The renaming event at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning was attended by a large number of friends and well-wishers, including Dr. Mike Apkon, President and CEO of SickKids, Dr. Steven Miller, Head of Neurology, and the head of each department in the centre – social work, psychology, neurology, neurosciences and mental health, psychiatry and neurosurgery.
“As you all know, SickKids is reinvigorating our activities in mental health research, learning and care,” Dr. Apkon said. “By repositioning the Centre for Brain & Behaviour as the Centre for Brain & Mental Health you will all be playing a key role in the way we move forward.”
The need for the centre’s expertise is growing as medical advancements reduce mortality rates from many complex childhood diseases and increase the number of brain and mental health conditions. For example, more than 40 per cent of children with complex diseases have mental health difficulties, like delirium and depression. Such disorders can affect academic achievement, social adjustment and family relationships.
“By bringing together brain and mental health clinicians, researchers and educators, the young patients and families that we serve at SickKids will have access to improved care,” Dr. Apkon said. “The robust collaboration among medical and mental-health services within the hospital and greater community – fostered by the centre, and also reflected in the new Medical Psychiatry Alliance – will ultimately lead to improved quality of life for children and their families.”
The Centre for Brain & Behaviour was established in 2007. It underwent significant growth and development in its first six years, most recently with the addition to the leadership team of representatives for social work and psychology.
The centre has already made its mark by pioneering:
- New understanding of brain injury and recovery, learning, memory and affect
- New technology, such as the first children’s hospital magnetoencephalograhy
- New therapy, as exemplified by the Provincial Epilepsy Strategy
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids).