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SickKids

Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health

We lead, discover and innovate to transform brain and mental health in children and youth.

The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH) at SickKids is a hub that cultivates the multidisciplinary integration of clinical care, research and education to improve the outcomes of children and youth living with brain and mental health disorders.

The GH-CBMH focuses on building novel collaborations across paediatric neurosciences and mental health disciplines, programs, and services to drive innovation.

By pioneering new understanding, therapies and approaches to care for the developing brain, and promoting and executing interdisciplinary and interprofessional activities, the centre strives to exceed its reputation as innovators in paediatric neurosciences and mental health care, both at SickKids and across global scientific communities.

What we do

  • Bring leading brain & mental health clinicians, educators, and researchers together into a community of scholars
  • Discover the fundamental basis of brain & mental health through innovative research
  • Translate discoveries to accelerate improved brain & mental health outcomes for children, youth, and their families
  • Implement new paradigms to prevent and treat brain & mental health conditions in children and youth
  • Inspire, educate, and mentor future generations of brain & mental health leaders

Staff

The GH-CBMH is a multidisciplinary and interprofessional group of researchers, physicians, nurses and allied health professionals, whose reach extends across SickKids and throughout the global community. 

Interim Centre Co-Leads

Dr. Peter Dirks

Chief, Division of Neurosurgery

Dr. Donald Mabbott

Program Head and Senior Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health

Executive Committee

Mr. Jeff Mainland

Executive Vice President (Executive Sponsor, GH CBMH)

Ms. Marie Bomba

Director, Foundation Relations, SickKids

Dr. Jonathan Golden

Director of Collaborative Professional Practice (Psychology and Social Work)

Dr. George Ibrahim

Staff Neurosurgeon, Division of Neurosurgery

Ms. Angela Murphy

Vice President, Campaign, SickKids Foundation

Dr. Suneeta Monga

Interim Associate Psychiatrist-in-Chief

Ms. Heather Soberman

Director, Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health

Dr. Peter Szatmari

Chief, Child & Youth Mental Health Collaborative

Mahendra Moharir

Dr. Mahendranath Moharir

Interim Division Head, Clinical Director, Division of Neurology and Paediatric Stroke Program

Dr. Louise Gallagher

Chief, Child and Youth Mental Health Collaborative

Headshot of Darryl Yates

Darryl Yates

Executive Director, Brain and Mental Health Services

Research

While the GH-CBMH research arm is represented by the Neurosciences & Mental Health Program, the Centre’s research activities actively promote collaboration and partnership across all seven research programs at the SickKids Research Institute. 

  • To develop and encourage novel research opportunities through strategic Centre initiatives 
  • To manage and promote the Centre’s grant competitions 
  • To work with internal and external stakeholders to leverage all opportunities for collaborative research and funding 
  • To review and adjudicate research related funding requests that are submitted to the Centre

Grant competitions

Chase an Idea in Paediatric Neuroscience catalyst grant competition: The purpose of this competition is to support the discovery of new and potentially ground-breaking ideas that would not receive funding through typical granting agencies. Innovation is key! You must truly be chasing an out-of-the-box; provocative and high-risk idea that can move the field of brain and mental health forward.   

Principal applicants should be SickKids staff members including researchers, clinical staff, fellows, research associates and directors/managers/coordinators  

A suite of catalyst grants of up to $65,000 each are awarded for one year research projects that are novel and innovative yet based on sound rationale and evidence for feasibility in: 

  • Basic or clinical neuroscience or behavioral research and/or   
  • Knowledge translation in clinical neuroscience or behavioral care 

Submissions to this grant competition should only be made for new projects; the continuation of existing projects will not be supported. Applications should be written for a broad audience (clinicians and researchers) and not specifically for experts in their field.   

The next competition will open in Fall 2023.    

 

The Paediatric Health Outcomes catalyst grant competition is a strategic initiative of the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH). The purpose of this competition is to improve the brain and mental health outcomes of children and youth by supporting the development of new ideas and interventions that would not qualify for funding through typical granting agencies. A focus on health outcomes is key! You must implement unique concepts, approaches or methodologies that will catalyze improved paediatric brain and mental health outcomes.   

