Give Back to Mental Health Research on GivingTuesday

By now, most of us are familiar with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. But the true opening day of the annual holiday season is GivingTuesday, a national day of giving, and a time when Canadians come together to support charities and non-profit organizations that make our lives and our nation better each day. Founded in 2013 by the GIV3 Foundation and CanadaHelps, GivingTuesday is a grassroots movement that is now celebrated in 71 countries. This year, GivingTuesday falls on Tuesday, November 29.

As a registered charity and an organization that gives back to the health and well-being of Canadians each day through vital mental health and addictions research, the Homewood Research Institute invites you to celebrate the season of giving by supporting our efforts to improve mental health and addiction treatment outcomes for all Canadians.

When you donate to HRI, you support research that will advance both practice and science in the field of mental health and addictions. We engage patients, families, clinicians, treatment providers and scientific experts in solution-focused studies that will improve care for those struggling with mental health and addiction problems. Our vision is clear: no life held back or cut short by mental illness or addiction. And our vision can be achieved through the collaboration, knowledge exchange and robust scientific research that your donations support each day.

Donations can be made in honor or in memory of someone special and can be designated to a priority area of research that is most meaningful to you as a donor, such as addiction, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, or to the Shelley Marshall Scholarship Fund.

HRI is grateful to our past and current donors, without whom we would not be able to continue making a difference in the lives of Canadians.

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HRI Evaluation Studies Are Receiving National and International Attention

HRI is working with Homewood Health Centre clinicians and patients to develop a rigorous approach to program evaluation to guide improved treatment and enhance outcomes.  This evaluation work has started in the Addiction Medicine Service (AMS), in collaboration with AMS leaders Dr. Harry Vedelago and Wendi Woo and the patients they serve.

This article highlights initial findings by describing two presentations made at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine (CSAM) and the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM), which attracted experts from more than 30 countries to Montreal from October 20 to 23. There is also a link below to a related paper HRI published in the Canadian Journal of Addiction.

James MacKillop

The first CSAM-ISAM paper was presented by Homewood Senior Scientist, Dr. James MacKillop, who is Boris Chair in Addictions Research, Director of the Boris Centre for Addictions Research, and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University.

To improve our understanding of links between substance abuse and trauma among patients admitted to the Addiction Medicine Service at Homewood Health Centre, he systematically screened 540 patients. A high proportion of these patients reported traumatic life events. Dr. MacKillop’s ongoing research program will clarify the relationship between trauma and substance abuse, and how to use the emerging findings to improve personalized care and to guide program development based on a deeper understanding of the needs of individual patients and the population of patients served by the program.

Sarah Sousa

At the CSAM-ISAM meeting, HRI Senior Research Coordinator, Sarah Sousa, delivered a presentation entitled Development and Early Findings from the Homewood Post-Discharge Outcome Monitoring System in the Addiction Medicine Service.  Homewood and HRI are jointly developing this ground-breaking system to understand recovery and to measure treatment outcomes.

This research, done in collaboration with Dr. Brian Rush as well as Homewood clinicians and patients, will be used to inform clinical practice in the Addiction Medicine Service at Homewood Health Centre and provide a model for outcome monitoring. In her presentation, Sarah introduced Homewood’s outcome monitoring protocol, which involves a series of self-reported questionnaires administered to patients at admission to Homewood Health Centre, at discharge, and again at one month, three months, six months and 12 months post-discharge.

Over the past 1.5 years, HRI has engaged approximately 700 patients in the initiative. Preliminary findings based on 167 patients who provided data at admission, and again at one month post-discharge, show that they experienced very encouraging overall improvements, both in terms of abstinence and in several life domains, such as mental health, physical health, occupational performance and quality of life. We will report more detailed outcome information in future newsletters.

HRI’s Post-Discharge Monitoring System will continue to examine and deepen our understanding of the short- and long-term impacts of inpatient addiction and mental health treatment.

