On May 17 2018, 70 service providers and researchers from across Ontario and beyond convened in Toronto for the “Healthy Mothers” Knowledge Sharing Event. At the event, Co-Principal Investigators Drs. Karen Millgan and Karen Urbanoski shared key findings from the “Healthy Mothers” study and Dr. Alice Ordean, Medical Director of the Toronto Centre for Substance Use in Pregnancy (T-CUP) at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, delivered a keynote address, providing insight into the T-CUP program. The afternoon was devoted to break-out sessions focused on 1) inter-sectoral service delivery for pregnant and parenting women, 2) integrated treatment for pregnant and parenting women in the context of an opioid overdose crisis, and 3) intersections between substance use services, parenting programs, and child protection services.
In October, 19 international experts working in the area of trauma and disaster convened in Scotland for a 2-day international roundtable to develop a brief intervention to facilitate recovery and enhance resilience in children, adolescents, and families after the experience of a disaster. Dr. Karen Milligan, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Child Self-Regulation Lab, took part on the expert panel. Natural disasters, such as Hurricane Irma, or terrorism events, such as the Manchester Arena bombing, can greatly impact the mental health and well-being of youth, adults, families and communities. Identifying challenges, navigating treatment systems and finding help and support can be challenging, particularly if a youth’s symptoms are not severe enough to warrant a mental health diagnosis. The interventions developed at this roundtable will support and improve access to care for this group of youth.
The roundtable was sponsored by the Prince’s Trust Australia and led by Phoenix Australia Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health. His Royal Highness, Prince Charles attended part of the roundtable discussion and hosted a reception and dinner for the group. He was exceptionally warm and welcoming and took an active interest in learning about the intervention and its potential for implementation around the world.
Phoenix Australia is now taking a lead on developing the protocol for intervention and once funding is secured pilot its implementation. Dr. Milligan and the other roundtable participants, representing Australia, Norway, Germany, the US and the UK, expressed excitement about continuing to consult on this important project and continuing their involvement in evaluating and supporting its implementation once it is shown to be feasible and effective.