Principal applicants should be SickKids staff members including researchers, clinical staff, fellows, research associates and directors/managers/coordinators 

Grants of up to $100,000 ($50,000/year for two years) will be awarded for novel project proposals focused on improving brain and mental health outcomes in children and youth. The project must be collaborative, innovative and based on sound clinical and/or scientific rationale. Preliminary data is not required.  

The next competition will open in Spring 2023.

The Brain & Mental Health Innovation Fund: The purpose of this fund is to support Centre members who are applying to external granting agencies that require matching funds. The maximum match per project is $50,000 per year for up to three years ($150,000 total). 

Applicants must be employed by SickKids and have a Research Institute (RI) appointment that permits holding external grants. 

The external grant competition must be national or international. Proposals must be peer reviewed, and the project must focus on brain health or mental health related research relevant to children or youth, or to fundamental issues of brain development. 

The next competition will open in Spring 2023.

The Brain & Mental Health Program Development Fund is an exciting new initiative of the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH). The purpose of this funding is to support programs in carrying out innovative brain and mental health-related work.

The GH-CBMH invites proposals requesting funding that is programmatic in nature, with the intent of making an impactful contribution in the brain and/or mental health sphere. The maximum funding per project is $200,000 per year, for up to three years (i.e., $600,000 total). Two awards are available.  

This competition is currently closed. Consider joining our distribution list to receive updates on future funding opportunities.  

Achievements

In September of 2021, the Centre received a monumental seven-year, $50 million transformational gift from Mr. Garry Hurvitz. This gift supports the now-named Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health (GH-CBMH), activities under the SickKids Mental Health Strategy, and the Garry Hurvitz Community Centre for Mental Health (GH-CCMH).  

Since the Centre’s inception in 2011, the GH-CBMH has:

  • Awarded 35 Chase an Idea and 18 Health Outcomes catalyst grants. This $3.7 million investment in brain and mental health research has led to many successes including $14.6 million in external funding, 92 publications and 178 invited presentations  
  • Awarded $630K in matching funds for innovative projects, leveraging $17.5 million in external grants.   
  • Funded 29 research and clinician-scientist fellowships, including 3 integrative fellows.  

In addition, these findings have led to three potential patent partnerships with SickKids Industry Partnerships & Commercialization office.

The Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health recently launched a new award: the Garry Hurvitz Brain Heath Innovator. To help the GH-CBMH reach one of its key goals: better brain health for children and youth, this award mobilizes a clinician-scientist to pursue innovative ideas, connect with patients and families in the clinic, and collaborate with world-class SickKids scientists to help overcome intractable challenges.

GH-CBMH's catalyst grant competitions are strategic initiatives to support and encourage the discovery of new and groundbreaking ideas that would not receive funding through typical granting agencies. 

Here are the latest grant winners for their innovative, provocative, and high-risk ideas that may move the brain and mental health science forward. 

Chase an Idea in Paediatric Neuroscience 2021 

  • Dr. James Ellis: Neurodevelopmental delays associated with fetal cardiomyopathy: Probing astrocyte dysfunction using stem cell-derived human neuronal 
  • Dr. Paul Frankland: Microglia-dependent regulation of fear extinction 
  • Dr. Brian Kalish: Deciphering the Histone Code of the Developing Human Brain 
  • Dr. Julie Lefebrve: Maladaptive circuit maturation in childhood concussions 
  • Dr. Mike Salter: Transforming understanding of neuroplasticity through a newly discovered, primate-specific isoform of the NMDA receptor, 
  • Dr. Katia Sinopoli: Long COVID in children and adolescents: Identifying risk factors and mental health and neuropsychological outcomes in community- and hospital-based samples 

Health Outcomes 2022  

  • Dr. Estelle Gauda: A phase I, safety and pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics study of oral LCitrulline supplementation in preterm infants at risk for adverse neurodevelopmental and pulmonary outcomes  
  • Dr. Anne-Marie Guerguerian: The Cerebrovascular Reserve After ECMO Study 
  • Dr. Benjamin Steinberg: Brain-derived extracellular vesicles are biomarkers of neuroinflammation in preterm neonates with necrotizing enterocolitis: preclinical and clinical studies 

Education and Knowledge Transfer

Part of the Centre's mission is to inspire, educate and mentor future generations of brain and mental health leaders, and we view all those who are engaged in training with us to be a very important part of this mission.

