Dr. Michalak and research coordinator Caden Poh outside of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

Dr. Erin Michalak is the winner of the 2018 CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement. Dr. Michalak is being recognized for her work founding the Collaborative RESearch Team to study psychosocial issues in Bipolar Disorder (CREST.BD), and its groundbreaking participatory approach that allows people with bipolar disorder, researchers and clinicians to collaborate on research and knowledge translation projects.

Dr. Michalak (pictured, left) received her medal from Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada (pictured, right), during a ceremony recognizing the four Gold Leaf award recipients at Rideau Hall today. The Gold Leaf prizes recognize and celebrate exemplary research achievements by Canadian researchers, whose work has not only made a difference for Canadians, but also for many people around the world.

The CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement recognizes an individual or team that collaborates with patients, advances patient engagement as a priority and focuses on outcomes that are important for patients.

“We appreciate this acknowledgement of the program we’ve built,” said Dr. Michalak when the award was announced in May. “Authentic involvement of people with lived experience in research requires creativity, bravery, and out-of-the-box thinking on the part of researchers, patient-partners and funders alike; it can take extra time and dedication, but patient-orientated research—done well—can result in science of higher quality and higher impact.”

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Prize winners were selected on the recommendation of a Gold Ribbon Panel comprised of individuals with a broad array of expertise across all of CIHR’s health research theme areas.