President’s Report on Strategy 2014:
Preserving our Identity while Spreading our Wings

New Initiatives
Existing Initiatives and Upcoming Milestones
How can you help or get involved?

Dear Colleagues, 

Greetings from Toronto, at the end of a blistery winter season.  I am pleased to provide an update on our Strategic Planning activities that the CAGP board has been busy with over the last few months.  We held a Strategic Planning Retreat on February 28, 2014 in Toronto, and in order to prepare for this, Dr. Soham Rej, one of our members-in-training, assembled a detailed survey of the membership.  Soham did a terrific job updating our prior surveys in line with the more recent activity of the organization, all while preparing for his Royal College examination in psychiatry!  While the last needs survey of the membership garnered less than 25 surveys, we were able to gather more than 100 responses from our membership this year, with the help of the active involvement of all board members as well as the membership.  This is an overwhelming response rate and serves as a census of the views of the members – a sincere thanks to Dr. Rej, to all who completed this, and for the board in emphasizing its importance.

As you know, our Academy and the profession of Geriatric Psychiatry in Canada have seen a number of important successes over the last few years.  Geriatric psychiatry is now an official subspecialty of the Royal College. New projects including the national review course, online study group, trainee strategy and membership drives have been successful. Our meeting helped us focus on "what's next?"

Some particular challenges ahead include growing our membership, expanding the workforce to meet the needs of the population, meeting the CPD and CME needs of our members and the wider community, strengthening the annual scientific meeting, and supporting Secretariat Central's support of us in this transition year.

Strategic Planning and New Initiatives 

The goals of the CAGP Strategic Planning Session in February in Toronto were to:

  • review the Academy’s accomplishments and challenges: past, present, and future
  • focus on the members top line needs for clinical activities, education, research and advocacy for Geriatric Psychiatry
  • identify the key issues in Seniors Mental Health, establish priorities and generate consensus on the strategic direction ( i.e. top line Objectives) for the CAGP over the next 3 years
  • manage workshops to develop goals and plans of Action for each Objective
  • support the Workshop Leads to edit the plan, clarify deliverables, assign due dates, estimate costs and revenue potential for each Goal
  • re-align the Mission, Vision, and Values with the new strategic direction of the CAGP.

Dr. Soham Rej helped us review the findings of the survey, and his update provides additional detail about this.  The membership was particularly interested in easy-to-access resources, continuing our annual scientific meeting and newer CME initiatives, but the members also emphasized the critical importance of advocacy for our profession, and highlighted some research-related gaps.

New Initiatives

Advocacy:  Dr. Dallas Seitz, Vice President of CAGP, together with board members Drs. Carol Ward, Nancy Vasil and Maria DiTomasso, had a group discussion about advocacy for geriatric psychiatry that will focus on the professional sustainability and growth of the practice of Geriatric Psychiatry in Canada.  The goals identified included creation of an advocacy committee, to increase the number of psychiatrists who obtain Royal College certification in Geriatric Psychiatry, to advocate for an enhanced geriatric psychiatry workforce to meet the growing needs of the population, and to explore options for financial incentives for psychiatric care of the elderly across Canada.  This advocacy group will focus on preserving and enhancing the profession of geriatric psychiatry.  Of course, this cannot be done in isolation, and the next group highlighted the role of collaborations with our non-geriatric psychiatry partners.

Partnerships/Canadian Seniors Health Collaborative:  Dr. Kiran Rabheru, Past President of the CAGP, together with board members Drs. Corinne Fischer, Soham Rej, Barry Campbell, Holly Dornan, CGS board member Dr. Robert Lam, and CCSMH members Bonnie Schroeder and Drs. David Conn and Ken LeClair explored the values of advancing the political, research, professional development and financial interests of the CAGP through partnerships with key stakeholder organizations in seniors health, via a Canadian Seniors Health Collaborative.  In order to do this, they identified goals of setting up a summit to explore the feasibility of the Canadian Seniors Health Collaborative, developing partnerships with key organizations, and actualizing the collaborative with a website and communication strategy as well as “membership value propositions”.

Other New Initiatives 

Two CAGP members-at-large have generously agreed to assist the board by leading two other new initiatives that were felt by the membership to be crucial.

Research:  CAGP member Dr. Andrea Iaboni of University Health Network in Toronto has agreed to chair a research committee, with the aim of fostering the development of high quality, multidisciplinary research in geriatric mental health in Canada, and supporting the research activities and research relationships of CAGP members.  The committee will explore the development of a researcher database, ways of disseminating funding opportunities and of facilitating career development of junior researchers, as well as promotion of geriatric mental health as a research priority area to funding agencies.  Drs. Daniel Blumberger and Soham Rej will join this initiative, and we are looking for other researchers to help with this committee as well.

E-Resources:  CAGP member Dr. Tim Lau of University of Ottawa is an experienced e-educator and has developed many resources for trainees of all levels in Ottawa.  He has agreed to lead an initiative in which the CAGP will explore providing its members a series of accessible and useful online resources on its website, including clinical practice guidelines, clinical tools, research updates, important review papers and texts.  Drs. Damien Gallagher and Corinne Fischer will assist Dr. Lau with this project which will no doubt be of great value to the membership.

