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Mission & Activities
The mission of the Mood Disorders Centre is to improve the lives of people with mood disorders through exemplary clinical care, education and research.
The activities of the Mood Disorders Centre include developing, evaluating and providing innovative programs of care, educating health professionals and the public, and conducting clinical studies on the causes of, and treatments for, mood disorders.
The Mood Disorders Centre is affiliated with the Department of Psychiatry - University of BC, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and the UBC Institute of Mental Health.
The Staff of the Mood Disorders Centre includes psychiatrists, residents, psychologists, nurses, social workers, occupational therapists, students, secretaries, research assistants, fellows, and visiting scholars.
Medical Director – Raymond W. Lam, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Lam is a psychiatrist and Professor and Associate Head for Research, and Residency Director of Scholarly Activity and Research Track, in the Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia (UBC). His research examines clinical and neurobiological factors in seasonal, treatment-resistant and workplace depression, clinical trials and guidelines, and eMentalHealth. Dr. Lam is also a lead investigator for the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND). His research is supported by many agencies including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and by investigator-initiated industry research grants.
Dr. Lam has published over 380 scientific articles and book chapters (including over 275 peer-reviewed papers), and edited or authored 11 books on depression; Google Scholar lists over 11,000 citations to his published work, with an h-index=59. He sits on the editorial boards of 9 international journals, including the Journal of Affective Disorders and CNS Drugs. Dr. Lam is a champion for evidence-based medicine and is an editorial advisor for the international Cochrane Collaboration.
Dr. Lam has received many awards for his research and teaching, including the J.M. Cleghorn Award for Clinical Research (Canadian Psychiatric Association, 2015), a Distinguished Achievement Award for Overall Excellence (UBC Faculty of Medicine, 2014), R.O. Jones Memorial Award (Canadian Psychiatric Association, 2007), Silver Anniversary Leadership Award (UBC Medical Alumni, 2006), and the Douglas Utting Prize and Medal for Depression Research (SMBD-JGH/McGill University, 2001). He is an elected Distinguished Fellow of both the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the American Psychiatric Association, a Foundation Fellow of the International Society for Affective Disorders, and the Executive Chair of the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT).
Director, Mood Disorders Clinical Research Unit – Lakshmi N. Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), MBA (Exec)
Dr. Yatham is a Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is also the Regional Head of Psychiatry and Regional Program Medical Director for Mental Health and Addictions at Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Healthcare. He has an executive MBA in health care from the Sauder School of Business. Dr. Yatham has held leadership positions for national and international professional organizations including being the President of the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, and he is currently the Secretary for the World Federation of Societies for Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Yatham was featured in the recently published Thomson Reuter’s report on “Most Influential Scientific Minds of our Time” as one of the top 100 most highly cited researchers in psychiatry/psychology in the world.
Dr. Yatham’s major areas of research interest include neurobiology and treatment of bipolar disorder and major depression. Dr. Yatham has received a number of awards during his career including the Michael Smith Foundation Senior Scholar Award and NARSAD Young and Independent Investigator Awards for his research, the prestigious Mogen Schou Award for international education and advocacy on bipolar disorder from the International Society for Bipolar Disorders, the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology Medal for his contributions to psychopharmacology and John M Cleghorn Award for excellence in research and leadership from the Canadian Psychiatric Association. Dr. Yatham’s work has been funded by a number of peer-reviewed funding agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, Stanley Foundation, and National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, USA. Dr. Yatham leads a Canadian consortium on bipolar disorder, which is pursuing testing of treatments for bipolar disorder using pragmatic and controlled trials with funding from CIHR. He was been a chair of the Michael Smith Foundation Clinical Scholars Committee and has been a reviewer and a committee member of other peer reviewed funding agencies such as the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
Dr. Yatham has a google scholar h-index of 56, and he has published close to 250 papers in peer-reviewed international journals including several papers in high impact journals such as Archives of General Psychiatry, American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry and British Journal of Psychiatry. Dr. Yatham is a sought out speaker and has presented his research work at numerous international conferences. He has edited journal supplements and top selling books on bipolar disorder. He co-led the development of Canadian guidelines for treatment of bipolar disorder in 1997 and his group revised the guidelines for 2005 with International Commentaries. The CANMAT guidelines are widely used for treatment of bipolar disorder around the world as these are updated and published every 2 years in Bipolar Disorders Journal with the most recent update published in February 2013. These guidelines are highly cited with the 2009 version receiving close to 500 citations. He is the Chair of the bipolar group of the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments (CANMAT), and is actively involved at a national and international level in continuing medical education and public education on diagnosis and treatment of bipolar disorder for psychiatrists, family physicians, and the general public. He sits on the editorial boards of a number of journals including Bipolar Disorders, World Journal of Biological Psychiatry, Acta Neuropsychiatrica, Australia and NewZealand Journal of Psychiatry, Human Psychopharmacology etc.
