A poll of our membership identified that a majority of our members believe in the importance of research and would like to see an increased involvement of the organization in such projects. Collaboration with Dr. Sagar Parikh the University Health Network, funded by the TC LHIN was created.
A member survey, led to the creation of the MDAO Research Advisory Committee (MRAC), consisting of members with lived and/or family experience. The committee provides expertise and guidance on research and evaluation proposed to be done by MDAO, as well as on how to collaborate with researchers from other organizations. In that spirit, the first collaboration with an external project involved the CAN-BIND research program, housed at UHN. The CAN-BIND project involves looking for biological tests, or markers, that predict response to treatment for depression. In order to guide the research and dissemination efforts, CAN-BIND has a patient and family advisory committee, which is primarily staffed by individuals from MDAO.
Dr. Sagar Parikh joined MDAO in 2010 as a consultant when the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) granted funding for the provision of special services by a psychiatrist from the University Health Network. The funding was not for psychiatric clinical care, but to enable MDAO to improve program evaluation and improve the coordination of services.
Dr. Parikh, who now works in Michigan and in Toronto, is a researcher, educator, and clinician, with over 150 articles published and multiple awards for teaching and for research. His major research interests include clinical treatments in mood disorders, health services research, genetics, epidemiology, and educational research. Current major studies include identifying biomarkers in depression, testing functional remediation for bipolar disorder, and pharmacogenomics studies for depression.
MDAO also collaborates with the University of Michigan, where the first Depression Center in the US was created, along with the National Network of Depression Centers. Click here to see the research.
Established in 2001, the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center (UMDC) is the first of its kind devoted entirely to bringing depression into the mainstream of medical research, translational care, education, and public policy. The Center is at the forefront in changing the paradigm of how depression and bipolar illnesses are understood and treated.
This study examines the impact of MDAOs Laughing Like Crazy stand-up comedy training and peer support program. A total of 40 participants taking part in the Laughing Like Crazy training program in 2013-2014 agreed to contribute in a program evaluation. The results were very positive.
The Collaborative Research Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD) is a multidisciplinary network of researchers, healthcare providers and people living with the condition. We are dedicated to research and knowledge exchange about psychological and social factors in bipolar disorder. Our aim is to enhance the health and wellness of people living with the condition. http://www.crestbd.ca/
The Ontario Brain Institute (OBI) – The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially‐funded, not‐for‐profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain discovery, commercialization and care. www.braininstitute.ca
CAN-BIND is Canada’s largest research program in mood disorders, and MDAO is a key partner, providing research direction as well as education/ Knowledge Translation advice and general feedback. The MDAO provides this input through the CAN-BIND Patient and Family Advisory Committee, where over a dozen MDAO members serve as the heart of the committee. For more information on CAN-BIND, click here.