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Luming Li, MD, a second-year resident, introduced U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy, D-Conn., when Murphy visited the Yale Department of Psychiatry on February 12 to talk about the bipartisan mental health reform legislation he proposed in the Senate last August. Murphy said the bill is being negotiated in the Senate Health Committee, and he hopes it will be brought to the floor of the Senate for a vote in the spring. Read more 

Yale's depression model outperforms psychiatrists

A Yale study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry concludes a simple questionnaire filled out by depressed patients can help identify whether a particular medication is likely to help them. Researchers included Philip Corlett, PhD, left, assistant professor of psychiatry and senior author, and Adam Chekroud, right, a PhD candidate in the Human Neuroscience Lab at Yale and lead author. They used a mathematical model to predict whether a patient would respond to a particular drug after three months of treatment. Read more 

Yale Psychiatry faculty member, former fellow write about mental health crisis for Europe's Syrian refugees

Andres Barkil-Oteo, MD, left, assistant professor of psychiatry, and Hussam Jefee-Bahloul, MD, former advanced clinical psychiatry fellow, advocate in the journal Lancet Psychiatry for public health planners in Europe and North America to prepare for the inevitable surge of mental health needs by Syrian refugees. Among the many challenges faced by the refugees as they resettle in Europe is the language barrier, the researchers wrote. Read more 

Report: Knowledge of substance abuse can help explain compulsive eating

Researchers say they can apply their knowledge of tobacco, alcohol, and drug addiction to the reasons why some people eat compulsively. The report by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse was written in partnership with the Yale University Schools of Medicine and Public Health. "We are excited to extend our expertise in substance addiction to the behavioral addictions through this report ..." said Samuel A. Ball, PhD, professor of psychiatry and the center's president and CEO. Read more 

Desire for calories, not sweetness, drives sugar cravings, Yale study shows

null The brain's desire for calories, not sweetness, dominates a person's desire for sugar, according to a Yale study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. The senior author of the study, Ivan de Araujo, DPhil, associate professor of psychiatry and of cellular and molecular physiology, said the brain responds to taste and calorie counts in fundamentally different ways, and chooses energy over taste when given the option. Read more 

Yale-led study reveals early, aggressive psychosis treatment justifies cost

The additional cost of intensive treatment for people who have just experienced their first psychotic episode is justified by the significant improvement the treatment produces in quality of life, according to a Yale-led study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin. Robert Rosenheck, MD, professor of psychiatry and of health policy, and senior associate in Health Services Research at the VA New England Mental Illness, Research, Education and Clinical Center, was lead author of the study. Read more 

Yale study says food ads significantly influence eating behavior

Hedy Kober, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab, co-authored a study that reveals visual food cues in the form of TV advertising have great impact on eating and eventual weight gain. The study, published online in the journal Obesity Reviews, concluded exposure to food ads increased weight gain in children and adults, and nondieters and dieters. Read more  

Alcohol in e-cigarettes can affect motor skills, Yale study shows

A Yale study has revealed that some commercially available e-cigarettes contain enough alcohol to impact motor skills. Researchers tested subjects who used two commercially available e-cigarettes with liquids containing high amounts of alcohol. Those that used the e-cigarettes with the high alcohol level performed more poorly on psychomotor tests. Mehmet Sofuoglu, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry, was senior author of the study, which was published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Read more  

Yale study shows improved sleep can help addicts recover

The prescription stimulant modafinil can reduce former cocaine addicts' chances of relapsing likely because of the drug's ability to improve addicts' sleep, according to a Yale study. Peter Thomas Morgan, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and associate director of the Cocaine Research Clinic, was co-author of the study, which looked at 57 cocaine-dependent people who were enrolled in an inpatient program. Their progress was then tracked for six weeks in an outpatient setting. Read more 

Mayes named new chair of Child Study Center

Linda C. Mayes, MD, has been appointed chair of the Yale Child Study Center at Yale School of Medicine and chief of the Department of Child Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Mayes is the Arnold Gesell Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology in the Child Study Center, and also serves as special advisor to the Dean of the School of Medicine. She joined the Child Study Center faculty in 1985. Read more 

Krystal addresses recommendation that all adults be screened for depression

John Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Neuroscience, and Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry, spoke in a TV interview about new recommendations by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force that all adults be screened by their doctors for depression. The recommendations also call for women who are pregnant or who have recently given birth to be screened. Krystal said women are twice as likely than men to be depressed. View the video 

Yale, state partners to offer integrated system of care for addicted offenders

A new grant-funded program led by Sherry McKee, PhD, professor of psychiatry and deputy director of Women's Health Research at Yale, will help 300 prison inmates successfully transition back to their communities and families in Greater New Haven. The program is called "Living Free," and will provide services and support to substance-using women and men with the goal of reducing recidivism for illegal behavior. Read more  

Yale Psychiatry resident launches program to assist homeless veterans at VA

Adam Mecca, MD, PhD, a fourth-year resident, has started a screening program at the West Haven campus of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System to connect homeless veterans with housing and clinical services to assist with their cognitive and functional impairments. The program screens between 800 and 1,000 veterans who seek help from the homeless service at the VA every year. Many have either lost their home, or are in imminent danger of doing so. Read more 

