PENETANGUISHENE, November 29, 2023 – The Waypoint Research Institute (WRI) is recognizing a decade of groundbreaking contributions that are advancing understanding of mental health and addiction and improving lives locally and globally.
This 10th anniversary highlights the pivotal role WRI plays in influencing global policy-making and healthcare practices, and most importantly, advancing access to evidence-based treatments in partnership with people with lived and living experience of mental illness, empowering them to shape science and care delivery.
Founded on a strong legacy of more than 40 years of research excellence at Waypoint, WRI consistently pushes the boundaries of knowledge, fostering innovation and collaboration among its dedicated researchers and scientists, and forging partnerships across the globe to drive better care.
Groundbreaking initiatives underway include research using artificial intelligence to make care safer for mental health inpatients, as well as the launch of a cross-Canada project working with police services to better assess and communicate risk of intimate partner violence.
Since its establishment in 2013, WRI has spurred positive change with a number of leading initiatives, which include:
- pioneering brain imaging studies;
- launching a preventative online mental health program for youth;
- inspiring and building capacity for patient-oriented research in the forensic mental health system, and
- exploring the impacts of pandemic public health measures on people who use opioids and those closest to them.
Among other milestones, WRI has published 233 articles, completed 490 peer reviews, attracted leading researchers and academics, and launched a Research Chair in Forensic Mental Health Science, one of the first of its kind in Canada and one of only a handful in the world.
Looking ahead, the WRI will build on its progress to:
- lead research that leads to health system improvements and innovations;
- engage patients, families, equity-deserving and under-represented communities in co-designing research at all phases of the process;
- collaborate with partners, among them York University and Toronto Metropolitan University, to address the complexities of mental illness and addictions using a multi-disciplinary approach;
- create new opportunities for research trainees at WRI, and foster a rich learning environment for clinical and non-clinical trainees throughout Waypoint; and
- continue to lead forensic mental health research on a national and global scale.
We’re proud that WRI researchers are achieving significant success through competitive grant funding, and deeply grateful to donors who support the important work of the research team. Funds raised at this year’s annual Waypoint gala, to be held on Dec. 8, 2023, will be directed to WRI. The newly established Breakthrough Fund offers meaningful opportunities for donors to contribute to life-changing discoveries in research and care.
“At Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, we believe in the power of research to drive change and improve patient, community and health system outcomes. As we celebrate this milestone, we commit to continuing to foster innovation, collaboration, and excellence in mental illness, addictions and specialized geriatric research. The Waypoint Research Institute has played a pivotal role in advancing understanding of mental illness and addictions and developing effective treatments and care systems for those in need, and we are immensely proud of the dedicated team of researchers, scientists, clinicians and support staff who have made this progress possible.”
– Dr. Nadiya Sunderji,
Waypoint President and CEO
“It is an exciting time for the Waypoint Research Institute. In addition to our historical strengths in forensic mental health research, we are expanding our research activities so that the research is integrated throughout our clinical programs and informed by patient perspectives, experiences and preferences. This will ensure that Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care becomes a learning health system that continuously improves care delivery and develops cutting edge treatments, propelling the field of mental health and addictions.”
– Dr. Bernard Le Foll,
Waypoint Vice-President, Research & Academics and
Chief Scientific Officer
“A microcosm of the larger hospital, WRI is home to some of the most collegial staff and students I have encountered in my career who continually strive for excellence in their research endeavours. I am particularly proud of the way the WRI rallied around the mobile magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study to enable us the rare opportunity to understand the brains of forensic psychiatric patients alongside our American collaborators. Just as groundbreaking, Waypoint paved the way for excellence in forensic mental health research by establishing a Research Chair – It was a privilege to occupy this position and carry on the rich legacy of forensic research produced at Waypoint.”
– Dr. Nathan Kolla,
Former Waypoint Vice-President Research & Academics and
Waypoint’s first Research Chair in Forensic Mental Health Science
“For more than 40 years, the hospital’s Research Department produced world-class forensic mental health research. With the formation of Waypoint as a new hospital in 2008, a strategic plan set new research priorities, including all aspects of mental health. Over the next five years, the hospital recruited a VP of Research and Academics, strengthened ties with universities, established the office of research administration, and secured external funding, leading to the establishment of the WRI on June 21, 2013. It’s remarkable to see how this journey has culminated in so many more accomplishments in the past ten years.”
– Dr. Howard Barbaree,
Former Waypoint Vice-President Research & Academics and
current member of the Board of Directors
About Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care
Waypoint is a fully accredited academic and teaching hospital providing specialty mental health and addiction services and geriatric services for Simcoe County, Muskoka and central Ontario, as well as forensic mental health services for all of Ontario. Our main campus, which includes the Waypoint Research Institute, is located on the beautiful shores of Georgian Bay in the Town of Penetanguishene. Waypoint is a proud partner in the Community Health Hub in Midland and has additional locations in Midland, Barrie and Huntsville. As a regional provider of specialized services, the hospital has an extensive range of acute and longer-term psychiatric inpatient, outpatient, and community-based programs to meet the diverse needs of people of all ages, cultures and identities. Our team of forward-thinking experts provides leadership to the broader healthcare system. We harness partnership, innovation and research to advance understanding of mental health and addictions and improve lives locally and around the world.
Kristi Lalonde, Communications Officer
705-549-3181, ext. 2215