We offer comprehensive research training opportunities and catalyst grant competitions to enhance and supplement prior training, as well as to support the discovery of new and potentially ground-breaking ideas percolating within the Centre.

  • Identify and develop collaborative educational and knowledge translational initiatives across SickKids
  • Develop strategies integrating children and families in brain and mental health initiatives 
  • Review and implement innovative educational strategies
  • Implement Knowledge Translation (KT) strategies to facilitate new knowledge uptake globally
  • Act as a liaison between the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain and Mental Health Executive Committee, and internal and external partners for educational and knowledge exchange initiatives 

Awards & Fellowships 

Elizabeth Manson Award  

This annual award recognizes the outstanding clinical and/or programmatic contributions of non-physician health professionals and/or leaders who have been instrumental in the development of new treatment approaches, creative program design, or administration innovations, or who have been recognized as consistently providing superior quality care to children and families affected by mental health problems. Eligible to staff working in the province of Ontario.

The Garry Hurvitz Generosity Award recognizes an outstanding GH-CBMH member (any individual working in the areas of brain health and mental health) who demonstrates generosity with their time and/or support to make a significant difference in the lives of their colleagues, patients, or families. 

Capitalize for Kids (C4K) Fellowship

Capitalize for Kids (C4K) Fellowship  

The purpose of the C4K Fellowship is to provide an advanced healthcare professional with a comprehensive research training opportunity in the area of depression, anxiety or suicide prevention that enhances and supplements their prior training and professional background.  

Designed to be a clinical research Fellowship, 60% of the Fellow’s time must be devoted towards research and 40% towards clinical work. Both the clinical and research works need to be in the area of depression, anxiety or suicide prevention.  

Clinical work could take place within any pediatric clinical department within SickKids (e.g., department of psychiatry, or neurology, or other pediatric division, department of social work or psychology, etc.). There are no restrictions on the type of research conducted – e.g., basic science research, clinical trials, knowledge translation, patient experience research etc.   

Please note: This competition is restricted to internal, SickKids Research Fellows only.

The Integrative Research Training Fellowship Program is a strategic initiative of the Garry Hurvitz Centre for Brain & Mental Health, which provides advanced fellows with a comprehensive research training opportunity in a new discipline that enhances and supplements their prior training and professional background.

This Fellowship competition is held annually in the fall through Restracomp and the Clinician Scientist Training Program (CSTP).

Fellows must cross brain and/or mental health-related disciplines in order to be considered for an Integrative Research Training Fellowship.

Examples include, but are not limited to:

  •  Neurologist or neurosurgeon training in a psychology lab;

  • PhD Social Worker training in psychiatry;

  • Neuroscientist training in a brain imaging lab or psychiatry.
 

Apply through Restracomp       Review CSTP policies and procedures (PDF)

Annual Brain & Mental Health Day Conference

 
Each year, the GH-CBMH hosts its Brain & Mental Health Day Conference, an exciting neuroscience research and education symposium. The conference brings together researchers, clinicians, patients and families to share emerging research, showcase innovative initiatives and increase knowledge in the field of brain and mental health.
 
This year's Brain & Mental Health Day Conference will take place in May 2023. More details to follow. 
 
To ensure you receive timely updates about the conference and other GH-CBMH Events, please consider joining our membership to be added to the Centre's distribution list. 

 

AboutKidsHealth resources

We've curated a number of helpful resources on the brain and mental health from AboutKidsHealth, SickKids' health education website for children, youth and their caregivers. Visit the links below to learn more about each condition.

Membership

Interested in joining the GH-CBMH community? Complete our Member Registration form to receive timely updates about upcoming events, funding opportunities, fellowships and more.  

Contact

Contact us

If you have questions, please email us at brain.mentalhealth@sickkids.ca

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