Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction

Brain Builders Lab

The Brain Builders Lab was a workshop and forum on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact on brain development. It took place from March 4–5, 2019, at the Westin Ottawa. The Lab brought together professionals with the goal of changing policy, practice and public discussion around substance use and addiction. It also helped build skills based on evidence.

The event attracted service providers and policy advisors from across Canada. CCSA selected 65 attendees based on the ideas they submitted about using the Brain Story in their work. Location was also considered to ensure broad geographical and professional coverage.

Experts in various fields guided attendees in their project plan development. Over two days, they developed plans for projects designed to spread and embed Brain Story knowledge in their communities. There were eight workgroups in total.

The event featured remarks by Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, and Michelle Gagnon, PhD, President of the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative. A panel of “practice experts” who are already using Brain Story science in their work also contributed. Lastly, an advisory panel representing leadership at a variety of organizational levels, locations and mandates added remarks.

Over the two years following this event, attendees will implement their project plans. In March 2021, they will meet to assess the impact of their projects.

CCSA is currently developing an online community of practice for attendees to stay in touch and to include those who could not join the event. It will help connect these individuals with the eight projects developed at the Lab.

Read the Brain Builders Lab event summary report for highlights from the Lab as well as lessons learned and next steps.

The Brain Story: Science and Practice

On December 5, 2018, CCSA and the Mental Health Commission of Canada hosted The Brain Story: Science and Practice webinar. It discussed how childhood trauma affects brain development and influences physical and mental illness, including addiction, and how one organization is using this knowledge in their work.

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