On December 11, 2021 BCSS hosted its annual Donor Appreciation Event featuring a presentation and Q & A with Dr. William G. Honer, Professor and Head of the Department of Psychiatry at UBC and the Jack Bell Chair in Schizophrenia.

Renato Zane, Chair for the BC Schizophrenia Society Foundation, welcomed Faydra Aldridge, BCSS CEO, to share her warm appreciations of all donors and supporters. Renato then shared a moving conversation with Phyllis Dyson, teacher, and author of Among Silent Echoes: A Memoir of Trauma and Resilience. The book chronicles her experience growing up with a mother who suffered from schizophrenia and is the culmination of a 20-year journey to process a childhood filled with confusion, guilt, and eventual grief over her loss. Through her story, Phyllis demonstrates how a better understanding of the disease helped deepen her love for her mother and has made her a better teacher. Many of the guests expressed appreciation for the author’s generousity in sharing her story.

This important perspective from a family member was followed by a presentation by Dr. Honer, who contributes to the ongoing work that helps patients understand and manage schizophrenia. Dr. Honer is also an honorary professor in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Hong Kong and a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He serves as a consultant psychiatrist to the BC Psychosis Program and is on the BCSS Medical Advisory Committee. His presentation focused on three areas: education, research, and how research and clinical care might be linked together more closely. Some of topics he discussed include:

  • Using tools to measure and compare the hippocampus in people with schizophrenia and without.
  • How fewer proteins in the hippocampus relates to cognitive impairment and memory issues.
  • The connection between molecular or protein mechanisms in the brain and some of the symptoms, particularly of cognitive function, and dysfunction that happens in the thymus.
  • The role of aerobic exercise in enhancing connections in, and improving the size of, the hippocampus through increased blood flow.
  • The role of medications in preventing relapse after first episodes and how an extra period of maintenance treatment can lead to better long-term outcomes.
  • The importance of medication in preventing relapses to ensure a patient is stable and doesn’t evolve into treatment resistance.

Attendees were extremely appreciative of the presentation and participated in a robust Q & A session. Sincere thanks to Renato Zane, BCSSF Chair, for serving as the event host.

A huge thank you to the Otsuka-Lundbeck Alliance for their support of this important event. They have made it possible that no donor dollars were used towards this occasion.

A full transcript of the event will be available in the future, and a recording of the full event is available here:

Thank you to the Otsuka-Lundbeck Alliance for making this possible.