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Toronto Update: University of Toronto

09 Jul 2014 10:06 AM | CAGP (Administrator)

Division members continue to be actively involved in a number of exciting clinical initiatives. Dr. Carole Cohen and Dr. Joel Sadavoy remain active in the Behavioural Support for Seniors Program in the Toronto Central LHIN (TCLHIN). Dr. Cohen continues to lead the long-term care (LTC) sector and the community sector of this strategy. Dr. Sadavoy continues to chair the Toronto Central LHIN Education Consortium. Dr. Cohen assisted with the preparation of the Psychogeriatric Review for the TCLHIN and has been active in the North East Health Link as a member of the Advisory Council. Dr. Cohen also chairs the Better Care Committee, which oversees the development of a tracking system to identify patients who are high users of ED or inpatient services at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Dr. Cohen and Dr. Sadavoy are members of the North West Toronto Health Links Steering Group and Dr. Sadavoy remains involved with the Reitman Centre, which has seen significant expansion over the past year. The centre focuses on training caregivers of patients with dementia and has now expanded into two community settings (St. Christopher’s House for the Portuguese community and SPRINT) in addition to providing formal training for all care coordinators in the Toronto Central CCAC. In recognition of its accomplishments the Reitman Centre Training Program for Health Care Professionals was awarded the prestigious University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine Ivan Silver Award for Innovation in Continuing Professional Development. The centre also remains actively involved in both research and policy development.

Division members are active in all aspects of the undergraduate curriculum. In postgraduate education, the Division trained residents in mandatory training positions, geriatric psychiatry subspecialty residents and fellows. For each six-month block of the PGY3 core geriatric psychiatry core rotation, there was a monthly centralized seminar series led by various faculty members in the Division. Geriatric psychiatry was successfully accredited as a subspecialty at the University of Toronto and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in February 2012. An internal review was conducted in April 2014 and the program was successful. The first resident graduated this academic year and three more residents will graduate in December 2014. The program has accepted three residents for the 2014-15 academic year with two residents from Toronto and one from Quebec. Members of the Division that participated in the Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Program Committee were Corinne Fischer, Ilan Fischler, Peter Giaccobe, Robert Madan (Chair/Program Director), Tarek Rajji, Mark Rapoport, Leslie Wiesenfeld and Vincent Woo. The Geriatric Psychiatry Subspecialty residents were represented on this committee as well. Darcy O’Brien received this year’s Division of Geriatric Psychiatry Resident Award.Substantial progress continues to be made in many areas of research in part due to the success of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA) established by the Toronto Academic Health Science Network. The TDRA is an academic coalition of the five memory/dementia clinics affiliated with the University of Toronto (Baycrest, CAMH, St. Michael’s Hospital, Sunnybrook Hospital and University Health Network) and the Faculty of Medicine of the University. The TDRA has fostered increased collaboration, which has resulted in another year with considerable increase in external funding to Division investigators. The thematic highlights of Division collaborative projects include cognitive impairment in late life bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia; depression and coronary artery disease, genetic and therapeutic studies in traumatic brain damage; imaging of brain inflammation as well as dopamine, serotonin and muscarinic receptors in a variety of late-life conditions and amyloid deposition in Alzheimer’s disease and fronto-temporal dementia; pharmacotherapy of dementia and related psychiatric symptoms; psychotic depression; the relation between affective disorders and balance and mobility; and neuroplasticity studies across the lifespan using brain stimulation techniques.

One major accomplishment for our Division this past year is a $10M award by Brain Canada to conduct a randomized controlled trial to prevent Alzheimer’s dementia in older patients with depression or mild cognitive impairment. This five-year project will be led by CAMH and includes all other four TDRA sites.


Bruce G Pollock, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Professor, Psychiatry & Pharmacology
Director, Division of Geriatric Psychiatry
University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine

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