Recently Dr. Jean Costello, HRI Research and Evaluation Scientist, and her colleagues published a peer-reviewed article in the Canadian Journal of Addiction detailing the development and implementation of HRI’s Outcome Monitoring System at Homewood. This paper appeared in a Special Issue of the journal, Co-Edited by Dr. Brian Rush, who collaborates in the development of the outcome evaluation system, and Dr. Costello.

We are grateful to the Homewood Addiction Medicine Service patients and clinical staff, especially Dr. Harry Vedelago and Wendi Woo, and to Dr. Rush for their collaboration in this work.

Dr. Martin Taylor Elected to Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Martin Taylor receives Fellowship award from CAHS

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Martin Taylor, HRI board member and renowned health researcher, on his election to Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Fellowship in the Academy is one of the highest honours for individuals contributing to the field of health science. Fellows are recognized nationally and internationally for their achievements in advancing and promoting health research to improve the health of Canadians.

Dr. Taylor has long been recognized for his leadership and commitment to advancing academic health science, particularly in the fields of environmental and community health. He holds an extensive record of governance experience as a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Board, as board member and chair of the Michael Smith Health Research Foundation, and as board chair of the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo. He is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Victoria, and Adjunct Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences at McMaster University, and in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Martin Taylor

Dr. Martin Taylor

Dr. Taylor founded the Institute of Environment and Health at McMaster University, and was also instrumental in creating the Centre for Addictions Research BC at the University of Victoria. He has supervised numerous doctoral students who went on to become health research leaders, and he is the author of two books and more than 100 peer-reviewed publications in the field of environmental and community health.

Recently, Dr. Taylor was appointed Executive Director of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network, an organization partnering with Statistics Canada to facilitate improved and secure access to social, economic and health data for researchers across the country.

We extend our sincere congratulations to Dr. Taylor on his Fellowship award. Dr. Taylor’s leadership, creativity and excellence in serving the health science community will continue to guide HRI in our pursuit to improve mental health and addiction treatment outcomes for all Canadians.

HRI Scientists Awarded National Funding

Homewood Research Institute (HRI) and Homewood Health Inc. (HHI) are pleased to announce three research proposals recently approved for funding by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s federal funding agency for health research. These projects further our understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and addiction.  Both projects in PTSD research will involve the Homewood Health Centre and are intended to guide clinical practice.  The addiction study is community- based and will involve Homewood clinician, Dr. Harry Vedelago as an advisor.

Grants received by HRI scientists include:

  • Paul Frewen, Ruth Lanius, Margaret McKinnon and others received $100,000 over one year to study mindfulness meditation for PTSD, with or without neurofeedback. Learn More
  • Ruth Lanius, Margaret McKinnon, Paul Frewen, Rakesh Jetly and others received $607,780 over five years to study PTSD and its dissociative subtype in military personal and veterans. Learn More
  • James MacKillop and his colleagues, including Homewood clinician, Dr. Harry Vedelago, received $1,215,555 over five years to study alcohol trajectories during the transition to adulthood. Learn More

This funding allows HRI researchers to continue on their path to improving care through the development of new treatments and innovations. Congratulations to the scientists who prepared these successful proposals. Thank you to Homewood clinicians and staff for their input and collaboration in planning and conducting these studies.

The Cowan Foundation Builds Capacity for Innovation

The Cowan Foundation cheque presentation

Pictured from left to right: Terry Reidel, Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation; Margaret McKinnon, Associate Co-Chair, Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University, Senior Scientist, Homewood Research Institute; Heather McLachlin, President, Cowan Insurance Group; Roy Cameron, Executive Director, Homewood Research Institute; Jagoda Pike, President and CEO, Homewood Health Inc. (HHI); Rob Schlegel, CFO, RBJ Schlegel Holdings Inc.

Knowledge must be applied in practice to benefit people.  The Schlegel research enterprises, the Homewood Research Institute (HRI) and the Research Institute for Aging (RIA) are exploring innovative models to integrate research and practice to improve lives.

The Cowan Foundation is enabling us to take this work to a new level. On Thursday, June 23rd the Foundation donated $100,000 to support joint efforts of HRI and RIA to provide leadership in bringing evidence and practice together in mental health, addiction and aging.

