Our fourth episode of Raw Talk continues with this month’s theme of “The Physician-Scientist”, featuring the incredible Dr. Albert Wong, a Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the Institute of Medical Sciences, and Research Scientist & Staff Psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. We sit down with Dr. Wong to explore how he got to where he is today, as a clinician-scientist in psychiatry, particularly within the field of schizophrenia and mental health. Part of Dr. Wong’s fascination with the study of schizophrenia lies in its phenomenology, and how the stigma surrounding the disease may be entangled in the origins of the disease.
Inspired by this idea, Kat and Eryn take a few minutes to debunk some of the common misconceptions surrounding schizophrenia in the first installment of the “Myth busters” segment. Dr. Wong’s research focus lies in understanding the genetic, cellular, and developmental underpinnings of psychiatric disorders through preclinical animal models and clinical studies. Dr. Wong outlines the pros and cons of using animal models in psychiatric research, and his hopes for the future direction of this research. As you listen to this episode, Dr. Wong’s passion for his work is absolutely infectious. He articulates why studying neuroscience is critical in helping us decipher what truly drives human behaviour.
Dr. Wong also discusses one of the pitfalls in mental health research – the lack of a single definition of mental illness and mental health. From his experience both as a researcher and a clinician, Dr. Wong elaborates that as a result, optimal mental health is difficult to determine and will be unique to each individual. In keeping with this idea, Eryn and Kat decided to take to the streets of the University of Toronto campus to get the “Word on the Street” about how people really define and understand the term mental health.This episode is certainly not one to miss! Be sure to visit Dr. Wong’s lab website to learn more about his intriguing research.