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News and Updates

  • 05 Dec 2016 10:47 AM | CAGP (Administrator)

    The Senate has published their report on Dementia this past week with 29 recommendations. Dr. Marie-France Rivard had presented to this committee on behalf of the CAGP, Bonnie Schroeder had done so on behalf of CCSMH, and Dr. Frank Molnar spoke on behalf of CGS, along with several other respected speakers. There is also a link to an executive summary of the report and an information pamphlet on dementia and its impact. Thanks to all the participants for their contribution.

    The Senate are putting together a short video about this initiative which I have participated in which will be available soon. 

    Please see the report here:

    Also interesting relative document:  

    It is anticipated that these initiatives will lead to a better quality of life for Canadians living with dementia. Please distribute this information widely to gain traction and increase its impact. Thank you. 

    Best regards, 

    Kiran Rabheru MD, CCFP, FRCP, DABPN

  • 05 Dec 2016 10:36 AM | CAGP (Administrator)

    The UBC Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Wilkins-Ho, continues to be academically active. Monthly Provincial Geriatric Psychiatry Videoconference Rounds are ongoing with video uplink to sites across BC. CADRE rounds (Current Areas of Division Research Endeavors) were held in June 2016 and served as a medium for subspecialty residents and division members to showcase academic and research projects.

    The CLeAR Partnership Alliance (Call for Less Antipsychotics in Residential Care) of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council is well underway in its second wave. Much is being learned as we attempt to reduce inappropriate usage of neuroleptics in those care facilities in BC volunteering to participate in this initiative.

    The Elder Care Ethics Committee has begun its second year of providing ethics consults to teams caring for our older adults. It is an interdisciplinary committee with members from Providence Health Care and the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. It is dedicated to supporting our clinicians, patients, and their caregivers and family. Medical Assistance in Dying has, of course, become a larger focus of discussion.

    We are happy to report that four new geriatric psychiatrists were graduated from the UBC Geriatric Psychiatry Subspecialty Training Program in June 2016. The program currently has two trainees on track to graduate in 2018 and is in the process of interviewing new applicants.

    We wish to thank Dr. Martha Donnelly for her tireless advocacy around trainee issues. While she has now stepped down from her former role of program director, Dr. Ashok Krishnamoorthy has taken her place and brings significant experience in medical education to UBC. Unfortunately, funding of positions remains an active issue and the number of supported places for the 2017 intake has dropped from two to one.

    As one of the largest and fastest growing health authorities in Canada, the Fraser Health Authority (spanning from the cities of Burnaby to Hope) is continuing to make exciting efforts to meet the demands of an aging population. One highlight is the Royal Columbian Hospital Redevelopment Project. Phase one, scheduled for completion in 2019, includes construction of a new 75-bed mental health and substance use facility. It will offer a dedicated geriatric psychiatry unit designed for older adults experiencing acute mental illness. 

    The UBC Tertiary Geriatric Psychiatry Committee continues to support P.I.E.C.E.S. initiatives in BC.   Dr. Carol Ward is the clinical lead for the Kamloops Interior Health Integrated P.I.E.C.E.S. initiative and the Tertiary Older Adult Provincial P.I.E.C.E.S. initiative. Dr. Mary Lou Harrigan is the project lead for the tertiary initiative. Both programs continue to progress well and there is interest from the BC government in expanding P.I.E.C.E.S. across the continuum of care in the province. To that end, an advisory committee, the Provincial P.I.E.C.E.S. Reference Group, has been struck.

    This committee is examining multiple approaches to expanding the program, including development of facilitators in BC. Dr. Ward and Dr. Harrigan have recently published a short film on P.I.E.C.E.S. and leadership, available at

    The Ministry of Health has also renewed our P.I.E.C.E.S. license, ensuring the initiative will be delivered across the continuum of care in BC.        Dr. Elizabeth Drance and Dr. Carol Ward continue to deliver their workshop: Dementia-Related Responsive Behaviour: Putting it All Together Using P.I.E.C.E.S. and the BC BPSD Algorithm – A Workshop for Physicians (3.75 hours accredited College of Family Physicians and Royal College of Canada). The workshop has been rolled out successfully in several sites across the province.

