Alberta Centennial Addiction & Mental Health Research Chairs

The Alberta Centennial Addiction and Mental Health Research Chairs Program is a cornerstone of the Alberta Addiction and Mental Health Research Partnership Program.

The aim of the Chairs Program is to attract quality mid- to -senior career scholars to the province with the expectation that through their leadership, links between researchers and Alberta Health Services will be strengthened which will in turn increase the quality and output of addiction and mental health research findings, and improved translation of research findings into practice. The Research Chairs play a vital role in advancing knowledge in addiction and mental health through research and teaching activities as well as assisting in decreasing the stigma surrounding addiction and mental illness by increasing awareness and understanding.

The anticipated outcomes of the Chairs Program, from short- to long-term, are as follows:

  1. An increase in academic and practice-based addiction and mental health research capacity in the province
  2. Stronger connections between research and practice settings
  3. Evidence-driven changes in practice; improving system effectiveness and efficiency
  4. Improved addiction and mental health outcomes for Albertans

Individuals working in addiction or mental health services and population health research with expertise in one of the Research Program’s four priority areas were recruited to serve as Research Chairs. Funding commitments from Alberta Health Services, Alberta Innovation and Advanced Education, Alberta Health, and the Norlien Foundation have enabled the recruitment of these nationally-and internationally-recognized experts.

Five key principles guided recruitment:

  1. Coordination across Alberta;
  2. Ability to develop strong working relationships across the Alberta Health Services Zones;
  3. Research excellence;
  4. Focus on research priority areas;
  5. Focus on knowledge exchange.

The inaugural Chair, Dr. Jean Addington, began her term in July 2008 at the University of Calgary, working in the area of early psychosis. Dr. Addington will help to advance the area of child/adolescent mental health research.

Our second Chair, Dr. Kathy Aitchison, began her term in September 2011 at the University of Alberta. Dr. Aitchison will help advance the area of addiction and mental health, with a secondary focus on suicide prevention. One area that Dr. Aitchison has focused her research on is pharmacogenetics. Learn more about pharmacogenetics in this short summary.