The 2015 Medical Psychiatry Alliance (MPA) Annual Conference in Toronto on Oct. 29 -30, 2015 was a launching point for driving the integration of medical and psychiatric education across various health professions. This year’s annual MPA conference built on the MPA’s foundational work from its inaugural year and conference in 2014, when the unique mental health partnership was first established between the Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, The Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto and Trillium Health Partners.
Hosted by the University of Toronto, this year’s annual MPA conference, themed Integration and Complexity in Health Professional Education, attracted close to 200 attendees with over 80 health care leaders participating in the Expert Think Tank sessions on Oct. 30. The conference emphasized the need to take steps that will enable a generation of health leaders and caregivers to better recognize and treat patients with combined physical and mental illnesses.
“We need to change the way we train health care professionals across all disciplines, so that they are better equipped with the resources and tools they need to screen and diagnose patients,” said Dr. Sanjeev Sockalingam, MPA Director of Curriculum Renewal. With Dr. Jay Rosenfield, Vice-Dean of the MD Program at the University of Toronto, Dr. Sockalingam co-hosted this year’s annual conference.
There are approximately 1.3 million Ontarians living with both physical and mental health issues. The annual MPA conference provided a timely opportunity to bring together health leaders from across Ontario’s health care system – beyond mental health professionals – so that health professionals can work together to better integrate care for patients.
“Many patients who have both mental and physical problems are not diagnosed properly because their physicians are not trained to manage these issues together. It’s very frustrating for patients to go back and forth between health care professionals as they try to get answers for why they are not feeling well,” remarked Dr. Benoit Mulsant, Executive Director of the MPA. “As one of the founders of the MPA, my personal hope is that at the end of our 6-year mandate, we will have built a solid foundation for a health care system where there is very little division between mental and physical health.”
The MPA is already rolling out several medical psychiatry education and training programs for future and current health professionals, and the valuable input provided by audiences at the conference will impact how these programs will continue to evolve.
A formal report summary has been created to capture the valuable input and feedback generated by audiences from the conference’s discussions and Expert Think Tank sessions. This report will guide the MPA’s overall education and training mandate as the MPA works toward a new model of mental health care that will achieve the best health outcomes for patients with both mental and physical illnesses.
The 2016 Medical Psychiatry Annual Conference, which will be hosted by The Hospital for Sick Children, and focus on Child and Youth Health, will be held on October 5-6, 2016 at the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning in Toronto.
The following video presentations are also available from both days of the 2015 annual MPA conference.