communications Specialist.

Research Associates and Assistants Team
Research Associates and Assistants Team The Centre’s research team engages in key projects such as program evaluation, systematic reviews and consultation services. The team comprises Susan Kasprzak, Research Associate - Program Evaluation; Judith VanBerkom, Information Specialist; Heather Ennis*, Knowledge and Communications Officer; and Research Assistants Simone Gélinas, Alberta Girardi, Denise Lacroix, Andrew Lumb*, Mylan Ly, Ceri Moore, and Shannon Roszell.

Mental Health Team
In efforts to support the integration of mental health research and intervention, the Centre provides some infrastructure and staff to affiliated programs. Staff includes Ana Carolina Aragao Delage, Data Clerk; Marina Lifshin*, Senior Data Systems Specialist; and Heather Maysenhoelder*, Research Assistant.

Web Site and Applications Team
Web Site and Applications Team The Centre’s Web site and applications team manages our Web site including the Web based directories and databases and the online grant application and review system. The team comprises Kristen Keilty, Web Site Administrator and Alex DeLeon, Web Site Applications Developer.

Administrative Team
Administrative Team The Centre’s administrative team supports our four advisory groups, the management team and other staff in addition to events planning and coordination. The team comprises Pauline Carr, Administrative Coordinator; Stuart Buist, Youth Coordinator – Dare to Dream; and Vanessa Pleasance, Receptionist.

*not pictured

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Research Grant Competition for 2007-2008

A key aspect of the Centre’s Grants and Awards program is its responsiveness to identified needs and potential gaps in areas related to child and youth mental health. This responsiveness is important in ensuring the continued relevance and impact of the work we fund. As such, priorities for funding are identified and reflected in our annual Research Grants competition.

The annual Research Grants competition is one of many funding opportunities available from the Centre to leaders in child and youth mental health in Ontario. It is a key opportunity to partner in strengthening the base of knowledge and consequently the system as a whole. The Research Grants competition consists of a two-phase request for proposals process that aims to bring community- and academic-based researchers together in true partnerships to fill gaps that currently exist in the literature.

The Centre funds high quality, applied research of “significant and direct” relevance to child and youth mental health in Ontario. We are primarily interested in funding outcomes-based research and research that will produce scientifically sound evidence-based practice.

Areas of special interest for the upcoming Research Grants competition include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Integration of the child and youth mental health system (within and between sectors)
  • Systematic reviews
  • Youth engagement in the child and youth mental health system (promotion, prevention, advocacy, policy development)
  • Uptake of evidence-based practice
  • Stigma reduction
  • Child and youth mental health care indicators and outcome measurement

The most competitive proposals are those with: unquestionable direct relevance to child and youth mental health in Ontario; a clear and focused research question that fills a knowledge gap; strong scientific methodology; and a research team that is methodologically sophisticated and complemented by a truly collaborative community-university (and/or academic health centre) partnership.

The Centre continuously strives to achieve its mission, vision and strategic directions through a number of activities and initiatives undertaken with other child and youth mental health leaders in Ontario. The annual Research Grants competition is one such example whose impact on the system and consequently on the lives of children and youth has significant potential.

Visit the Grants and Awards section of our Web site to get more information on detailed eligibility criteria and deadlines:

New Online Application System

The Centre launched a new, online application system for our Grants and Awards programs this past fall, beginning with the education awards. Moving to this new system will help streamline the process of receiving and reviewing new grants and managing existing grants. The move to an online application system is a direct result of feedback received in past competitions. We are excited about the new system and the feedback received so far.

The Centre’s new applications for each award are contained in a general Submission Package that prospective applicants can download from our Web site and work on from their own computer. Applicants must also download an Official Signatures Page to be filled out. Once the applicant has completed their submission package and has made arrangements for any other required documents (according to individual awards requirements), he or she is ready to begin. The online application requires information about the applicant, the project and the project sponsors to be filled out online. The applicant can also submit their submission package and other required documentation online by attaching it to their application.

Downloadable instructions are available for each grant and award to guide applicants through the application process and to outline what accompanying documents may be required (i.e. transcripts, support or reference letters, etc.) The Centre must receive all documents and the online application form by the application deadline specific to each grant or award, as included in the application instructions.

As with any new process, we anticipate making improvements to the system as we learn from each competition. If you are applying for a grant, we encourage you to use the Feedback section in the application form to let us know how the process worked for you and how we might improve it. If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Centre. Good luck with your 2007-2008 applications!

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In the last edition of CHECKPOINT we introduced our plans for a new feature: the Innovators’ Exchange. It is your opportunity to share your enthusiasm about the innovative initiatives you think are working well in child and youth mental health. Nominate an organization, partnership or champion in Ontario – submit a brief description to us about what you think makes their initiative innovative. The Centre will follow up on your lead. We want your view on what we can learn from others as we work together to improve child and youth mental health in Ontario.

As a starting point for the Innovators’ Exchange, the Centre proposes the following guidelines to help with your nomination. Consider nominating an organization, a partnership or a champion in your community whose work:

Involves a unique or innovative approach. Give us a paragraph about what makes it so.
Takes place in Ontario and is relevant to child and youth mental health. The more stakeholders involved, the better.
The nominations should:

  • Have at least two nominators – these can be from individuals or organizations. We request however, that both nominations be from different organizations.
  • Be submitted in writing to Cecily Wallace ( Please include contact information for those being nominated as well as those nominating them.

The CHECKPOINT editorial team will review submissions and prepare relevant articles for publication.

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Partnerships for Child and Youth Health Indicators

The Centre has been working with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the National Child and Youth Health Coalition (NCYHC) and others on the Partnerships for Child and Youth Health Indicators - Operating Grants. We urge you to consider this great opportunity for funding.

CIHR-Institute for Human Development Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH), the National Child and Youth Health Coalition (NCYHC), and their 13 partners are pleased to announce the launch of a Request for Applications on Partnerships for Child and Youth Health Indicators. The purpose of this initiative is to support teams of researchers and decision makers to develop and apply indicators of child and youth health and health care. More specifically, successful applicant teams will conduct research projects of up to 3 years duration on pediatric indicators in thematic areas identified as high priority by CIHR, NCYHC and their partners. Child and youth mental health has been identified as a thematic priority area with the Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health as a key partner for this theme. The registration deadline is March 1st, 2007. More information is available on CIHR’s Web site at:


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