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.