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Royal to acquire PET/MRI for brain imaging

Zul MeraliOTTAWA – Great-West Life has committed $700,000 to support The Royal’s Campaign for Mental Health to acquire PET/MRI Brain Imaging Technology. The system is part of the hospital’s effort to advance mental health research and treatment in Canada.

“PET/MRI Brain Imaging Technology will transform the way major mental illness is diagnosed and treated by mapping the changes in brain activity,” said Dr. Zul Merali (pictured), President and CEO of The Royal’s Institute of Mental Health Research. “This equipment will be the first of its kind in Canada dedicated to illnesses of the brain.”

The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental health care and academic health science centres. The Royal combines the delivery of specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people with complex and treatment resistant mental illness. The Royal’s Research Institute is affiliated with the University of Ottawa.

“In the course of providing services to millions of Canadians each year, we see the significant negative impacts of mental health issues on a daily basis. Addressing the need for more effective treatment and better outcomes is a goal we passionately support,” said Dave Johnston, President and Chief Operating Officer for Great-West Life. “The Royal has long demonstrated leadership in this regard. They are breaking new ground in mental health research. This new commitment builds on our previous support and their efforts to help more people be well.”

Since 2005, including this recent commitment, Great-West Life has contributed a total of $1.5 million in support of mental health research and treatment to The Royal. This includes:

• Helping to fund a world class research laboratory at The Royal.

• As a founding sponsor in the creation of the Canadian Depression Research and Intervention Network (CDRIN). Spearheaded by Dr. Merali, CDRIN is the first Pan Canadian network aimed at linking the best minds in depression research and care, informed by the voice of lived experience. This collaboration will lead to better care and understanding of mental health and illness across the country.

• Supporting the training of the next generation of clinical researchers through fellowship support to young researchers inspired to dedicate their energy and intelligence to finding new treatments for mental illness.

“Our ongoing support of The Royal complements the work of the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace, as the initiatives we support at The Royal and through the Centre all help improve the mental well-being of Canadians,” Johnston said. “We thank The Royal and its thought leaders for their dedication and drive to make transformative technology like PET/MRI brain imaging available here in Canada.”

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