Exit off canvas

Mary Seeman

IMS Graduate Coordinator, 2002-2011
Professor Emerita


Years Active in the IMS: 1985 - Present

I first qualified as a member of IMS in 1985, which makes for an unbelievable 33 years of affiliation. Between 2002 and 2011, I was a Graduate Coordinator, so those were the years during which I was most involved, but I’ve supervised students throughout and they have been pivotal in my life.

My own fairly narrow academic interest was schizophrenia and women, but my students led me far afield into developing a scale for engulfment in schizophrenia, studying the effects of emotional expressiveness in schizophrenia, and discovering the effects of puberty on schizophrenia, and the role of hope in psychotic illness. I learned about the impact of antipsychotic drugs on the hormone, prolactin, and how it can be measured by PET imaging; I learned about childhood schizophrenia, about addictions, about HIV and aging, domestic violence, the embryology of the heart, the intricacies of ethics committees, the mental health problems of immigrants, the stresses borne by siblings of children with cancer, the family problems of adolescents with diabetes, and the ethics of screening for mental illness in children.

I learned far more and in greater depth from the students I talked to as a Graduate Coordinator, when they explained their theories and experiments to me, than I learned from my textbooks in Medical School. And not all my teachers were students. I learned invaluable lessons from Josie Chapman, Lou Siminovitch, Mel Silverman, Mingyao Liu, Howard Mount, Ori Rotstein, Hazel Pollard, and so very many others.

Because of my association with IMS, I have been heaped with research awards from the Canadian and US Psychiatric Associations, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Schizophrenia Society of Canada, Golden and Diamond Queen Elizabeth Jubilee awards, an honorary Doctor of Science award from UofT, and I was selected as an Officer of the Order of Canada for my contribution to the mental health of Canadian women. None of this would have been possible without the IMS.