According to the World Health Organization, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is one of the top 10 causes of disability. The disorder often begins in childhood and interferes with normal development. This disabling mental illness affects approximately 2 – 3 percent of British Columbians and, although treatable, is often under diagnosed.
The aim of Dr. S. Evelyn Stewart's research program is to improve the lives of BC children and families living with OCD. Her goal is to improve the evaluation and awareness of pediatric OCD in BC by conducting research to guide scientific and clinical understanding of OCD and its management by health professionals, and by establishing national and international linkages, which will lead to future research collaborations. Dr. Stewart's specific objectives for the first five years are to 1) create a unique research program within the new pediatric OCD clinic at BC Children's Hospital that is closely tied with the community, 2) establish a pediatric OCD DNA and research data site for BC, 3) launch a comprehensive patient-assessment method, and 4) investigate the outcomes and effectiveness of the program itself.
This program is unique, as it pulls together expertise from the clinic, the community and the laboratory. One important feature of Dr. Stewart's program is the effective transfer of new information between the clinic and the research lab in order to help the outcomes of practice inform research. Dr. Stewart anticipates this program will help limit the suffering and health-care costs related to OCD. The program is anticipated to develop into the first North American OCD Centre of Excellence.