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Mission, Vision & Values

The Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neuroscience at McMaster University is committed to world-class research, innovation in education and scholarship and the dissemination and application of our research and learning to make a difference for individuals, families and communities. While building on our existing strengths, it enables us to address the challenges facing any academic department, such as forging new partnerships to broaden our work, making our work relevant to the changing needs of the individuals and communities we serve, finding new ways to disseminate our findings to influence practice and policy and fostering career pathways for our faculty and learners, while continually aiming for excellence in everything we do.

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Excellence in scholarship to improve outcomes for people with mental illness through prevention, earlier detection and person-centred care across the lifespan.


Innovation, equity, partnerships and inclusion in everything we do.


Innovation and Excellence: Innovation is central to everything we do. We believe in thinking differently, challenging the status quo and constantly striving to improve what we do. Ours is a culture of enquiry, mutual support and encouragement. Because we know innovation thrives in an environment that supports creativity and new ideas, we value risk taking, shared learning and challenging each other in order to bring out our best. We are focused on being national and international leaders in our chosen areas.

Partnerships and Collaboration: Our work is richer and more productive when we collaborate with partners. That includes those within the department and partners in hospitals, other faculties within the university, the community and other centres who share our interests and can add their perspectives. Partnerships with colleagues in the medical community offer the opportunity to integrate mental health care with overall health care, drawing attention to and reinforcing the link between mind and body. We play an important role in helping other departments, organizations and individuals recognize these problems and provide effective and timely interventions and referrals

Equity and Diversity: We believe in equal opportunities for every member of the community and strive to remove the barriers that make it hard for people to receive the support and services they need, when they need them. This means addressing the biological and psychological determinants that contribute to the development, onset and course of a mental disorder or problem and social, economic and environmental impediments, as well.

Person and Family-Centredness: Mental health problems affect both individuals and those who care about them. Accordingly, engaging patients and their families in their own care increases the odds of successful outcomes. We place high importance on new approaches to educate the community and address stigma as well as on experienced-based treatment designed for individuals and their families.

Collegiality and Inclusiveness: We are committed to maintaining an environment that offers a place for anyone who is interested in learning from colleagues and participating in the discussion (a place for all). By connecting with those from different programs, divisions, departments and faculties we build on our strengths while developing common areas of interest that open up new ideas, discussions and opportunities.

Strategic Directions

The Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Neurosciences’ strategic plan, Equity, Innovation and Partnerships, is built upon three words: equity, innovation and partnerships, which have been carefully chosen. Each represents one of our core values and they will be the major drivers of our research and other academic activity as we implement our mission.

Equity: Achieving equity means ensuring every member of our community has the opportunity to optimize their recovery and overall well-being by removing barriers to receiving timely care. It also means addressing social, economic and environmental, as well as biological and psychological, determinants that can contribute to the development, onset, course and outcome of a mental disorder or problem.

Innovation: Innovation is about new ideas and drawing inspiration from multiple sources, with every person in the department having the opportunity to contribute. It means thinking differently, challenging the status quo, testing new ideas and constantly striving to improve. Innovation thrives in an environment that supports creativity and new ideas, thereby creating a culture of enquiry, mutual support and encouragement, which fosters a sense of community where risk taking is valued, learning is shared, successes celebrated and where we challenge each other to achieve our best.

Partnerships: Partnerships are central to our success, both within and beyond the department. Whether establishing a research program, implementing an educational program or addressing a community priority, our work will be richer and more productive if we can collaborate with partners from the hospitals, faculty, university, community and with other centres.

Based on these core values, our strategic plan (doc) has identified five priority areas and a number of emerging areas.