January 2024

Dear Friends:

I'm hoping that 2024 has started off well! I am excited and pleased to share with you that our Department of Psychiatry is ranked 7th in NIH grant awards for Federal Fiscal Year 2023, our highest ranking ever! This represents the second time in the past four years that we have been in the top 10. Congratulations and thank you to all of our faculty, their teams, and our department’s grants management colleagues whose efforts resulted in us achieving this result. I am so thrilled to start out the new year with this exciting news!

Last October, U-M neuroscientist Huda Akil, Ph.D., won the nation’s highest scientific honor, the National Medal of Science, for her discoveries about the roots of emotions, depression, pain and addiction in brain biology. Dr. Akil’s scientific contributions have had an immense impact on humankind’s understanding of these important research areas and her team’s discoveries laid the groundwork for many other scientists’ work to this day. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Akil on this marvelous achievement!

I am delighted about another great success for our department, spearheaded by Dr. Donovan Maust: fueled by new funding expected to total $81 million from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, his team will work to improve understanding of the health care workforce that cares for people with dementia, through surveys and other methods that will produce data for clinicians, researchers, policymakers and others to use. The National Dementia Workforce Study will survey those who work in homes, hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, yielding data to improve care and inform policy.

We have much to be proud of here in the Department of Psychiatry – and we are looking forward to the new year with optimism and vigor.

Colleagues and alumni, as you likely know, voting will soon begin for the U.S. News & World Report 'Best Hospitals' rankings. We view our rankings as one form among many of the recognition of the great care, valuable research, and educational achievements that Michigan Psychiatry alumni, faculty, and staff provide. For patients and students (and for our colleagues), these rankings can be highly influential. Eligible physicians will be able to vote through Doximity very soon. Please keep Michigan Psychiatry in mind when you are polled. Thank you for voting; we appreciate your continued support!


Gregory Dalack, M.D.
Daniel E. Offutt, III Professor & Chair
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Mind Matters - Addiction Treatment Medications: The Science & Personal Stories

Webinar on January 18, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Learn about the various medications for treating substance use disorders and their role in a successful recovery program. Hear Rebecca's story, delving into her journey with two addiction treatment medications, and the challenges and triumphs of her recovery process. RSVPs are required.

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New $81M NIH grant will help U.S. answer urgent need for better dementia care

National Dementia Workforce Study (NDWS) will survey those who work in homes, hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities and nursing homes, yielding data to improve care and inform policy. Read this Michigan Daily interview.

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1 in 8 older adults use cannabis products, suggesting need to screen for risks

Increased use by people over 50 since the pandemic and state-level legalization seen in study, with especially high use found in those who also engage in unsafe levels of alcohol use

FOX 19 Now interviewed Anne Fernandez, Ph.D., who led the study, on Legalization of Cannabis in Ohio. Dr. Fernandez also spoke with Spectrum News about the study.

Dexter coalition engages teens in preventing substance use among peers

Dr. Erin Bonar is quoted in this article about a local substance use prevention program for teens.

Support for Parents after a Child’s Suicide Attempt

Families need support after the devastating event of their child’s suicide attempt. Dr. Joanna Quigley offers expert insights in this Metro Parent article.

Featured News, Stories & Experts Quoted:

1. How to know whether you need a psychiatrist or a psychologist [Dr. Heather Schultz]

2. A pill to treat postpartum depression? It’s here [Dr. Maria Muzik]

3. How to cope with photos, videos coming out of Israel-Hamas conflict [Dr. Michelle Kees]

4. How much is too much? Teaching your kids to set boundaries with social media [Dr. Jane Harness]

5. Social Media Use and Youth Mental Health: A Guide for Clinicians Based on Youth Voices [Drs. Jane Harness and Tammy Chang]

Podcasts & Recordings:

1. Mind Matters: "Beyond Borders"

Frances Adiukwu, M.D., and Heidi Burns, M.D., speak about their experiences with mental health and treating mental illnesses in Nigeria and Ghana.

2. The Wrap: "988 Crisis Line"

This episode features a presentation and conversation around the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline with Drs. Debra Pinals and Nasuh Malas

3. The Wrap: "Insight Into Recovery From Substance Use Disorder"

Cameron Coleman, M.D., and social workers Darin Szczotka and Coty Babon were featured as providers on the front lines of substance use disorder care.

4. Dementia Researcher Podcast: "Improving Dementia Care Journeys"

Hosted by Dr. Annalise Rahman-Filipiak and featuring Diane Ty and Rajiv Ahuja, authors of a pivotal report from the Milken Institute – Guiding the Care Journey.

Help us reach our $100,000 goal!

To honor Dr. James Abelson’s nearly three decades of leadership, we have established the Abelson/Curtis Legacy Fund which benefits the Anxiety Disorders Program while paying tribute to the founder of the program, George Curtis, M.D., and to Dr. Abelson for his many accomplishments over the years. As Dr. Abelson steps down as Anxiety Program director, he wishes to help the clinic’s third director, Sarah Bommarito, M.D., launch her leadership career with a legacy fund, mirroring the one bequeathed to him when he became the program’s second director. This fund will entwine the Abelson and Curtis names in a lasting way to support the clinic’s ongoing educational missions. Read more about the history of the Anxiety Disorders Program and this new fund that will support it. Make a gift now to help us reach our fundraising goal of $100,000.

You have received this e-newsletter because you are a friend, alum or supporter of U-M Psychiatry.
Are you interested in supporting our work? Please reach out to our Mental Health Development Team: [email protected]