Ontario seeks a new HIV Research Chair in Addictions and Mental Health

The Ontario HIV Treatment Network and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) are partnering to create a new research chair with a focus on mental health disorders, substance use and HIV risk.

Both mental health issues and addictions are often factors which shape a person’s HIV risk. A high proportion of men and women with HIV have experienced psychological trauma including childhood abuse and sexual assault. Trauma and mental health disorders are also major risk factors for substance abuse, and both are associated with HIV risk behaviours. As well, post-traumatic stress, depression, addiction, and neurocognitive disorders negatively impact the health and well-being of many people already living with HIV.

“Ontario needs leaders who can look critically at these intersecting challenges, with the research skills to develop and evaluate appropriate services,” says OHTN Board Chair, Tony Di Pede. “We anticipate that this new chair will work with clinicians and policymakers to determine how our existing health systems can provide more comprehensive care to people dealing with additions and mental health challenges. Creating integrated care systems to help protect and support vulnerable populations is a major theme of Ontario’s HIV/AIDS Strategy.”

In this effort, CAMH is a natural partner, says OHTN Scientific and Executive Director, Dr. Sean Rourke. CAMH is Canada’s largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital, and its research programs on mental health and addictions are internationally recognized. “CAMH is committed to work that transforms the lives of people affected by mental health and addiction issues. By working with them, we situate this new chair in an environment that will support the chair’s efforts to apply research in making policy and practice change.”

The chair will be appointed to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and the Department has begun inviting applications from qualified individuals. Interested candidates should submit a cover letter describing their qualifications, curriculum vitae and a description of their proposed research as Chair to the Department of Psychiatry by February 22nd. Full details are available here.

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