IACAPAP 2020 World Congress Goes Virtual with Over 300 Speakers Sharing on Research Findings and Clinical Observations for Better Child & Adolescent Mental Health


SINGAPORE – Media OutReach – 10 November 2020 – For the first time in its 83-year history, the International Association for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Allied Professions (IACAPAP) is holding its biennial congress on the virtual platform.

Originally slated to take place in Singapore, the 24th edition of the child and adolescent mental health association’s congress will now take place virtually from 2 — 4 December 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over 300 industry and academic experts will be making more than 200 presentations stretching over 180 hours on the latest research and trends in child and adolescent psychiatry.

“We have themed the congress “Starting from the beginning — laying the foundation for lifelong mental health” to reflect the importance of early intervention in the child and adolescent stages for better mental health over a lifetime,” says Adj Associate Professor Say How ONG, Chairman of the IACAPAP 2020 World Congress, and Chief & Senior Consultant, Department of Developmental Psychiatry at the Institute of Mental Health.

“Children are the pillars of our future and deserve our attention and investments so that they can lead healthy lives and contribute meaningfully. Given that the onset of mental health conditions commonly occurs in adolescence; and that adverse childhood experiences add to the risks of our children developing mental disorders later in their lives, it is important that we identify them and intervene as early as possible. This will help them set a foundation from which they develop skills to handle the mental health problems or reduce the debilitating effects of mental disorders that they may encounter later in life,” he adds.

Highlights of IACAPAP 2020

The Congress’ Keynote and Plenaries will discuss ways to improve the practice of child and adolescent mental health.

Delivering the Keynote is Professor Michael Meaney, known for his extensive research into the interactions of genes and environment on brain function. He is director of the Translational Neuroscience programme at the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, Professor of Paediatrics at the National University of Singapore, and a James McGill Professor of Medicine at McGill University. In his Keynote titled “Developmental Processes & Epigenetics”, he will speak of ways in which we can integrate our current knowledge in biological sciences to identify those children exposed to environmental conditions that predict a risk, or susceptibility to mental disorders.

Plenary speaker Dr James Hudziak will speak on “Building healthy brains through promoting healthy families”, with focus on the neuroscience of how stress impacts on the structure of the developing brain and how helping the family can improve the environment and children’s ability to deal with stress in their lives and help build a healthy brain. Dr Hudziak is known internationally for his work in the psychiatric genetics and developmental neuroimaging of child and adolescent behaviour, and is the creator of the Vermont Family Based Approach.

Most psychiatry training in Asian countries are predominantly western in orientation. Professor Michael Hong, a pioneer of child psychiatry in South Korea, will discuss the clinical implications of these cultural differences in his Plenary “Clinical implications of the East-West cultural differences in Asian countries; does it really matter?”. He will also explain why the mandatory inclusion of traditional culture and value orientation in the training curriculum, and concerted efforts to teach an integrated-balanced Eastern and Western psychology are recommended.

“Emotionally dysregulated children: who are they, what happens to them, and what can we do about them” is a Plenary topic by Dr Gabrielle Carlson, who has written over 275 papers and chapters on phenomenology and treatment of child and adolescent depression and bipolar disorder. Her talk will address current treatment approaches and outcomes for children with these disorders.

Professor Valsamma Eapen is Chair of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UNSW Sydney, Head of the Academic Unit of Child Psychiatry South West Sydney (AUCS), and Director of BestSTART South West Sydney child health unit. Her Plenary “Early life determinants of health” discusses the importance of investment in early life determinants of health in order to break the cycle of long-term and intergenerational disadvantage. With a special focus on neurodevelopmental and behavioural disorders of childhood, both the biological and social determinants and their interaction in a cumulative fashion will be discussed as the targets for a biopsychosocial transformation of the health system.

Dr Daniel Fung, President of the IACAPAP and Chairman of Medical Board at the Institute of Mental Health will wrap up the Congress with the Gerald Caplan Lecture. His topic, “Starting small: developing child centric mental health policies” will provide insights on the multi-faceted considerations when developing children-centric mental health policies, with Singapore as an illustrated example.


Day 1 — December 2, 2020 (Singapore Time GMT+8)


0800 — 0830 Opening Ceremony
0830 — 0930 Keynote: Michael Meaney

Developmental Processes & Epigenetics

0930 — 1015


Plenary 1: Valsamma Eapen

Early Life determinants of Health

1015 — 1115 Symposium sessions 1 — 11
1115 — 1145 Sponsor Symposium
1145 — 1200 Break
1200 — 1300 Symposium sessions 12 — 23
1300 — 1315 Break
1315 – 1400 State of the Art Lecture 1

Christel Maria Middeldorp: Psychopathology Across the Lifespan: Factors Influencing the Persistence of Childhood and Adolescent Symptoms


State of the Art Lecture 2

Rebecca Ang: The Referral Paradox: Enhancing Support for Children and Adolescents with Mental Health Needs


State of the Art Lecture 3

Kim Bung-Nyun: New Understanding of Neurodevelopmental Disorder: Gene and Environment Interaction

State of the Art Lecture 4

Takuya Saito: Hyperscanning in social communication


1400 — 1445 Plenary 2Eric Chen

Catching Emergent Mental Disorders in Youth: Early Intervention Paradigm in Psychosis and Youth Mental Health


1445 — 1530


Plenary 3Michael Hong

Clinical Implications of the East-West Cultural Differences in Asian countries; Does it really matter?



Day 2 — December 3, 2020 (Singapore Time GMT+8)


2100 — 2145 Plenary 4Gabrielle Carlson

Emotionally Dysregulated Children: who are they, what happens to them, and what can we do about them?

2145 — 2230 Plenary 5James Hudziak

Building Healthy Brains Through Promoting Healthy Families

2230 — 2245 Break
2245 — 2345 Symposium sessions 1 — 12
2345 — 0015

(Dec 4)

Sponsor Symposium
0015 — 0030

(Dec 4)

0030 — 0130

(Dec 4)

Symposium sessions 13 — 24
0130 — 0145

(Dec 4)

0145 — 0230

(Dec 4)

State of the Art Lecture 5

Myrna M. Weissman: 30 Years of Studying Families at Risk for Depression


State of the Art Lecture 6

Robert Hendren: Enhancing Neurodevelopmental Resilience from Conception to Adulthood


State of the Art Lecture 7

Andria Amador: Role of School in Mental Healthcare

State of the Art Lecture 8

Karl Tomm: Generative Questions in Clinical Interviewing


State of the Art Lecture 9

Paul Plener: Non-suicidal Self Injury: A New Normal or an Epidemic?


0230 — 0315

(Dec 4)


Plenary 6: Guilherme V. Polanczyk

Promotion of Development and Prevention of Mental Disorders


Day 3 — December 4, 2020 (Singapore Time GMT+8)


1600 — 1645 Plenary 7: Olayinka Omigbodun


1645 — 1745 Symposium sessions 1 — 12
1745 — 1800 Break
1800 — 1900 Symposium sessions 13 — 24
1900 — 1930 Sponsor Symposium
1930 — 1945 Break
1945 — 2030 State of the Art Lecture 10

Kai von Klitzing: Infant Psychiatry and Psychotherapeutic Interventions in Early Childhood

State of the Art Lecture 11

Christina Schwenck: Selective Mutism: What We Have Learned So Far

State of the Art Lecture 12

Cecilia Essau: Challenges and Opportunities in Adapting Evidence-Based Interventions for the Prevention of Youth Anxiety and Depression Across Cultures

2030 — 2045


2045 — 2145 Gerald Caplan Lecture

Daniel Fung: Policy for Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Closing Remarks




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