    We are also pleased to announce the publication of Seniors Services: A Provincial Guide to Dementia Care in British Columbia available at

    Submitted by: Dr. Paul Blackburn and Dr. Bonnie S Wiese.

  • 05 Dec 2016 10:33 AM | CAGP (Administrator)

    The Research Committee continues to work to promote research in geriatric psychiatry in Canada. Please contact if you would like to learn more or to be included in our budding research network.

    We are testing the ResearchGate platform as a way of creating a network of geriatric psychiatry research in Canada. Please visit the ResearchGate project page:

    If you have a ResearchGate profile, you can follow this project and receive updates about research initiatives out of the CAGP, including updates on your research and requests for collaboration, as well as be able to post and comment.

    Recent publications from Canada in seniors’ mental health include:

    The role of cerebrovascular disease on cognitive and functional status and psychosis in severe alzheimer's disease. Kim J, Schweizer TA, Fischer CE, Munoz DG. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print]

    'Growing Old' in shelters and 'On the Street': Experiences of older homeless people.

    Grenier A, Sussman T, Barken R, Bourgeois-Guérin V, Rothwell D. J Gerontol Soc Work. 2016 Sep 21. [Epub ahead of print]

    Partial and no recovery from delirium after hospital discharge predict increased adverse events. Cole MG, McCusker J, Bailey R, Bonnycastle M, Fung S, Ciampi A, Belzile E.

    Considering new treatment paradigms for neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Lanctôt KL, Boot BP, Bain LJ, Hendrix JA, Carrillo MC. Alzheimers Dement. 2016 Sep;12(9):1031-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jalz.2016.08.002. No abstract available.

    Trajectories of behavioural disturbances across dementia types. Linds AB, Kirstein AB, Freedman M, Verhoeff NP, Wolf U, Chow TW.

    Six-month trajectories of self-reported depressive symptoms in long-term care. McCusker J, Cole MG, Voyer P, Monette J, Champoux N, Ciampi A, Vu M, Belzile E, Bai C. Int Psychogeriatr. 2016 Jan;28(1):71-81. doi: 10.1017/S1041610215001179. Epub 2015 Aug 10.

    Changes in neuropsychiatric inventory associated with semagacestat treatment of Alzheimer's Disease. Rosenberg PB, Lanctôt KL, Herrmann N, Mintzer JE, Porsteinsson AP, Sun X, Raman R. J Alzheimers Dis. 2016 Aug 10;54(1):373-81. doi: 10.3233/JAD-151113.

    Depression predicts functional outcome in geriatric inpatient rehabilitation. Shahab S, Nicolici DF, Tang A, Katz P, Mah L. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Aug 13. pii: S0003-9993(16)30412-9. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2016.07.014.

  • 05 Dec 2016 10:31 AM | CAGP (Administrator)

    A silver anniversary! Twenty-five years have rushed by in a blur of activity and achievement. It seems just recently Ken Leclair, Marie France Tourigny-Rivard and Lillian Thorpe sat with me at the front of a room at the Royal York with about 75 of our geriatric psychiatry colleagues to talk about the feasibility of a new Canadian organization as a home for psychiatrists practicing geriatric psychiatry. A year later, we formally declared the formation of the CAGP. North American geriatric psychiatry was coming of age at that point with major developments in the U.S. led by the AAGP and internationally with the formation of the IPA led by Sandy Finkel.  

    Despite early challenges and uncertainties, the CAGP has flourished. Most importantly, it has fulfilled what I consider its two most important roles: a professional home for all of us and Canadian geriatric psychiatry, and a strong visible leadership organization to help guide the development of geriatric psychiatry and mental health. Our annual conferences are small jewels of Canadian psychiatry. The CAGP has hosted the two Canadian IPA International Congresses. The 1999 IPA International Congress in Vancouver still stands as one of the top two most successful Congresses in the IPA’s history. With David Conn and Ken LeClair’s leadership, the CAGP led the formation of CCSMH, which has helped fashion key sets of geriatric mental health guidelines on delirium, depression, LTC and suicide. Perhaps most notable has been the persistent and skilled negotiations over almost two decades to catalyze and lead the formation of the subspecialty of geriatric psychiatry in Canada. At a personal level, nothing has given me greater satisfaction than to see this come to fruition. Many were involved along the way, but special thanks needs to go to Melissa Andrew and Cathy Shea who brought this initiative across the finish line with the RCPSC.