Over the past several years the RIA’s Research Application Specialist, funded by The Cowan Foundation, has explored the process of knowledge mobilization and has identified key barriers, and more importantly, opportunities. Research must answer a need; engaging stakeholders in the research process helps to ensure the knowledge gained is relevant and can be of direct benefit. The findings then need to inform practice, programs, and policies where the information can translate into impact.

“Without the capacity to integrate learning into practice, research sits on the shelf.  It often takes years to move from discovery into health care practice,” says Roy Cameron, Executive Director of HRI. “The goal of both organizations is to decrease that gap, so that emerging evidence benefits as many Canadians as possible, as fast as possible.”

The RIA is finalizing a framework to capture learnings to date and guide future knowledge mobilization efforts. While this framework considers the context of aging, HRI can readily adapt and apply these learnings to mental health and addiction, improving our own knowledge mobilization efforts. Key next steps will be utilizing these frameworks in upcoming projects and continuing the dialogue between both organizations about what works and what doesn’t.

The recent gift from The Cowan Foundation will pave the way for HRI and RIA to more effectively mobilize and apply the latest research. Through collaboration, both organizations can make strides in closing the gap between research and practice.

HRI Sponsors Inspirational Play

Homewood Research Institute was pleased to sponsor Shelley Marshall’s one-woman play, Hold Mommy’s Cigarette, for shows in Cambridge, Hamilton and Toronto throughout March and April 2016 and again in Hamilton from September 26 – October 2nd, 2016.

Hold Mommy’s Cigarette is an autobiographical play that shares Shelley Marshall’s intimate journey through mental illness, the suicide of her father, her own suicide attempt and the effects that have lingered throughout her life.

Shelley offers hope to many through her inspiring life as a speaker, comedienne, writer, producer and actor.  She performs Hold Mommy’s Cigarette across Ontario and speaks at events to raise awareness for mental illness.  Shelley has gained tremendous success with Hold Mommy’s Cigarette, including a nomination for Best One Person Show (Canadian Comedy Awards), winner Gold for Best Theatre Production (View Magazine) and Best New Discovery (Now Magazine).

To honor Shelley and support her mission, Homewood Research Institute has launched the

Shelley Marshall Scholarship

This scholarship will support a graduate student committed to finding solutions that improve care through applied research.  Homewood is doubling your investment!  All donations made will be matched by Homewood Health Inc.  Donate Now to Shelley’s scholarship.

For information and to purchase tickets for upcoming shows go to

Dr. James MacKillop receives top award from the American Psychological Association

Join us in congratulating Homewood Senior Scientist Dr. James MacKillop. Dr. MacKillop recently received the 2015 Award for Distinguished Early Career Scientific Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association.  This award recognizes excellent psychologists who are at early stages of their research careers (up to 10 years after receiving their doctorates).

Dr. MacKillop joined McMaster University in 2014 and currently serves as the inaugural Peter Boris Chair in Addictions Research and Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research.  He also holds a position as Homewood Senior Scientist.  In the short time Dr. MacKillop has been in Canada he has recruited outstanding scientists to the Boris Centre from the US, has engaged strong contributors from faculty at McMaster/St.Joseph’s, maintained and grown international collaborations with outstanding US research centres, built an addictions laboratory, secured funding from major granting agencies, mounted multifaceted studies, built a training program, engaged local clinical programs (including at Homewood), and established a tradition of publishing in collaboration with clinicians.

Dr. MacKillop has laid a foundation for a research program that ranges from basic research with many dimensions (including neuroscience, genetics, behaviour, and  microbiome) to real world clinical research. Findings from the lab in Hamilton can be brought to bear in improving practice within Homewood, and clinical observations from the Addiction Medicine Service at Homewood can inspire new research studies in Hamilton.

A detailed description of James’ background and research appeared in the November awards issue of the American Psychologist.

We congratulate Dr. MacKillop on his award. We are confident that this work will lead to important advancements in both science and addiction treatment.