Award of Excellence in Mental Health and Quality Improvement

This award will honour a hospital, health authority, community based mental health and addictions program/service, or a leader in the field that demonstrates evidence-informed and sustained quality improvements (QI) in the area of mental health and addictions.

Selection Committee


Sponsored by:


2018 Recipient: Dr. Kathleen A. Pajer

When a child or youth experiences a mental health crisis, wait times to access services can cause further stress during what may already be a frightening time. Lack of access to mental health care is one of the most important problems facing Canadian children and youth. Untreated pediatric mental illness leads to complications including lifelong disability, substance abuse, and suicidal behaviour. Dr. Kathleen Pajer has led an effort to reduce wait times and create a more family-centred care system by implementing the Choice and Partnership Approach (CAPA). CAPA empowers patients and families and builds a successful alliance with physicians, making it more likely that patients stick to care plans. The program also re-allocates staff to match patient demand and builds care pathways that streamline referrals. When CAPA was implemented under Dr. Pajer’s leadership at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the program reduced average wait times for a first appointment from 225 days to 93 days and at CHEO from 200 to 22 days.


Past Recipients

Please see our most recent recipients listed below. Full biography's are available in our Celebrating Leading Practices booklets.

2017, Scarborough and Rouge Hospital

2016, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health 

2015, Ontario Shores

2014, Nova Scotia Health Authority (previously Capital Health)