Inpatient Medical Manager, Mood Disorder Inpatient Unit 1East, UBC Hospital – Heather Robertson, MD, FRCPC, DABAM
Dr. Robertson is a Clinical Associate Professor as well as the Assistant Head of Clinical Faculty Affairs in the Department of Psychiatry, UBC. She is the Medical Manager of the Inpatient Mood Disorder Unit and of the General Psychiatry Unit at UBC Hospital. She has varied clinical and research interests for the treatment of refractory mood disorders as well as concurrent mood and substance use disorders. Dr. Robertson is specialized and certified with the American Board of Addiction Medicine. Other interests include suicide assessment and prevention, having been a content expert in the 2009 BC Suicide Prevention and Postvention (PIP) Initiative. Throughout her career she has been very dedicated to and involved with the teaching of local and international medical students and residents, receiving the UBC Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2007 and is a member of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Community of Practice, UBC.
Dr. Auby Axler
Dr. Mellisa Fahy
Dr. Jennifer Lewis
Dr. Mahesh Menon
Dr. Erin E. Michalak
Dr. Patricia Nolan
Dr. Colleen Northcott
Dr. Subu Ponnachana
Dr. Heather Robertson
Dr. Edwin M. Tam
Dr. Ivan Torres
Dr. Astrid Vik
Dr. Fidel Vila-Rodriguez
Consultant Psychiatrist – Auby Axler, MD, FRCPC
Dr. Axler is a Clinical Associate Professor and Acting Director of the Psychotherapy Program, UBC Department of Psychiatry. He is also the Associate Director of Psychotherapy Training for the department. His expertise in mood disorders includes both psychotherapeutic and psychopharmacologic treatments. He also treats psychiatric illness and mood disorders at the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Vancouver General Hospital.
Consultant Psychologist – Mahesh Menon, PhD, R.Psych.
Dr. Menon is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Psychiatry. He completed his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Cambridge, UK. He did a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and then took up a position as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychiatry, and a Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. He moved to UBC in June 2012, and is a Psychologist with the BC Psychosis Program and Mood Program at UBC Hospital. His research interests include cognitive and neural correlates of delusions and hallucinations, and cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) for psychosis.
Consultant Psychologist – Erin E. Michalak, PhD
Dr. Michalak is an Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry. Her background is in psychology, with a PhD awarded from the University of Wales College of Medicine in the United Kingdom. Her research interests are in bipolar disorder, knowledge translation, self-management, seasonal and nonseasonal depression, quality of life and the development of outcome instruments for mood disorders. Dr. Michalak’s research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation, amongst others. She leads the ‘Collaborative RESearch Team for the study of psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder’ (CREST.BD, www.crestbd.ca), a CIHR-funded Canadian network designed to foster psychosocial research and knowledge translation in BD. She has published over 50 scientific articles and several books and book chapters.
Consultant Psychiatrist – Colleen Northcott, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Dr. Northcott is a Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry. Her expertise includes mood disorders and community based geriatric psychiatry. She is President-Elect of the Western Canada District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association and since 1995 has carried out studies and research with the APA Council on Aging, where she sits on the Committee on Access and Effectiveness for Psychiatric Services for the Elderly. Dr. Northcott continues to present her work regularly at international conferences and also has an interest in new teaching methods in the UBC medical school, winning the Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award in 2005.
Consultant Psychiatrist – Edwin M. Tam, MDCM, FRCPC
Dr. Tam is a Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry, and manages the Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD) Clinic. His research and clinical interests include seasonal affective disorder, early bipolar disorder, and pharmacotherapy of mood disorders. He is actively involved in the clinical teaching of medical students and residents. Dr. Tam is also interested in clinical safety issues and the management of aggressive behavior, and is on the Postgraduate Safety Committee of the UBC Department of Psychiatry.
Consultant Neuropsychologist – Ivan Torres, PhD, R.Psych.
Dr. Torres is a Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry, and research consultant to the Mood Disorders Centre. He is also a Research Scientist at BC Mental Health and Addiction Services. His research interests involve neuropsychological functioning in bipolar disorder and psychotic illness.
Consultant Psychiatrist – Fidel Vila-Rodriguez, MD, FRCPC, FAPA
Dr. Vila-Rodiguez is a psychiatrist and a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UBC, where he is the current Director of the Schizophrenia Program. He is also the founding Director of the Non-Invasive Neurostimulation Therapies (NINET) Laboratory (www.ninet.ca)
British Columbia Resources