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(Article for The Medical Post, a weekly newsletter for Canadian physicians.)

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Thinking Globally
Dalhousie mental health expert is
dedicated to improving
overseas services

On a calm, Sunday afternoon in Halifax, Dr. Stan Kutcher rises from his chair and scrawls a few figures on a blackboard, trying to calculate the length of his average work week.

As the associate dean of international psychiatry at Dalhousie University, most days, he says, he's on the job at 7 a.m.

"Then I'll leave around 7 p.m. to go to the gym for an hour and half." After that, he'll go home to prepare and eat supper with family and friends. "Then around 11:30 p.m., I'll do one or two hours more of work." He tucks himself into bed after that, only to get going again at 5:30 a.m.

Final calculation: 70 hours a week-but that's probably a modest estimate.

Dr. Kutcher is an internationally recognized authority on child and adolescent psychopharmacology who has already made big waves in several scientific fields. He was recently recognized by Atlantic Canada's business magazine Progress as one of the top 20 innovators in the region.

And one can't quibble with the magazine for singling him out. This is a man, after all, who helped develop adolescent psychiatry into the progressive scientific and academic field it is today. He's also well on the way to similarly expanding international health.

The many programs and institutions he either initiated or revamped still thrive today. Among his earliest efforts were several pioneer programs specializing in adolescent psychiatry. Then there are the newer institutions he has helped develop since moving to the Maritimes in 1994, such as the Brain Repair Centre, the Life Sciences Development Association and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation-all intended to foster biomedical breakthroughs.

He also founded the International Health Office and is the CEO of Brainworks International, which provides educational materials, clinical trials research, training and consultation to help improve global mental health.

He appears to have an extraordinary ability to attract both funding and experts. For the Dalhousie department of psychiatry, for example, he increased research funding from $300,000 to $13 million in just five years. He also brought together world-renowned educators, clinicians and scientists to create new research and educational networks on a local, national and international basis.

His curriculum vitae, at 71 pages, is intimidating. This is a man who, when he became the head of child and adolescent psychiatry at Toronto's Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, appeared so young when he hired his long-time secretary that she thought the elderly man beside him was her potential new boss. These days, with four grown children, Dr. Kutcher continues to operate at full speed.

Still, he is down-to-earth, preferring to be called by his first name. His roots are humble. "I grew up all over Canada, in small towns. My father was a clergyman in the Presbyterian Church," he says.

During his university days, he worked in the summer on a rail gang in northern Manitoba. "I would work all day and then teach English and math to immigrants at night," he says.

NEXT PAGE: How working with immigrants influenced his policies later on

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