Canadian Roadmap for Bipolar Disorder: Help Us Build Consensus for Change 

on June 1, 2023
Canadian Roadmap for Bipolar Disorder: Help Us Build Consensus for Change 

Welcome to the second blog for our newest project to support the health and quality of life for Canadians living with bipolar disorder (BD). We’re making exciting strides and have brought together a wonderful team of experts, each of them bringing unique and valuable expertise to the project. In this blog we’ll talk about the project methods we’re using, introduce you to our team and invite you to express your interest in getting involved in the project. 

First, what is a consensus project? 

A consensus is when a group of individuals mutually committed to a topic come to an agreement and support a specific outcome for the best interest of the group. Individuals are involved in the process of creating solutions, using their own knowledge and research results. Our main goal for this project is to co-create an impactful shared agenda (i.e., a Roadmap) for BD research and care system advancement. 

How to Reach Consensus?

This project aims to build consensus by engaging in a deliberative dialogue with a diverse group of people, including those with lived experience of BD and other BD partners/collaborators. 

These groups aim to build consensus on:

  • The unmet psychosocial needs that impede people living with BD from experiencing optimal health, QoL and care in Canada 
  • The potential barriers and facilitators to addressing these unmet needs 

Conducting a deliberative dialogue group provides a chance for individuals with lived experience and partners/collaborators to be involved in discussion about an issue; in this case, psychosocial care and needs in relation to BD. Those involved in the dialogue receive a document to read with an evidence summary of the issue ahead of time. During the dialogue, all those involved discuss the issue, create solutions together, and set priorities for actions.

How to Get Involved

If you belong to one of the following groups and are interested in contributing to this project, please register below!

  • A person living with BD (Type 1, 2, or Not Otherwise Specified)
  • A family member or caregiver of someone with BD
  • A healthcare provider providing care for patients with BD
  • A community organization representative working with people living with BD
  • A decision maker/policy maker in the mental health space 

Register for the Roadmap Project!

Meet Our Team

We have assembled an incredible team of collaborators!  These individuals will work closely to develop and run our deliberative dialogue groups, guide the prioritization of information gathered from the groups, and help create a document (i.e., Roadmap) consolidating our findings and recommendations for the future.

Erin Michalak - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Erin Michalak, Ph.D.

Erin is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Program Director for the APEC Digital Hub for Mental Health, the (prior) Patient Engagement Methods Clusters Lead for the BC SUPPORT Unit and VP for Outreach for the International Society for Bipolar Disorders. Her background is in psychology, with a PhD awarded from the University of Wales College of Medicine in the United Kingdom. Her research expertise lies in mood disorders, digital mental health, patient engagement in research, knowledge translation (KT), quality of life (QoL), and global mental health. Erin Michalak is the nominated principal investigator (PI) and will oversee all study methods, ethical considerations, data analysis, and dissemination.

Dr. Lisa O'Donnell - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Lisa O’Donnell, Ph.D.

Lisa is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. She received her PhD from the University of Michigan’s joint PhD program in Social Work and Clinical Psychology in 2016. Her research interests include the examination of the nature of functional outcomes, particularly employment, and quality of life among individuals with mental health conditions, as well as the impact of stigma of mental illness on employment outcomes. Further, her research interests include the development and dissemination of culturally appropriate, psychotherapeutic and employment-related interventions for underserved and economically disadvantaged populations. Lisa O’Donnell is the co-principal investigator (co-PI).

Dr Emma Morton TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Emma Morton, Ph.D.

Emma is a CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at UBC Psychiatry. She completed her Ph.D. and training as a psychologist in 2018 at Swinburne University, Australia, and moved to Canada to join the CREST.BD team as an Institute of Mental Health Marshall Fellow in 2019. Emma’s research interests include quality of life, self-management strategies, and digital mental health tools for people living with mood disorders. She has clinical experience working in community mental health, early intervention, and hospital settings. Emma will support the review of candidate research prioritization methods and evidence synthesis for the needs assessment and prioritization exercises.

Carolyn Ziegler, MA, MISt 

Carolyn has been a member of the CREST-BD Community Advisory Group since 2016 and has lived experience of bipolar disorder. She is an information specialist with Library Services, Unity Health Toronto. The network includes St. Michael’s Hospital, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, and Providence Healthcare. She supports the research, educational, and clinical information needs of staff, students, and scientists. She has over twenty years of experience facilitating small group library and research-related workshops with diverse participants and is co-author on 30 knowledge synthesis publications. Carolyn Ziegler will be the peer researcher co-facilitator, contributing to stakeholder engagement in the deliberative dialogue and the analysis of the study data.

Davina Banner-Lukaris, Ph.D.

Davina is a cardiovascular and rural health researcher, nurse educator, and palliative care practitioner. Davina currently works as an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Northern British Columbia and leads an interdisciplinary program of research exploring cardiovascular care, patient and provider experiences, and rural health service delivery. Dr. Banner has published and presented nationally and internationally and has a special interest in integrated knowledge translation and patient engagement. Davina Banner-Lukaris and Nelly Oelke will share responsibility for designing the methods for the deliberative dialogue sessions and will function as the academic facilitators of the groups.

Nelly Oelke, Ph.D.

Nelly has worked in a variety of areas in nursing practice (medicine, pediatrics, and public health) and nursing education. Prior to coming to UBC Okanagan in 2011, she worked for the Health Systems and Workforce Research Unit with Alberta Health Services in applied research. As a health services researcher, her program of research focuses on integrated health systems with a specific in the area of primary health care. Specific interests include policy, interprofessional collaborative practice, primary health care teams, mental health and well-being, and rural health. Nelly Oelke will join Davina in co-designing the methods for the deliberative dialogue sessions and facilitating the groups.

Braden O’Neill, MD, DPhil

Braden is a clinician-scientist and family physician working at the intersection of primary care and psychiatry at Unity Health Toronto. His research addresses how to work together across health and social care to improve the lives of people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He is a family physician in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital and an assistant professor in the University of Toronto Department of Family and Community Medicine. He is also an associate editor at CMAJ. Braden O’Neil will share responsibility for recruitment for the primary care-focused deliberative dialogue group and will also act as the be the liaison for community organizations and healthcare providers focusing on rural and remote care in Canada.

Dane Mauer-Vakil, Trainee

Dane is a first-year PhD student in Public Health Sciences at the University of Waterloo in the health evaluation specialization conducting applied research in mental health systems and policies. Dane’s current research focuses include poverty reduction interventions in primary care and publicly funded psychotherapy services in the Canadian context. His doctoral dissertation focuses on developing, implementing, and evaluating mental health care quality indicators for youth with bipolar disorder in Ontario. Dane is a project trainee and will assist with data analysis and knowledge translation activities.

Dr. Steven Barnes - TalkBD Bipolar Disorder Podcast

Steven J. Barnes, Ph.D.

Steven is well-regarded for his work related to online learning technologies (e.g., the Tapestry Project), student mental health and wellbeing, and bipolar disorder (BD). Steven is deputy co-lead of the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in BD. He is also an accomplished author, having published in the fields of epileptology, neurophysiology, student mental health, digital mental health, bipolar disorder, and behavioural neuroscience. Steven Barnes is a co-applicant on the funding application and will provide guidance on study methods.

If you would like to get involved in this project please fill out this Registration Form to indicate your interest!

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