DLSPH Open: Audrey Laporte appointed IHPME Director & Student Mental Health
Last month, I announced Professor Audrey Laporte’s appointment to Director of IHPME for a five-year term. Strong leadership for IHPME is imperative and I am thrilled to work in partnership with Audrey to expand the Institute’s global footprint.
In addition to Audrey’s internationally recognized scholarship in dynamic microeconomic theory, applied labour economics and econometrics, she has also made substantial contributions to teaching excellence within the Institute.
Together with our School-wide leadership team, we will tackle our shared priority to support and implement the recommendations made by the University’s task force on student mental health. I encourage all members of the DLSPH community to read the report that was led by U of T Medicine Dean Trevor Young and published in mid-January. Click here to read the report.
The report calls for a student-centred approach to mental health services, an expansion of community partnerships — particularly with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) — and to create a culture of caring at U of T, among its 21 recommendations.
Health promotion is central to public health research and practice. As Canada’s leading school of public health, mental health is a critical issue and the School can play an important role in this space within the University community.
One of the report’s recommendations to help destigmatize mental illness is to embark on a campaign to talk about mental health and encourage community members to share stories of their own lived experience.
Over the coming months, I will be talking about mental health challenges, opportunities, initiatives and resources within and outside of DLSPH. Student mental health is a topic that we cannot address without the collective voices of our community. I encourage faculty, students, alumni, staff and all partners to come forward to share their experiences, stories and personal narratives by reaching out to DLSPH Communications.
I anticipate this work will culminate in a full-day retreat this April for students and faculty to participate in workshops and planning activities to improve student mental health resources within DLSPH.
Student mental health is a shared responsibility. Let’s apply a public health and health systems lens to the bold recommendations set forth by the task force. By working together to promote a holistic approach to academic excellence and mental well-being at the School, we can help students — and all members of our community — thrive.
Professor and Dean
Dalla Lana School of Public Health