CHAMPS in Northwestern Ontario

Children and youth mental health in Northwestern Ontario received wonderful news in March when the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care announced funding for hiring of up to six full-time child psychiatrists for the region.  This funding pairs with previous funding for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services (CAPS) with expanded allied mental health professionals announced last year to establish the Child & Adolescent Multidisciplinary Psychiatry Services (CHAMPS) Program.  These two funding packages include psychiatric care as well as support for mental health nursing and social workers spread across Northwestern Ontario, an area twice the size of the United Kingdom.  The goal is a hub-and-spoke model with Thunder Bay at its centre with an integrated partnership between Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Care Group.  Once fully staffed, the program will involve care in centres across the region, including Kenora, Fort Frances, Dryden and Sioux Lookout to the west and Geraldton, Marathon and Terrace Bay to the east.  Given the demographics and psychosocial vulnerabilities of the region, access to psychiatric care for children and youth in the region has long been a concern.  Improving services with programs such as CHAMPS is a step in the right direction.  The CHAMPS program would encourage any child psychiatrists interested in hearing more about opportunities to work in our developing program to contact Dr. Chiachen Cheng at