    In mentioning specific people I am very aware that we could create a long list of outstanding contributors and leaders over the past 25 years to whom we all owe a deep debt of gratitude. I’ll leave it to another time to flesh out the list more completely.

    Where might we head now? I would say that a key role for the CAGP is to refine its structures and processes to proactively lead the national discussions now underway in Canada on how to develop mental health systems and services for the elderly. The Mental Health Commission has been a driver for change as has the CPA but, in my view, the CAGP is best positioned to convene the breadth and depth of expertise necessary to deeply inform change. The task is to build on our strong foundations and mount the vision, excitement and, most importantly, the assertiveness necessary to guide the evolution of geriatric mental health and psychiatry in Canada. To do this means setting specific system change goals and establishing the necessary organizational structures, processes and alliances so that we can be proactive in influencing leaders and policy makers.  

    So, let’s congratulate ourselves and celebrate our achievements, and then look ahead. We have a lot to do, the people to do it and a bright future for the CAGP as we embark toward our golden anniversary in 2041.  

    Warm regards to everyone.                                                                                                               

    Joel Sadavoy, MD, FRCPC

  • 27 Jul 2016 4:56 PM | CAGP (Administrator)

    In response to a change in federal legislation, the College of Physicians,together with Provincial regulatory bodies has put together a formal process to help guide patients and physicians through Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). Information on MAID laws, standards, and regulations can be found on the Canadian Psychiatric Association (CPA) website:

  • 27 Jul 2016 4:56 PM | CAGP (Administrator)

    For your interest, please see below two recent interesting articles on the topic of Physician Assisted Death.

    Globe and Mail: Editorial by Dr. Sonu Gaind

    The Guardian: The label ‘incurable’ is not a justification for ending a life

  • 27 Jul 2016 4:55 PM | CAGP (Administrator)

    Employment and Social Development Canada has developed a series of videos on Caregiving and Dementia. This series highlights the personal experiences of family caregivers and the importance of their social connections. Dr. Joel Sadavoy was profiled. To view the video series, please visit:

  • 27 Jul 2016 4:55 PM | CAGP (Administrator)

    There have been many new developments since our last newsletter contribution in the spring of 2015.

    Our team continues to collaborate with various stakeholders in the community. Brenda Wakeham (Community Mental Health Nurse) and Dr. Khalid Jat recently participated in the Schizophrenia Society of NL Symposium on seniors in aging as key note speakers and panelists. A Continuing Professional Development session for local family doctors was also offered this spring by Dr. Mehrul Hasnain, our division head. We are also excited to welcome our first “Care of the Elderly” PGY 3 residents in the upcoming academic year. Dr. Roger Butler has designed this new six month family practice fellowship. We hope to develop a strong, local core of interested family doctors who are dedicated to working with the elderly in the community. As of this update, there are no Royal College certified Geriatric Medicine specialists in our province. We hope that this situation will change in the near future.

    On a community level, our new long-term care facility which opened in September of 2014 has been renamed “Pleasant View Towers”. Our team continues to work in a collaborative relationship with the nurses, doctors and staff who work there.

    And finally, our team continues to evolve. Dr. Robert Mercer joined our team after Dr. Isabel Martins’ retirement last year. We are fortunate to have him. Dr. Susan Dalton had a beautiful baby girl in October, 2015 and is currently on maternity leave. Dr. Mehrul Hasnain has resigned from his position. We wish him the best of luck and continued success in all of his endeavors. We also thank him for his leadership and devotion as division head.

    And finally, two residents were recipients of the second annual “Dr. Howard Strong Memorial Award” at our Psychiatry Resident Research Day in June, 2015. Drs. Katie Barnes-Prior and Erica Edison both demonstrated outstanding compassion, skill and empathy during their rotations with us. We were honored to select two residents who embodied the traits which made Dr. Strong such a special consultant, mentor and colleague.

