Dear Faculty, Staff, Students and Residents,
I am delighted to announce that Dr. Roberto Sassi has been appointed as an Associate Professor (Partner) and the Head of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) in the UBC Department of Psychiatry. This academic faculty appointment will be in conjunction with Dr. Sassi’s new position as Psychiatrist-in-Chief at BC Children’s Hospital (BCCH) as of September 1, 2021.
Dr. Sassi relocated with his family to Vancouver this past summer upon his recruitment to BCCH and UBC, arriving from McMaster University where he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences. He also served as Medical Director, Ambulatory Services, for the Child and Youth Mental Health Program at McMaster Children’s Hospital, and was an attending psychiatrist for the Mood Disorders Outpatient Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Prior to his appointment at McMaster, Dr. Sassi held a faculty appointment in the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. Dr. Sassi completed his medical degree, postgraduate psychiatry training, and his Ph.D. in Psychiatry at the University of Sao Paulo Medical School. Following an 18-month postdoctoral research fellowship under Dr. Jair C. Soares at the University of Pittsburg, he completed further residency training, as well as a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry fellowship, at Harvard Medical School in Boston.
As a clinician scientist, Dr. Sassi brings his expertise in mood disorders in children and adolescents, with specific focus on the understanding of neurobiological mechanisms of mood disorders and possible early interventions in these populations. His research interests also include the effects of physical activity in patients struggling with mood disorders, the multigenerational transmission of risk for psychopathology and the interplay of genetic and environmental factors, and implementing measurement-based care in child and youth mental health. He has published nearly 100 peer-reviewed publications to date, including a recent paper in collaboration with colleagues in the Canadian Biomarker Integration Network in Depression (CAN-BIND). With his appointment to the rank of Associate Professor (Partner) in our Department, Dr. Sassi comes with a proven record of teaching excellence, having provided clinical and research supervision to a long list of students and trainees, as well as extensive didactic instruction at McMaster, for which he has received a number of teaching awards and honours.
In addition to his merits in teaching and research, Dr. Sassi will be a tremendous asset to the Department given his strong clinical and administration background. In the role of CAP Division Head, he will provide leadership to Division members and serve as a liaison to bring effective co-ordination of responsibilities between the UBC Department of Psychiatry and CAP teaching sites across the province. His responsibilities will include collaborating with Division members and other leaders to develop academic goals and long-range plans to meet the strategic objectives of the Division, the UBC Department of Psychiatry, and the UBC Faculty of Medicine with regard to UGE, PGE specialty and PGE subspecialty CAP education, as well as research activities and initiatives within the Division.
With his combined training and experience, Dr. Sassi is an excellent candidate to continue the outstanding leadership provided by Dr. Jana Davidson, who stepped down as CAP Division Head in March 2020, as well as Dr. Susan Baer and Dr. Jennifer Russel, who both stepped in as the Interim Heads to support the Division and ensure continuity of leadership over the past year and a half. I wish to take this opportunity to recognize and thank Dr. Davidson for her many years of dedicated service to the Division, as well as Dr. Baer and Dr. Russel for their significant contributions during this period of transition.
The UBC Department of Psychiatry is extremely fortunate to have Dr. Sassi join our academic faculty and the CAP Division leadership team. Please join me in warmly welcoming Dr. Sassi to his respective new roles, and wishing him continued success as he moves into this exciting new phase of his career at UBC and BCCH.
Dr. Lakshmi N. Yatham, MBBS, FRCPC, MRCPsych (UK), MBA (Exec)