OPA BREAKOUT COMMUNITY PSYCHIATRY ADVOCACY AWARD

This award is supported by the Council of the Ontario Psychiatric Association. The OPA Breakout Community Psychiatry Advocacy Award recognizes contributions to the profession of psychiatry and to the public by a community psychiatrist engaging in grassroots advocacy in their local area.  It is expected that candidates have not previously had provincial or national level recognition for their advocacy work.  The successful candidate must spend a majority of her/his time engaged in delivery of clinical services.  The award is open to OPA members who have been engaged in advocacy work through one or more of the following areas: clinical care, education, and administration.

Nomination Process:

Nominations are invited from OPA members and the public and must be submitted to the OPA office, by mail or e-mail. For 2021, the nomination process will open February 24th, 2021 and close March 31, 2021. The application deadline may be extended at the discretion of the OPA Manager and/or the OPA President.

Nomination packages require: two letters of support and the applicant's curriculum vitae (CV). One of the letters must be from an OPA member in good standing. Nominations will be adjudicated by the OPA Membership and Communications Committee, which will score the nominations according the eligibility criteria described above. The committee will bring forward a name for approval by the OPA Council. The winner will be notified at least 30 days in advance of the OPA Annual General Meeting.


OPA Breakout Community Psychiatry Advocacy Award Winner (2020)

Dr Paula Walsh-Bergin
Dr Paula Walsh-Bergin’s passion for  working for people with disabilities began as a student job in group homes, and led to a focus on community-based mental health care in Ottawa after completing her psychiatry residency at University of Ottawa in 2000.  She takes pride in providing collaborative mental health care to adults with severe and persistent mental illness, as well as  those with an intellectual and developmental disability.  She has endeavoured to follow in the footsteps of her many mentors, especially Dr Bruce McCreary (Queen’s University), by advocating for best practise in  medical and mental health care for these marginalized populations.  This included ongoing collaboration with, and education of, their care teams.  Her teams at the Community Mental Health Program, ROMHC and CMHA Ottawa inspire her daily.  She teaches at the undergraduate and post-graduate level, in order to foster this same passion in future physicians.  She has contributed to the connection of physicians throughout Canada, with similar practices, through the Canadian Psychiatric Association Section on IDD. Outside of medicine, Dr Walsh-Bergin is a proud mother, and loves travel, biking, gardening and kayaking.
 
 
The OPA Breakout Community Psychiatry Advocacy Award recognizes contributions to the profession of psychiatry and to the public by a community psychiatrist engaging in grassroots advocacy in their local area. The award is open to OPA members who have been engaged in advocacy work through one or more of the following areas: clinical care, education, and administration.

Examples include:

  • Advocacy and mental health policy work
  • Outstanding teaching around advocacy
  • Clinical care that empowers patients towards self-advocacy
  • Leadership in advocacy
  • Charitable work in local communities

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