Existing Initiatives and Upcoming Milestones:

We had discussions about the upcoming milestones and popularity of our recent CME events, and have derived the following plans:




Updates for this year.

Now through Aug 3

Online Study Group


Enrolment is still open.  Access to all modules and to videos from the Banff 2012 and Ottawa 2013 National Review Course is included.  Come study with us!

Sept 7-8, 2014

National Review Course

Eaton Chelsea Toronto

This two-day course will include an expanded session on psychotherapy, a session on sleep disorders by Dr. Charles Reynolds III, a session on psychopharmacology in the medically ill, an interactive session on age-related changes, and separate psychopharmacology sessions for family physicians and non-physicians.  Dr. Andrew Wiens, CAGP member from the University of Ottawa, and co-chair of the last two years of the course, is chairing.

Sept 9-10, 2014

Annual Scientific Meeting

Eaton Chelsea Toronto

Abstract submission has been extended to April 11, 2014.  This year’s meeting is being held in conjunction with the Canadian Coalition for Seniors Mental Health, and guest speakers include Dr. Eric Lenze from Washington University on Anxiety Disorders, Dr. Joel Sadavoy on novel approaches to care, and Dr. David Goldbloom on advocacy and the Mental Health Coalition of Canada.  A trip to the Stratford Festival to see their production of King Lear, Shakespeare’s masterpiece of late-life mental illness, starring Colm Feore is available to members.  The Canadian Psychiatric Association Meeting follows Sept 11-13 at the Weston Harbor Castle in Toronto.

April 2015

National Review Course

Montreal, Quebec

The National Review Course for 2015 will be held in

April instead of September, a one-day event, in conjunction with the Canadian Geriatrics Society Meeting in Montreal, Quebec.       

September 2015

Annual Scientific Meeting

Vancouver, BC

Details TBA, held in conjunction with the Canadian Psychiatric Association Meeting

Fall 2016

CAGP 25th Anniversary and Annual Scientific Meeting with CCSMH

Details to follow.

This will be a special event.


15th anniversary of CCSMH

Details to follow.



How can you help or get involved?

1. Talk to us: Those of you who spoke to board members or filled out our strategy surveys have already given us valuable feedback about the membership.  Please do not hesitate to contact the secretariat, me, or any of our board members to let us know if we are on or off track.
2. Membership:  By now you should have received your membership renewal notice.  Our by-laws have changed such that our new fiscal year will begin in June 2014, so we will be collecting 17 months of membership dues this year instead of the usual twelve.  Starting in 2015, annual memberships will renew in June.  Please do not forget to renew your membership, as the organization depends on the membership dues in order to exist, and the initiatives that we are developing in response to your expressed needs would not be feasible without your membership support.
3. Submit an Abstract:  Let our membership know about the innovative work that you’re doing – our members have creative and interesting approaches, and many have not presented at our meetings before.
4. Come to our Scientific Meeting:  Beyond the excellent talks, there are many networking opportunities.
5. Tell a Trainee:  Motivated students and residents should be encouraged to join our organization (it’s free for them), and to get involved.  The Annual Scientific Meeting, in particular, is an ideal forum for trainees from across the country to meet each other, present their ideas, and learn about training and career opportunities.
6. Tell a Friend:  If you have enjoyed the CME, conference, or other initiatives, please let your medical and non-medical peers know about the CAGP and CCSMH, and encourage them to consider joining.
7. Join a Committee:  We are in particular need of dedicated and motivated volunteers to help us in the following new areas:
  • Advocacy Committee
  • Partnership Committee
  • Research Committee
  • E Resource Committee

The following two committees are not new, but still need much assistance:

  • Finance Committee
  • Training Strategy Committee

We also need assistance with the annual scientific meeting, online learning, national review course, awards, & membership committees. 

Please do contact us at with the subject line “Committee Volunteer”, if you are interested in helping us make a difference in these areas.

8. Donate:  The CAGP is a not-for-profit organization and relies on membership dues and registration fees in order to operate.  Industry funding is increasingly scarce.  Our donations are dedicated to supporting trainees. Dr. Carol Ward provides more information about this, and I hope you will consider supporting our more junior members.  Please contact the Secretariat for more details (

As we approach the CAGP’s 25th Anniversary in 2016, this is the time to ensure that our profession has a solid and secure identity in Canada, that we are advocating for best-practices in care, education and research, and that we are optimizing our partnerships for the optimal impact on the psychiatric care of Canada’s older adult population.

Finally, I think it is very important to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of the Secretariat Central Team who have been working with us since the Fall, and have now officially taken over all operations of our organization.  Please see the introduction section below where you will learn more about this excellent group

Secretariat Central is a turnkey office services solution that takes care of all your day-to-day administrative and accounting support tasks. Working out of our Secretariat Central headquarters, our team of professionals delivers a complete range of office services, from administrative and accounting support to editorial and translation services. (From left to right: Back Row, Maria Kardaris, Andrea Smith, Jen Sutherland - Front Row, Denise Craine, Elle Maclachlan)

Warm wishes,

Mark Rapoport, MD, FRCPC
CAGP President.


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