Increasing Clozapine Use by Removing Prescribing Barriers wins first prize at Ontario Shores 6th Annual Mental Health Conference

On Wednesday March 2nd Ontario Shores held their 6th Annual Mental Health Conference. Scarborough and Rouge Hospital participated with an oral presentation on our e-therapy work. We also did a poster presentation on clozapine; led by pharmacist Bob Barnes, this work aims to increase the use of that medication.

Both presentations were well received, and stimulated good discussion.

I’m pleased to report that “Increasing Clozapine Use by Removing Prescribing Barriers,” the Barnes et al. poster, won first prize for a poster presentation at this conference, besting 19 other posters, including from the Royal, CAMH, and UHN.

Bob Barnes (Pharmacist at TSRH) with the winning his winning poster presentation

A few words about the clozapine project:

Increasing Clozapine Use by Removing Prescribing Barriers poster

As you know, clozapine is an effective antipsychotic for people with treatment-refractory psychosis, yet it is often not prescribed. The clozapine program features two core elements to increase clozapine use:


  1. A change in culture.
  2. A change in monitoring.


The change in culture includes several steps: clozapine prescribing has been declared a priority in our department; a clinical champion has been named; policies have been changed to allow for both inpatient and outpatient initiation.

The change in monitoring involves a first-in-Canada project, moving to blood monitoring via point-of-care (that is, finger-prick) testing. This change required an investment in new equipment and a change in departmental policies.

And a few words about research in our Mental Health PSG:

We continue to do solid, clinically-relevant research. In 2012, we had zero published abstracts; in 2016, we had 12 published abstracts.

So congratulations to Bob, and all the poster co-authors (Dr. H. P. Nguyen, Dr. I. Nwachukwu, S. Balasingham, Z. Bana, F. Khalid-Khan, P. Sheldrake), as well as our e-therapy presenters.

And congratulations to everyone involved in research at our department.

Dr. David Gratzer

Here are some photos of TSH’s presentations:


“Congrats to all involved.  Continue with the leadership your department  is showing in thus area and in your innovative  approaches  to patient care. “

-Naresh Mohan (Chief Medical Officer TSRH)

Mental Notes and the whole Mental Health Department at the Scarborough Hospital is proud of our representation at Ontario Shores 6th Annual Mental Health Conference.  The MH team continues to push innovation all for the benefit of the community of Scarborough.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s