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Improving care and wellness in bipolar disorder: origins, evolution and future directions of a collaborative knowledge exchange network

Erin E Michalak1*, Rachelle Hole2, James D Livingston3, Greg Murray4, Sagar V Parikh5, Sara Lapsley6 and Sally McBride7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 2A1, Canada

2 School of Social Work, University of British Columbia - Okanagan, 3333 University Way, Kelowna, BC, V1V 1V7, Canada

3 BC Mental Health & Addiction Services, Provincial Health Services Authority, 70 Colony Farm Road, Port Coquitlam, BC, V3C 5X9, Canada

4 Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, PO Box 218, John St. Hawthorn, 3122, Australia

5 University of Toronto and the Canadian Network for Mood and Anxiety Treatments, Toronto Western Hospital, Main Pavillion, 9th Floor Room 324, 399 Bathurst St., Toronto, ON, M5T 2S8, Canada

6 Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia, Scarfe Building, Room 2522-2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada

7 Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia, 2255 Wesbrook Mall, Vancouver, BC, V6T 2A1, Canada

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International Journal of Mental Health Systems 2012, 6:16  doi:10.1186/1752-4458-6-16

Published: 10 September 2012


The Collaborative RESearch team to study psychosocial factors in bipolar disorder (CREST.BD) is a multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral network dedicated to both fundamental research and knowledge exchange on bipolar disorder (BD). The core mission of the network is to advance the science and understanding of psychological and social issues associated with BD, improve the care and wellness of people living with BD, and strengthen services and supports for these individuals. CREST.BD bridges traditional and newer research approaches, particularly embracing community-based participatory research (CBPR) methods. Membership of CREST is broad, including academic researchers, people with BD, their family members and supports, and a variety of health care providers. Here, we describe the origins, evolution, approach to planning and evaluation and future vision for our network within the landscape of CBPR and integrated knowledge translation (KT), and explore the keys and challenges to success we have encountered working within this framework.

Bipolar disorder; Interdisciplinary; Community-based participatory research; Knowledge translation