Dr. Norbert Schmitz, a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and an Associate Member in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University was recently awarded the 2019 Alexander Leighton Award in Psychiatric Epidemiology. The award, a joint creation of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and the Canadian Academy of Psychiatric Epidemiology, was created in 1998 to honour Professor Alex Leighton, a pioneer and leader in the field of psychiatric epidemiology in Canada.

“It is a great honour to be a recipient of the Alex Leighton Award,” says Dr. Schmitz, who is also Director of the Clinical Research Division at the Douglas Research Centre and Director of the Biostatistics Consulting Centre at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. “He initiated the Stirling County Study, the first longitudinal psychiatric-epidemiological study that used contemporary methods of data collection and diagnostic assessments. This study and Professor Leighton’s innovative work and scientific achievements on mental health and related social factors had a major impact on many researchers in in the field, including myself. His visionary and groundbreaking methodological work will continue to inspire future generations of researchers.”

Prior to joining McGill University in 2004, Dr. Schmitz was an Assistant Professor at the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine at Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, Germany, and Director of the Research Unit Public Mental Health. Dr. Schmitz obtained his PhD in Statistics from the University of Dortmund (1995) and a second PhD in Epidemiology from Heinrich-Heine-University in Duesseldorf, Germany (Habilitation, 2002).

In addition to his work in psychiatric epidemiology, Dr. Schmitz is also interested in the development and applications for measuring health status and is currently the Principal Investigator for six longitudinal community studies covering topics related to diabetes, depression, sleep, heart disease, cancer and mental health. Each study includes an interdisciplinary team of Co-Investigators who have expertise in endocrinology, nutrition, psychiatry, physical activity, epidemiology and genetics.

The Alex Leighton Award is meant to recognize an individual or a group of individuals who have contributed significantly to advancing and diffusing Canadian psychiatric epidemiology through innovative studies, methods, teaching or knowledge transfer.

Congratulations Dr. Schmitz!

December 12, 2019