2021 Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award

Mary Cannon Awarded the 2021 Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award

The Schizophrenia International Research Society has named Mary Cannon FRCPsy, M.D. the 2021 Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Awardee. Professor Mary Cannon is Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health in the Department of Psychiatry, RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ireland and a consultant psychiatrist in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. Her areas of research interest are young people’s mental health and early life risk and protective factors for schizophrenia. Her current research projects are concerned with studying meanings and mechanisms of psychotic-like experiences in young people and investigating trajectories of psychopathology in youth.  Her research is funded by the European Research Council and the Health Research Board (Ireland). Professor Cannon is interested in advocacy in the field of mental health and has served on a governmental Task Force on Youth Mental Health and a ministerial rapid response group on Substance Use in Third Level Students. She is co-chair of the Youth and Student Mental Health Special Interest Group in the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland and vice-Chair of the Academic Faculty. She is a member of the Editorial Boards for the British Journal of Psychiatry, Schizophrenia Bulletin and the Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. She has previously been a SIRS Board Member and currently serves as Co-chair for the SIRS Conference Programme Committee 2022.

A Message from Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Awardee, Mary Cannon


A Message from Dame Til Wykes, SIRS President

The award for the contribution to clinical work and the community has this year been presented to an outstanding candidate, Mary Cannon.  She is also a Consultant Psychiatrist at Beaumont Hospital. Both roles are based in Dublin.

Her longstanding interest is young people’s mental health and especially identifying early risk and protective factors for later mental illness, particularly psychosis. But her research interests are wide and include pregnancy and mental illness, as well as the impact of cannabis use on mental health. Her research on the effect of cannabis on adolescent brain development has shown the effects of intersections between separate effects at different stages of development. Her latest contributions overtly recognises the complexity of human mental health and she now incorporates epidemiological and clinical approaches supplemented by neuroimaging and electrophysiology to identify risk factors for mental illness in youth.

Professor Cannon has also been involved in moving services forward in two government taskforces on youth mental health and substance misuse. These have shaped mental health policy in Ireland.

Mary is a longstanding member of SIRS and has contributed in many ways to the development of our Society. Even as a busy person she has taken on the job of co-chairing the SIRS 2022 programme committee.

Despite the complications of having two jobs and a family, she is a highly cited researcher as well as a diligent clinician and is a very worthy candidate for this award. Congratulations Mary.

A Message from Margaret Niznikiewicz, Ph.D.

It was a real honor to nominate Dr. Mary Cannon for the Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award. Dr. Cannon has devoted her career to improving the lives of people with schizophrenia and those at risk for schizophrenia at both individual and community level.  She has been not only a gifted and influential researcher who published important studies that impacted the field of schizophrenia (she was listed in the 2020 Thomson Reuters most highly cited researcher list as one of the most cited researchers (top 1%) in her field internationally), but also an indefatigable advocate for those at risk for mental illness. This dedication has been on display during the COVID-19 epidemic, where she advocated for better resources for people, especially young people impacted by the effects of isolation due to COVID-19 related lockdowns. She combines the sensibility of her public health and epidemiology background with psychiatry to arrive at unique solutions that benefit mental health outcomes at a community level.  I believe that this approach is especially valuable as this pandemic starkly illustrates how the focus on public health outcomes benefits both society at large and individuals living their lives in that society. I am immensely happy that she has been deemed worthy of the Outstanding Clinical and Community Research Award by the SIRS.

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