Speech from the President: SPOR Adolescent and Youth Mental Health Network

Montreal, Quebec
June 13, 2014

Good afternoon,

Thank you for the kind introduction, Jacques.

It's a pleasure to be here today in support of this very exciting new initiative.

For 14 years, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has been a major investor in mental health research.

Over this period, we've supported the efforts of outstanding Canadian mental health researchers with over $600 million in funding.

Their output has been world class.

As a matter of fact, a report from the Council of Canadian Academies published in 2012 highlighted psychology and cognitive sciences as one of two fields where Canada's international impact ranked in the top 5 worldwide.

Yet, despite these undeniable scientific successes, there is still a major gap between the production of research evidence and the systematic and widespread application of this knowledge to improve health.

All too often, research results fail to turn into clinical applications, or promising solutions fail to extend beyond the teaching hospitals where they were first developed.

To accelerate the impact of research results on disease prevention, diagnosis and care, CIHR, together with partners from the public (namely the provinces), private, and charities sectors have launched the Strategy for Patient-oriented Research (SPOR).

This Strategy is meant to support the type of inquiry that will ensure that patients receive the right treatment at the right time; that evidence-based solutions find their ways to the front lines of health delivery.

The Strategy implies connecting from the get go researchers with clinicians, patients and research users, to ensure that the research agenda is centered on their needs.

The TRAM network that is being announced today is the first pan-Canadian network created under the umbrella of SPOR.

It is a transformative research initiative that ultimately aims to change the way mental health services are delivered to adolescents and young adults affected by mental illness.

It is a terrific opportunity and an honour for CIHR to participate as a partner and a co-leader with the Graham Boeckh Foundation in supporting this initiative. An initiative, I should add, that will be watched closely by stakeholders not just in Canada but internationally because, make no mistake, this is not research as usual.

Dr. Malla's network – ACCESS Canada – was chosen after a very innovative, comprehensive and competitive selection process. His proposal was judged to be the best poised to capture the perspectives of troubled adolescents and youth and to find innovative solutions for improving the mental health services we can offer them.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to each review member for the contributions they made during this process. They have helped shape and orient what is a tangible and high-profile effort to close the gap between research and improved care.

Again, CIHR is extremely proud to partner with the Graham Boeckh Foundation in this endeavor and we look forward to following the progress of ACCESS Canada in the months and years ahead. Thank you.

Date modified: