Dr. Srividya Iyer receives the Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research

November 7, 2023
We are delighted to share that Dr. Srividya Iyer is the 2023 recipient of The Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research.

Dr. Iyer’s research focuses on adolescence and young adulthood, because they represent a period of promise and potential. Unfortunately, over 60% of mental health and/or substance use health challenges develop between the ages of 12 and 25. Mental illness in youth can cause a multitude of problems that can detrimentally impact a young person’s future. Inequitable access to services only exacerbates these challenges for underserved and marginalized communities. Yet, youth with mental illness often face late detection and intervention, long wait times, poor treatment outcomes, and siloed care.

Addressing these system-level issues, reducing wait times, increasing equitable access and creating better quality services can improve the long-term mental health and wellbeing outcomes of young people, especially those from marginalized communities. This is exactly what Dr. Iyer is striving to achieve through her research and diverse partnerships, both in Canada and globally.

“I am honoured to be the recipient of the 2023 Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research,” said Dr. Iyer. “I envision a future of mental health care in which all young people have access to the care that they need, where they are, and in the ways they prefer. Through my research, I am uncovering innovative ways to bridge equity gaps so young people from communities that have been traditionally underserved can have access to supports and services that work for them. By collaborating and co-designing research with young people, their families, clinicians and policy makers, we are actively breaking down barriers and creating youth-friendly, inclusive care environments. It is crucial that researchers, clinicians and health systems listen to and learn from youth and families with lived experience to ensure that research priorities and health system designs and policies reflect people’s care needs and realities.”

Dr. Iyer is currently playing a key role in research and evaluation for the deployment of youth-friendly hubs across Quebec (Aire ouverte) and Indigenous youth services across Canada. She is also  co-leading a learning health system to help Quebec’s early psychosis services improve constantly through the ongoing exchange of real-time data and insights. She is also contributing to advancing youth mental health services and research in Nigeria, India and Bangladesh.

“Dr. Iyer’s research is applied on the front line to help youth achieve better mental health. This research exemplifies the mission of the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation to translate research into patient improvements in health,” said Dr. Christopher Carruthers, chair of the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation.

The Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research was jointly established in 2015 by the University of Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research at The Royal and the Mach-Gaensslen Foundation of Canada. It provides $100,000 in funding annually to Canadian researchers who are under the age of 45 and have demonstrated records of accomplishment in research, excellence in scientific rigour, innovative thinking, imagination, originality, and a clear ability to work in partnership with other disciplines and/or research teams that extend beyond the institution with which they are affiliated.

The Royal is hosting a ceremony on Tuesday, December 5 at 11 a.m. EST to present Dr. Iyer with The Royal-Mach-Gaensslen Prize for Mental Health Research, and engage in an inspiring discussion about her work. Please visit this link to register, or contact michaela.berniquez@theroyal.ca for more information.

Congratulations Dr. Iyer!