Pfizer announces first-ever recipients of its Psychiatry Research Awards

~ Pfizer commits $100,000 to each winner and launches round 2 of the program ~

MONTREAL, May 16, 2012 /CNW/ - Pfizer Canada is pleased to announce the first recipients of the Psychiatry Research Awards Program. The program, launched in May 2011, was developed to advance clinical research and patient care in psychiatry by supporting Canadian investigators in their research efforts.

Dr. Elizabeth Osuch, Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute and Rea Chair of Affective and Anxiety Disorders and Dr. Jehannine Austin, PhD, Assistant Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of British Columbia will each receive $100,000 to support their research in psychiatric diseases.

"I am very pleased to have been recognized by Pfizer for my research, which I truly do believe will have an impact on Canadians living with mental illness," says Dr. Osuch, who is researching functional neuroimaging of intrinsic hemodynamic networks in bipolar disorder and unipolar depressive disorder. "This award will help further my research efforts and advance the translation of medical research into patient care."

The Psychiatry Research Awards Program is a competitive research grant program open to all researchers interested in psychiatric diseases including physicians and academics.

"I am truly grateful to have received this prestigious award, as it validates the importance of a research topic I feel passionate about," says Dr. Austin, who is researching the effect of genetic counselling on adherence to psychotropic medication in serious mental illness. "Through this award, I hope to advance knowledge of mental illness and improve outcomes for Canadians and their families."

Submitted proposals are reviewed by an independent external review committee, chaired by Dr. Glenda MacQueen, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta.

"In its inaugural year, the Pfizer Psychiatry Research Awards Program generated significant interest from Canadian investigators and we are so pleased with the quality of the submissions received," says Dr. MacQueen. "I am looking forward to seeing the impact our recipients' research will have on mental health care in Canada, and to continuing my role on the committee in 2012."


Pfizer is now accepting proposals for the 2012 round. Eligible areas of study include clinical research involving humans, or outcomes/epidemiological research in the areas of major depressive disorders, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

"Pfizer Canada is dedicated to supporting outstanding research that may lead to improve the mental health and well-being of Canadians," says Dr. Bernard Prigent, Vice President and Medical Director, Pfizer Canada. "We are proud of the accomplishments of our 2011 recipients, and look forward to continued success in 2012."

The Psychiatry Research Awards Program is the most recent initiative in Pfizer's ongoing commitment to mental illness in Canada. Additional information and application information can be found at The submission deadline for the 2012 competition is October 1, 2012.


One in five Canadians will personally experience a mental illness during their lifetime.1 Mental illnesses can affect people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures1 and are the result of a complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors.1

Nearly three million Canadians will experience depression in their lifetime,2 with most people affected being in their working years, between the ages of 24 and 44.2 A major depressive disorder can occur once in a lifetime, or episodes can be recurrent.3

Schizophrenia affects an estimated one in 100 Canadians and their families.4 While the exact causes are unknown, it is believed the illness is caused by a biochemical imbalance.4

Schizophrenia can impact anyone, but usually develops into a full-blown illness in late adolescence or early adulthood.4

Bipolar disorder affects approximately 1.2 per cent of the adult population.5  It usually begins in early adulthood, with the average age of onset around 18 to 24 years,5 although it can sometimes start in childhood or as late as the 40s or 50s.5


Pfizer Canada Inc. is the Canadian operation of Pfizer Inc, the world's leading biopharmaceutical company. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and markets prescription medicines for humans and animals. Pfizer Inc. invests more than US$7 billion annually in R&D to discover and develop innovative life-saving and life-enhancing medicines in a wide range of therapeutic areas. Our diversified health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, and many of the world's best-known consumer products. For more information, visit

1 Public Health Agency of Canada. Mental Illnesses in Canada: An Overview. Available at: Accessed: April 3, 2012.
2 Canadian Mental Health Association. Depression in the Workplace. Available at: Accessed: April 3, 2012.
3 Mood Disorders Society of Canada. What is Depression? Available at: Accessed: April 3, 2012.
4 Schizophrenia Society of Canada. 2011 Annual Report. Available at: Accessed: April 3, 2012.
5 Mood Disorders Society of Canada. What is Bipolar Disorder? Available at: Accessed: April 3, 2012.


For further information:

For more information or to arrange an interview with one of the award recipients and/or Dr. MacQueen, please contact:

Stephanie Bannan
Tel: 416-849-8949

Christina Antoniou
Pfizer Canada Inc.
Tel: 1-866-9PFIZER (973-4937)

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