Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada — Dr. Fiona McGregor, a hospital and community psychiatrist from Vernon, British Columbia with a passion for improving the mental health system, was inaugurated as President of the Canadian Psychiatric Association.
Since her arrival from the UK in 1990, McGregor has focused on direct client care and developing integrated mental health services in BC, initially in the community of Vernon but later extending to ensure integrated services across the region with outreach to the Salmon Arm and Revelstoke communities.
In particular, McGregor has spearheaded the development of community mental health programs for persons with serious and persistent mental illnesses, including those suffering from treatment resistant psychosis as well as individual and outpatient group programs for those with mood disorders.
This experience, coupled with long-standing involvement with the BC Psychiatric Association (BCPA), galvanized her to expand her advocacy on mental health. As President of the BCPA from 2001 to 2003 she approached her province's division of the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Schizophrenia Society to join with the BCPA to form the fledgling BC Alliance on Mental Health/Illness and Addiction.
The Alliance, of which she was Vice Chair from 2001-2003, has since grown to encompass 21 of the province's health, social service and criminal justice organizations who work in partnership towards an evidence-based system of care.
In 2006 the BC Alliance organized a public forum which brought together the BC health authorities, the government, non-profit organizations, and consumer and family groups to meet with Senator Michael Kirby, then Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology as he presented his Committee's report "Out of the Shadows at Last" on the state of mental health and addictions care in Canada.
This gave rise to several meetings with the provincial Minister of Health and the Minister of Children and Families to discuss how to promote greater public involvement in the development of a mental health plan across the age spectrum.
The BC Alliance requested the BC government establish a fund to develop innovative public programs. The government response was to provide $10 million to the Community Action Initiative (CAI), a partnership of First Nations, business groups and BC Alliance members. The first grants from this initiative were awarded this spring.
Dr. McGregor continues to pursue her involvement with this project as the Chair of the BC Psychiatric Association Social and Legislative Committee and a member of the CAI Board.
Until recently Dr. McGregor was Head of the Vernon Jubilee Hospital's Department of Psychiatry. Under her leadership as both department head and in her capacity as Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry with the University of British Columbia, this department has taken on a greater responsibility in providing psychiatric education to UBC medical students.
The Canadian Psychiatric Association is the national voice for Canada's 4,100 psychiatrists and more than 600 psychiatric residents. Founded in 1951, the CPA is dedicated to promoting an environment that fosters excellence in the provision of clinical care, education and research.