As we recently shared, Scarborough Health Network (SHN) has made exciting strides towards the development of the new Scarborough Health Network Research Institute (SHNRI). Now, we are thrilled to introduce you to SHNRI’s Scientific Director.

A staff psychiatrist with SHN since 2020, Dr. Adriana Carvalhal was drawn to our health network’s bold ambitions. Given her professional background, Dr. Carvalhal saw SHN as a natural fit for her own aspirations — to cultivate novel research and solutions that will help us to achieve better and more equitable health outcomes. ​​​​​​​

Originally from Brazil, Dr. Carvalhal came to Canada for her post-doctorate study on HIV.

“I was fascinated with research aimed at trying to understand and explain why patients would present with such a variety of symptoms,” said Dr. Carvalhal. “For my post-doctorate study, I had the opportunity to be involved in implementing the knowledge we gained from research in real-world cases. We identified and treated mental health in HIV patients since some psychiatric conditions can put people at risk of having worse outcomes from the infection or a higher likelihood of getting infected in the first place.”

This multidisciplinary approach sparked Dr. Carvalhal’s passion for looking at the full range of determinants of health — from diet, to housing, to income, to social support, to genetic predisposition, etc.

“This helps us to consider all the healthcare services necessary to impact the outcome of the illness in a more proactive, beneficial way. In Scarborough, this is what is needed for our outsized rates of ailments like kidney disease,” said Dr. Carvalhal.

Dr. Carvalhal now looks forward to bringing this approach to SHNRI. Through clinical, health services and population health research, SHNRI will help to better evaluate and develop integrated models of care, and translate research findings and knowledge to clinical practice and health policy.

“I am committed to making SHNRI a tool for disease prevention and promotion of healthy lifestyle and overall wellness in our communities, and a means to address barriers to health care within our diverse community,” said Dr. Carvalhal. “This includes working closely with an activated and engaged community in research that matters to them. SHNRI will partner with Scarborough to generate and apply new knowledge and innovative solutions that make healthcare more equitable, accessible, and relevant.” ​​​​​​​

SHN thanks Dr. Carvalhal for the commitment she has made and looks forward to a bright and productive future under her direction.