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Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie & Dr. Patrick McGrath

Location: Halifax, NS

Award: Principal Award

Category: Social Innovation

Year: 2013


The Strongest Families Institute is a not-for-profit organization providing evidence-based services to families to overcome children’s mental health problems. Strongest Families uses technology and highly trained coaches to deliver timely services to families in the comfort and privacy of their own homes at convenient times. This approach ensures that neither time nor distance are barriers to care.

Winner Spotlight Video Transcript

Dr. Lingley-Pottie: "I'm doctor Patricia Lingley-Pottie and Doctor Patrick McGrath. We're from Halifax, Nova Scotia and our innovation is the Strongest Families Institute."

Dr. Lingley-Pottie: "Strongest Families is distance education system of care providing families with help to overcome problems like child behaviour difficulties."

Dr. McGrath: "Between 40 and 60 percent of families drop out of therapy before they're finished, and it's not because they're not motivated. It's because the system is not designed to make it easy for them to participate."

Dr. Lingley-Pottie: "Parents find it difficult to take time off work, taking children out of school can affect their academic progress and so we really wanted to design strongest families to overcome some of those obstacles.

The Strongest Families innovation is really focused on increasing timely access to services and making sure that services are provided at convenient times to families in the comfort and privacy of their own home, over the phone or the internet."

Woman: "The Strongest Families program was great. They worked around my schedule, so I got my phone calls at nine o'clock in the evening, so all of my children were in bed and I was able to focus strictly on the phone call and work with my coach. I don't know what we would have done if we had to actually go to a clinic and bring our children with us, it would've been too difficult."

Dr. Lingley-Pottie: "We're really targeting mild and moderate cases that are ending up on the waitlist."

Dr. McGrath: "Our coaches are not psychologists or social workers; they're coaches, and we train them specifically for this job."

Dr. Ronsky: "The innovation is really obviously turning something around looking at things very differently than we were before."

Dr. Fournier: "What we have here is a is a total departure from previous techniques and that departure has, in fact, benefited society through the help that has been developed for those children."

Dr. McGrath: "When the Manning awards says, 'this is a wonderful innovation' then people listen: 'health system you can be innovative and here's an example' and that's that's absolutely what we need."

Woman: "What the Strongest Families institute does has changed my life."