Dear Colleagues,

It is an honour and a privilege to serve as the Head of the UBC Department of Psychiatry as of January 1, 2019. In this capacity, I look forward to providing strategic leadership as the Department advances its mission of continued innovation and excellence in medical education, research and clinical service.

As the second-largest psychiatry department across Canadian universities, the UBC Department of Psychiatry remains at the forefront of discovery in neurosciences and mental healthcare, and pedagogy in medical education. We are fortunate to work in a setting with ample opportunities for collaboration with institutes such as the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, UBC School of Population and Public Health, and BC Mental Health and Addictions Research Institute.  In addition to our nearly 40 academic faculty members engaged in collaborative and multidisciplinary research, our clinical faculty is comprised of nearly 700 members distributed throughout all regions of the province.

We are now the most geographically diverse psychiatry department in the country, and as such have an imperative to further build and strengthen alliances with our clinical faculty, community, and Health Authority partners. This will be of particular importance as we developimproved mental healthcare models and facilitate delivery of evidence-based care.  As the only academic department of psychiatry within the province of BC, we have special responsibility and accountability to establish close working relationships with the Ministry of Health and the newly created Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to influence mental health policy and shape the future of mental healthcare delivery in BC.

Over the coming weeks we will launch a strategic planning process to develop a clear vision and strategic priorities for the Department for the next five years. The central points of focus will be fostering greater involvement and engagement of our clinical faculty, strengthening and broadening our educational programs, leveraging the expertise of our basic science researchers, clinician scientists and clinical researchers to expand our research capacity and translational research capabilities, forging collaborations and partnerships locally, nationally and internationally to enhance  our national and global profile, and identifying potential revenue streams and resources to support our vision and strategic priorities. As a first order of business, I am in the process of appointing four Associate Heads, each with specific responsibilities and accountabilities, to support the Department in advancing its strategic goals and objectives.

I am grateful for this opportunity to lead the Department as we embark on a dynamic phase of growth and transformation, and it is with excitement and optimism that I look toward the next five years.  I will be counting on all of you as faculty members, residents in our training program, and staff for your active engagement, commitment and support, which will be vital as we accomplish our strategic plan and fulfill the mandate of distinction and excellence long upheld by the Department.

Sincerely,

Dr. Lakshmi N. Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), MBA (Exec)

Professor and Head, UBC Department of Psychiatry

Director, Institute of Mental Health, UBC

Regional Head and Program Medical Director, VCH/PHC