Dr. Doug Urness

The Spark: Meet Dr. Doug Urness

With the upcoming launch of Alberta’s first publicly available rTMS program, we spoke to Alberta’s brain stimulation pioneer, Dr. Doug Urness, about how brain stimulation literally changes minds—through the regulation of impulses in the brain—and how it’s changing the lives of the patients he serves.

Read His Story

In 2017-2018...

Thanks to

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600 passionate community members at our 2017 Mental Health Foundation breakfast

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The Edmonton Civic Employees Charitable Assistance Fund, for their generous donation of

We Funded

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6 new brain simulation machines

and made it possible for Alberta Health Services to answer the call of experts in Alberta who believe that launching the beginnings of a province-wide rTMS* program is an opportunity for transformational change.

Edmonton will have the first brain stimulation program in Alberta.

*rTMS: What is it?

Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation uses magnets to stimulate targeted areas of the brain, regulating emotion. Brain stimulation is painless, non-invasive and virtually free of side effects.

Who's it for?

Individuals with depression that have been resistant to other forms of treatment, namely medication and therapy.

30-60% of those with depression have treatment-resistant depression.

Approximately 30,000 individuals in Edmonton may benefit from the new equipment.

Once implemented, we expect to be able to serve 1,900 clients a year, or an estimated 38,000 treatment sessions a year.

Why we care

Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and a major contributor to the global burden of disease. New technology means a new outlook for sufferers of depression.

Dr. Adam Abba-Aji, Lead Psychiatrist, ACCESS Open Minds
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Mental illness is like any other disorder. We are not immune to this illness: I can have it, you can have it, anybody else can have it. The goal to remember that mental health can be a journey, so when you start your journey and you are doing well, but you have a hiccup whereby you became ill again, it doesn’t mean that you’re gonna start from square one. You take a rest, retract yourself, seek help from other people that you know, and then continue your journey towards recovery.”

Dr. Adam Abba-Aji, Lead Psychiatrist, ACCESS Open Minds