As Canada’s health research investment agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) seeks to create and translate new knowledge into improved health for Canadians. And as one of CIHR’s 13 Institutes, the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) contributes to this mandate by supporting research, and knowledge translation and exchange focused on the functioning and disorders of the brain, spinal cord, sensory systems and the mind.
INMHA supports research that enhances knowledge of the brain – mental health, neurological health, vision, hearing and cognitive functioning. Our goal is to reduce the burden of brain illness through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, treatment, support system and palliation. We will improve understanding of human thought and emotion, behaviour, sensation (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell) perception, learning, and memory.
Well-supported, excellent, innovative and ethically responsible discovery science, encompassing all aspects of nervous system and mental health research and clinical translation that results in quality healthcare, and respects the diversity of culture and values of all Canadians.
To enable cutting-edge Canadian-led research, clinical translation, innovation, and engagement that leads to new knowledge about the biological and sociocultural processes underlying neurologic, mental health and addiction disorders, and promotes optimal quality of life, health care, and outcomes.
INMHA and its partners exist as a key liaison, supporting the Canadian brain and mental health research community and putting knowledge into action for the ultimate benefit of all Canadians. INMHA’s overarching strategy strives to ensure knowledge gaps are identified and filled through the open and bidirectional exchange of information with researchers, policy makers, healthcare practitioners, decision makers, the general public, and other key stakeholders.
INMHA’s activities are guided by six overarching principles:
1. Champion scientific excellence
INMHA is committed to supporting the highest-quality science and advanced methodologies, as well as championing scientific rigour in Canadian neurosciences, mental health and addiction research as a means to promote optimal neurological health and mental wellness outcomes for all Canadians.
2. Foster meaningful collaborations and partnerships
INMHA places tremendous value on establishing and fostering positive relationships – both internal and external – in order to successfully deliver on its mandate. INMHA will therefore continue to develop and enhance current and emerging opportunities for collaborations and partnerships with (but not limited to):
- CIHR Institutes
- provinces, territories and municipalities
- Indigenous communities and organizations
- Government of Canada departments and agencies
- international organizations
- non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
- charities, foundations, and communities
- patients and individual Canadians
3. Responsive and flexible
Canada is facing a critical need for new knowledge in several areas of neurosciences, mental health and addiction research. Because INMHA has a broad mandate, we commit to remaining nimble and responsive to both current and emerging Canadian health priorities, and to the needs of brain and mental health researchers across the country.
4. Optimize impact
Because of finite financial and human resources, it is critical for INMHA to invest in areas that measurably improve Canadians’ health outcomes. The Institute invests in areas with sufficient capacity within Canada, and that are in scope and feasible for the Institute — with consideration given to projects that carry the potential to increase the global impact of Canadian brain and mental health research.
5. Attend to inequalities and potential biases
It is imperative all Canadians have the opportunity to benefit equitably from neurosciences, mental health and addiction research. To do this, INMHA includes a diversity lens in our understanding of brain health and prioritizes initiatives that bring balance to current inequalities in health research and knowledge. This includes fostering the integration of sex and gender perspectives into our strategic activities, and investing in research, knowledge translation and capacity building initiatives that meaningfully engage and promote the brain and mental wellness of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada.
6. Emphasize a wellness approach
INMHA believes there should be a paradigm shift in how health research is defined and approached, focusing on wellness over illness and promoting healthy living and optimal quality of life for all Canadians. The Institute supports approaches that aim to:
- enhance prediction, prevention and early intervention in brain and mental health conditions
- supports strategies and tools to reduce stigma and improve literacy regarding brain illness
- maximizes the cultural, social and environmental determinants of health
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