Dr. Arlene MacDougall has been appointed as Director of Research and Innovation for mental health care at St. Joseph’s Health Care London and Lawson Health Research Institute.
She will oversee and facilitate all mental health care research at both Parkwood Institute and Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care, working to develop strong local and global partnerships, engage patients and their caregivers in research activities, and foster trans-disciplinary approaches to research.
Her goal is to build on existing research strengths in mood disorders, suicide and smart technology. She also will look to develop research links between Mental Health and Parkwood Institute’s other major research programs, Cognitive Vitality and Brain Health, and Mobility and Activity.
Dr. MacDougall joined Lawson and the Department of Psychiatry at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University in 2013 working with the Prevention and Early Intervention Program for Psychoses at London Health Sciences Centre. Last year she was cross appointed to the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at Schulich.
“I come to this new role with a great deal of optimism, energy and enthusiasm. Parkwood Institute Research has a number of established strengths in the mental health care field as well as potential for new streams of research and innovation,” says Dr. MacDougall. “I look forward to working with researchers, staff, and patients and their supporters, as well as academic and community partners, to make Parkwood Institute a leading centre in Canada for mental health research.”
Parkwood Institute Research is a Lawson program that represents inter-disciplinary clinical research and focuses on the advancement of innovations and discoveries that directly improve patient care.
Dr. MacDougall will continue her own program of research, which includes recovery-oriented interventions for people with serious mental illness locally and in Africa. She is leading local studies on the use of mindfulness meditation and participatory video interventions to promote recovery among youth with early psychosis. She is also leading a project based in Kenya using social businesses and a low cost psychosocial rehabilitation toolkit to create meaningful employment, promote social inclusion and support the overall functioning and recovery of people with serious mental illness in low income settings.
Most recently she has been involved in developing and leading initiatives that use social innovation approaches to tackle complex mental health system challenges both locally and globally.
At Western, she is the Director of Global MINDS (Mental Health Incubator for Disruptive Solutions) @ Western, an educational and research initiative that supports students, faculty and community stakeholders to create solutions that will reduce the global burden of mental disorders. Global MINDS is focused on innovating for low and middle income countries and for marginalized communities in Canada. Another initiative, MINDS of London-Middlesex, is working with multiple local stakeholders to collaboratively establish a social innovation lab and use collective impact approaches that will lead to solutions that address complex challenges in the local mental health system.
Dr. MacDougall began her new role on February 1, 2017 and joins Drs. Michael Borrie and Tim Doherty as Joint/Acting Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair in Aging, Mental Health, Rehabilitation and Recovery. She also joins Lawson’s Research Executive Committee as Assistant Director (interim) for Parkwood Institute Research, Mental Health.