Plenary Speakers

Carol Hopkins
Julian M. Somers
George F. Koob
Mamta Gautam

Conference Co-Chair’s Video Message

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Carol Hopkins
Carol Introduces Her Presentation

Carol Hopkins

Honouring the Strengths of First Nations in Substance Use Challenges

Carol Hopkins has been a pioneer in the field of First Nations substance use and mental health for more than 25 years. An Officer in the Order of Canada, she has been at the helm of some of Canada’s most important national initiatives and now works as the Executive Director of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, a division of the National Native Addictions Partnership Foundation. She holds an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Western University, a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and a degree in sacred Indigenous Knowledge, equivalent to a PhD in western education systems.

In her 2021 plenary talk, she will provide an expert overview of First Nations methodologies for addressing substance use challenges, relying on Indigenous knowledge and culture-based practices in collaboration with clinical practice. She will discuss the Canadian Research in Substance Misuse (CRISM) study and the results, including a First Nation community-based guideline for addressing opioid and methamphetamine, which supports services for First Nations, by First Nations.

Julian M. Somers

Harm Reduction and Recovery: The Basis for Peace in Addiction’s Civil War

Julian Somers is a distinguished professor at Simon Fraser University and director of the university’s Centre for Applied Research in Mental Health & Addiction. A licenced clinical psychologist, he is a decorated and respected leader in practices that promote recovery from addiction, mental illness and homelessness. He has led major studies examining the effectiveness of interventions, and has developed clinical services for people with limited finances, as well as those in rural and remote regions of Canada. He works closely with people who experience addictions and with government leaders responsible for relevant policies and services. Members of the Somers Research Group have earned local, national, and international awards for research in the public interest and in 2018 Dr. Somers received SFU’s award for Excellence in Supervision in engineering, medical and natural sciences.

Julian Somers
george koob
George Introduces His Presentation

George F. Koob

Neurobiology of Addiction, Pain and Hyperkatifeia: The Negative Emotional Side of Addiction

George Koob is an internationally recognized expert on alcohol, stress, and the neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction. He is the Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism where he leads efforts to reduce the public health burden associated with alcohol misuse and oversees a broad portfolio of alcohol research. His work has advanced our understanding of the physiological effects of alcohol and has helped us understand why some people transition from use to misuse to addiction, while others do not. He has authored more than 650 peer-reviewed scientific papers and is a co-author of The Neurobiology of Addiction, a comprehensive textbook reviewing the most critical neurobiology of addiction research conducted over the past 50 years. He has received many prestigious honors and awards for his research, mentorship, and international scientific collaboration.

In his 2021 plenary talk he will explore the neurobiology of hyperkatifeia — the dysphoria, malaise, pain and misery associated with addiction — and consider how emotional pain may help explain the prominent role that alcohol and drugs play in “deaths of despair.”

Mamta Gautam

The Power of Resilience

Mamta Gautam is an internationally acclaimed psychiatrist, consultant, coach, author and speaker. Known as “the doctor’s doctor,” she has been a pioneer in physician health and wellbeing since 1990. She is the founding director of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine Wellness Program, served as an advisor for the Canadian Medical Association Centre for Physician Health and Wellbeing, and currently chairs the organization’s Burnout Task Force. In the past two decades, she has expanded her work to include physician leadership development to better address system-level factors that impact physician wellness. Dr. Gautam is committed to advancing diversity in medicine, and leadership development for women in medicine. She has served as the Diversity Monitor at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and developed Momentum, a 6-day retreat for women in medicine. Most recently, she founded The Raft, an online platform for leadership development and community for women physicians.

She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for her innovative work to support her physician colleagues, and for her mentoring of women colleagues, and has been awarded Distinguished Fellowships in both the Canadian and American Psychiatric Associations.

In her 2021 plenary talk, Dr. Gautam will explore the power of resilience and provide attendees with practical strategies to manage stress effectively, both in their professional and personal lives. Stress is inherent in medicine, and physicians today are facing unprecedented change, uncertainty and complexity. Healthcare workers are experiencing significant — and possibly enduring — psychological distress. This presentation will help to define and normalize these concerns. It is designed to help understand stress and how to recognize when it turns into distress. Dr. Gautam will address how we may be able to identify others who are struggling, how best to approach students, residents, colleagues or staff to offer help, and to let them know that someone cares.

mamta Gautam
Mamta Introduces Her Presentation