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1.  Opening Minds in Canada: Targeting Change 
Objective:
To summarize the ongoing activities of the Opening Minds (OM) Anti-Stigma Initiative of the Mental Health Commission of Canada regarding the 4 groups targeted (youth, health care providers, media, and workplaces), highlight some of the key methodological challenges, and review lessons learned.
Method:
The approach used by OM is rooted in community development philosophy, with clearly defined target groups, contact-based education as the central organizing element across interventions, and a strong evaluative component so that best practices can be identified, replicated, and disseminated. Contact-based education occurs when people who have experienced a mental illness share their personal story of recovery and hope.
Results:
Results have been generally positive. Contact-based education has the capacity to reduce prejudicial attitudes and improve social acceptance of people with a mental illness across various target groups and sectors. Variations in program outcomes have contributed to our understanding of active ingredients.
Conclusions:
Contact-based education has become a cornerstone of the OM approach to stigma reduction. A story of hope and recovery told by someone who has experienced a mental illness is powerful and engaging, and a critical ingredient in the fight against stigma. Building partnerships with existing community programs and promoting systematic evaluation using standardized approaches and instruments have contributed to our understanding of best practices in the field of anti-stigma programming. The next challenge will be to scale these up so that they may have a national impact.
PMCID: PMC4213747  PMID: 25565697
stigma reduction; anti-stigma programming; Opening Minds; contact-based education
2.  Opening Minds in Canada: Background and Rationale 
Objective:
To summarize the background and rationale of the approach taken by the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Opening Minds (OM) Anti-Stigma Initiative.
Method:
The approach taken by OM incorporates a grassroots, community development philosophy, has clearly defined target groups, uses contact-based education as the central organizing element across interventions, and has a strong evaluative component, so that best practices can be identified, replicated, and disseminated. Contact-based education occurs when people who have experienced a mental illness share their personal story of recovery and hope.
Results:
OM has acted as a catalyst to develop partnerships between community groups who are undertaking anti-stigma work and an interdisciplinary team of academic researchers in 5 universities who are evaluating the results of these programs.
Conclusions:
Building partnerships with existing community programs and promoting systematic evaluation using standardized approaches and instruments have contributed to our understanding of best practices in the field of anti-stigma programming.
PMCID: PMC4213755  PMID: 25565705
mental illness stigma; Opening Minds; Mental Health Commission of Canada; contact-based education
3.  Living Environments for People with Moderate to Severe Acquired Brain Injury 
Healthcare Policy  2010;5(4):e120-e138.
Objectives:
This study examines the issue of living environments for persons with acquired brain injury (ABI), with the aim of identifying factors that enable or act as barriers to appropriate living environments.
Methods:
A qualitative study involving 31 semi-structured interviews conducted with 56 key informants representing various relevant sectors: institutional, community, residential and non-residential, consumer/advocacy and government/policy from six regions in the province of Ontario, Canada.
Results:
The study identified such barriers as lack of ABI-specific facilities, beds and trained staff and a poorly coordinated system in many areas, with long wait lists for specialized residential settings. Clients with ABI need individualized treatment, making development of a standardized model of care difficult, particularly for those with co-morbid conditions. Solutions such as more flexible options for clients and better trained staff emerged.
Conclusions:
The study presents solutions to challenges and limitations in addressing appropriate living environments for persons with ABI.
PMCID: PMC2875897  PMID: 21532762

Results 1-3 (3)