    Submitted by: Dr. Catherine Hickey

  • 27 Jul 2016 4:53 PM | CAGP (Administrator)

    In news from our region, the annual Atlantic Provinces Psychiatric Association meeting was held in Saint John New Brunswick on June 9th to 11th for psychiatrists from our four Atlantic Provinces. The keynote speaker was world renowned geriatric psychiatrist and past president of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Dilip V. Jeste.  Dr. Jeste spoke about Positive Psychiatry of Aging, a new branch of our field that he is leading to promote the science of healthy aging, mental wellness and resilience. These are areas of significant need for development in the context of a growing senior population and a system currently focused on pathological aging. Dr. Jeste will also be the keynote speaker at the upcoming CAGP Annual Scientific Meeting this fall to discuss this important paradigm shift.

    The Atlantic Seniors Mental Health Network (ASMHN), established in 2010, joined forces this past year with the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health (CCSMH), the Seniors Health Network (SHN), Baycrest’s Geriatric Mental Health Program (GEMH) and Geriatric Mental Health Interprovincial Education Program (GeMIE) to form a larger network for active Continuing Professional Development in Atlantic Canada. Our regional physician representatives are: Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy (Chair, Nova Scotia, GEMIE), Dr. Sarah Thompson (New Brunswick), Dr. Yomi Otusajo (Prince Edward Island) and Dr. Catherine Hickey (Newfoundland), and Dr. Cindy Grief (Baycrest, GeMH, GeMIE). Drs. Grief and Cassidy will be presenting on this GEMIE collaboration at the upcoming CAGP ASM—come to the workshop to offer your input and ideas to expand this exciting CPD program into other regions.

    The Dalhousie Geriatric Psychiatry Program focused on several major projects over the last year including:

    1) Fountain of Health Initiative for Optimal Aging,

    2) Dalhousie Enhanced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Program, and

    3) Royal College subspecialty Training Program.

    1) Fountain of Health Initiative for Optimal Aging

    In terms of the Fountain of Health Initiative for Optimal Aging, this national seniors’ mental health promotion initiative was developed at Dalhousie University to provide evidence-based information on healthy aging, and health change behavior tools for use by the public, and by clinicians. The five key areas of healthy aging include: social activity, positive attitudes towards aging, physical activity, taking care of one’s mental health and lifelong learning.  Please visit for more information or to try the clinician tools including the Clinician’s Guide (see Of note, Dr. Beverley Cassidy presented on the Fountain of Health Initiative at the International Psychogeriatric Association conference in Berlin, Germany, and Dalhousie psychiatry resident Dr. Vanessa Thoo published a peer-reviewed paper, “The Fountain of Health: Bringing Seniors’ Mental Health Promotion into Clinical Practice” in the Canadian Geriatrics Journal (CGJ vol. 18 no. 4 pp.217-224). Dr. Thoo also received a CAGP Resident Research Award last year, and since completed subspecialty training at the University of Toronto…

    To read the full report, please click here!

    Submitted by: Dr. Keri-Leigh Cassidy

  • 27 Jul 2016 4:52 PM | CAGP (Administrator)

    On May 6, twenty partners of CAGP and CCSMH gather to develop a bold plan to work together to address the growing physical and mental health needs of seniors. Our aging population is already impacting on Canada’s health care system as well as our ability to maintain our physical, mental, social and economic well-being. This significant demographic shift demands a bold plan for a range of physical and mental health services for seniors at home, in the community and in long-term care settings.

    Dr. Kiran Rabheru set the tone for the forum articulating that being “Bold for the Old” is about a fundamental shift in our attitudes towards ageing. He asked if a multi-sectoral partnership approach can transform the current reality of so many Canadians suffering from chronic health conditions, frailty, dementia/cognitive impairments and mental illness to optimal living as seniors live longer and are more engaged in their own health. He further stated that our vision is to move away from disease based curative models to older person centered systems across the continuum of health and social care by all levels of governments, policy makers, and resources.

    Through a series of interviews, group discussions and small group exercises, participants identified the following three priority goals:

    • To redefine ageing as a positive continuum of life by promoting the benefits of living optimally to the person, family, organization, community and nation.
    • To designated age friendly communities integrate health services and adopt a mental health lens in acting on priorities at the local level. 
    • To secure resources and sustainable funding to ensure the mental health, resilience and quality of life of seniors.

    For more information on the forum and the suggested actions plans for these goals, check out the Proceedings, please click here!

    Stay tuned for further action CAGP will take in collaboration with its partners to work together on these bold plans.

    Submitted by: Bonnie Schroeder

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