50th Anniversary of the Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry (ICFP)

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Team of ICFP, 2019.Year 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the JGH Institute of the Family and Community Psychiatry (ICFP). The Institute is an outpatient community clinic of the Department of Psychiatry, a center for psycho-social research into social causes of mental illness, as well as a teaching center for McGill residents and students in the psychiatry and other related specialties. 

The hospital’s psychiatric service began as a section of the Department of Neurology in 1946. In 1952 the Department of Psychiatry was established with Dr. Saul Albert as the Chief. In 1959 Dr. Albert was succeeded by Dr. Nathan Epstein who introduced Quebec and Canada to the Family Therapy – a therapeutic approach that works with an emphasis on the family as a unit. Unlike other approaches, patients who receive Family Therapy are interviewed together with their families. Treatments are then provided where the whole family is taken into consideration. Under Dr. Epstein’s leadership, the department not only became affiliated with the McGill University, but also made tremendous progress in all the clinical services, as well as research and educational activities.

In 1966, a generous donation of $750,000 was made to the department by the McCornnell Foundation. Complemented by a grant of $1.3 million from the Federal Health Resources Fund, Dr. Epstein’s vision of building the department’s own institution became feasible. The design of the building largely originated with Dr. Ronald Feldman who later became the Founding Director of the JGH Child Psychiatry Division. In the 60s Dr. Feldman was broadening his understanding of child psychiatry by visiting a number of facilities in the United States and at one particular institution in Urbana, Illinois, he was greatly impressed by a sleek structure with elongated, vertical windows and other features somewhat reminiscent of Japanese design. The concept was implemented in the design of the ICFP and LDI (Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research at the JGH) of which the latter was built just a stone’s throw away at the same time. 
In 1967, Dr. Henry Kravitz took over as the Chief, and fulfilled the vision and opened the ICFP in 1969. The name of ICFP reflects precisely “Family” and “Community”, the two key components of the philosophy of care held in the Psychiatry, especially since the term of Dr. Kravitz, which is : To view the patient not just as an individual, but as someone with a complex network of connections to family and community, against a backdrop of neighborhood, religion, race, ethnicity and a host of other factors. 

The opening of the ICFP in 1969 is a milestone that marks the maturity of the development of the psychiatric service at the JGH. It has enabled the Institute to develop in a much wider scope ranging from outpatient care, humanistic care, transcultural psychiatry, unique couple and family therapy, complex research and teaching activities, to various community partnerships. 

Here’s a summary of the major clinical and academic contributions made by the staff of the Institute. over the past 5 decades:

1966: the Family Therapy Training Program opens under the joint auspices of the Departments of Psychiatry at the JGH and McGill. 
1971: An addition to adult in-patient care, a Day Centre evolves at the ICFP to provide services to acutely disturbed out-patients for whom hospital beds are unavailable.
1973: Opening of the Department’s Sexual Dysfunction Treatment Centre, Adult External Services, and the Youth Service.
1977: AMI-Quebec, a non-profit organization that helps families manage the effects of mental illness, begins its multi-decade relationship with the ICFP by holding its first meeting in the ICFP amphitheatre.
1985: The Continuing Care Clinic opens to treat schizophrenia.
1988: Dr. Philip Beck is appointed Chief. 
1991: The Couple and Family Therapy Training Program is granted accreditation as a post-graduate training program by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.
1999: Dr. Michael Bond became Chief. 
2010: Opening of the Ruth and Saul Kaplan Pavilion on Côte Sainte-Catherine Road, unifying all child psychiatry services under the umbrella of the JGH Centre for Child Development and Mental Health.
2013: The first fellowship in Family Therapy is created at the McGill Department of Psychiatry, under the direction of Dr. Sharon Bond, Dr. Feldman and Dr. Jaswant Guzder. 
2014: Dr. Karl Looper is appointed Chief.
2018: Launch of the Resource and Information Centre in the ICFP’s lobby.
2019: As of the ICFP 50th anniversary, the Adult Psychiatry Day Treatment Program is launched in a newly renovated space in Pavilion B.

After 50 years since its inception, according to the Chief Psychiatrist Dr. Looper, the Psychiatry Department and the ICFP still embrace “the broad-based approach to mental health. It’s very community-oriented and humanistic, in the sense of understanding the social and cultural aspects of a patient’s life.” Also they “pay close attention to the psychological and psychotherapeutic elements, rather than simply relying on medication.” 

This online exhibition is created by the JGH Historical Archives to partake in the ceremony and to promote the ICFP history to the community it serves. The exhibition consists of photographs, manuscripts by the staff, and various JGH publication articles that feature the Institute. It is made possible through a tremendous help rendered by the ICFP staff, especially Medical Librarian Teodora Constantinescu at the ICFP who not only is the liaison between the Archives and the ICFP team but also took the leading role in soliciting donations from her colleagues, former Chief of Child Psychiatry Dr. Ronald Feldman who is our primary source for verification of historical facts, former Chief Psychiatrist Michael Bond and former Chief Administrator Alice Dind who responded to our call by donating invaluable historical materials for building the collection from scratch, Chief Psychiatrist Dr. Karl Looper for much needed administrative support, as well as many others for their time and archives to facilitate our work. We hope you enjoy the exhibition and help us share the legacy.  

Related articles: 
" Celebrating five decades – and more! – of pioneering psychiatric services at the JGH." JGH News, August 2019. 
" Seeing the psychiatric patient as more than an isolated individual.JGH News, August 2019. 
" ICFP’s 50th anniversary is a highlight of Psychiatry’s JGH timeline.JGH News, August 2019.
The above articles were accessed on September 17, 2019.

ICFP Building

Couple and Family Therapy Program

Staff Educational Activities

IPCF dans les nouvelles

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