Wasser presents Yale quality improvement plan to state providers

Tobias Wasser, MD, a Yale public psychiatry fellow who completed his psychiatry residency in 2014, spoke about the Morbidity and Mortality conference style quality improvement program at a meeting of the Western Connecticut Mental Health Network. The model is based on the principles of root cause analysis, where a culture of discussion is fostered instead of placing blame when an adverse incident or near miss occurs in a health care setting. Read more 

Cook: Enduring effects of trauma in Newtown and beyond

Joan Cook, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry, writes in The Health Care Blog that more federal funding must be committed to research how healing will take place in communities like Newtown, Charleston, and San Bernardino where mass shootings have occurred. She writes that most research on medium and long-term healing has come from survivors of natural or man-made disasters, but that not enough is known about the effectiveness of treatments in survivors of mass violence. View the article 

Yale Department of Psychiatry Diversity Task Force releases report

The Yale Department of Psychiatry Diversity Task Force has released a report on its one-year charge to characterize the state of diversity within the department, and to recommend how the department can improve its culture of support. The committee made several recommendations that it believes will strengthen the community. "This is by no means the end of the conversation, but the beginning," said Andres Barkil-Oteo, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry, who co-chaired the task force with Ismene Petrakis, MD, professor of psychiatry. View a video presentation of the report  

Resident Interest Groups now featured on department website

The Yale Department of Psychiatry website now features pages with information about Resident Interest Groups. These groups are run by residents with assistance from faculty and fellows. Among the interest groups featured is the Yale Solomon Carter Fuller Association, which is led by Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD, left, a psychiatry fellow, and Marilise Hyacinth, MD, PhD, right, a fourth-year resident. Other interest groups include the Yale Global Mental Health Program and the History, Humanities, and Health Interest Group. Visit the website  

Trauma and Gender Project gives CMHC community opportunity to reflect on practices, values, and ideals

The Trauma and Gender Project (TAG) at the Connecticut Mental Health Center has completed its final report. TAG is a learning collaborative sponsored by the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. It is considered best practice, and helps agencies increase their capacity to work across the five areas of safety, choice, trustworthiness, collaboration, and empowerment. Read more 

Medicine will meet music in program on Tourette Syndrome

The Yale Department of Psychiatry and New Haven Symphony Orchestra will collaborate on a program about Tourette Syndrome (TS) on February 26. The morning-long seminar will feature lectures by leading researchers who will speak about TS. Musicians with TS will perform and discuss how the disorder has impacted and, in some cases, inspired their work. Among the organizers and speakers is Christopher Pittenger, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Yale OCD Research Clinic. Read more  

Yale Psychiatry faculty and residents participate in two hackathons in New Haven

Alex Kwan, PhD, left, assistant professor of psychiatry and neuroscience, and Luming Li, MD, right, a second-year resident, were mentors at one of two recent hackathons in New Haven where participants proposed innovations in healthcare and mental health. Hackathons bring people together from broad backgrounds, such as computer experts, clinicians, business people, and engineers, to devise solutions to problems that face a particular industry. Read more 

CMHC expands healthy food offerings for patients, staff

The Connecticut Mental Health Center has enjoyed the results of a recent effort to serve more healthy food to its patients and staff. A renovated cafeteria has opened with state-of-the-art equipment so food can be made on-site and from scratch, and there is a new program to help patients learn how to shop for, cook, and eat healthy food on a budget. Michael Sernyak, MD, professor of psychiatry and CEO of CMHC, helped plan and execute the improvements. Read more 

Altshul's poetry featured on CT Poet's Corner

Victor Altshul, MD, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, had two poems published in January in the CT Poet's Corner column in the Hartford Courant. Both poems were inspired by Altshul's love of music, and are dedicated to the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Altshul has practiced psychiatry for more than 50 years, and has published two books of poetry. He sings opera and is a marathon runner. Read more 

CMHC video series: 'Recovery is ... Music'

This month's video in the recovery video series at the Connecticut Mental Health Center is "Recovery is ... Music." The video features Shenette, who speaks about her love of music and how music supports wellness in her life. At CMHC, inpatient clients can access iPods and a broad library of music to choose from based on personal preference. The video series was launched by the CMHC Foundation to mark the 50th anniversary of CMHC.  View the video 

In Memoriam

Ralph E. Hoffman, MD

Ralph E. Hoffman, MD, professor of psychiatry, died February 1 at the age of 66. Hoffman was a world-renowned pioneering researcher into the pathophysiology of auditory hallucinations. He also developed an innovative treatment for auditory verbal hallucinations, utilizing repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation treatments. He came to Yale for fellowship training in 1979, and became a faculty member in psychiatry. The Yale Department of Psychiatry awarded him its highest honor for a clinician and educator, the Stephen Fleck Award, in 1992. Read more 

Melvin Heller, MD

Melvin Heller, MD, who completed his psychiatry residency at the Yale School of Medicine, died January 12 at the age of 93. Heller was a pioneer in the field of forensic psychiatry, and in 1957 co-founded Temple University's Unit in Law and Psychiatry. He was a psychiatrist at a maximum security federal prison in Indiana, and was a consultant for the Citizens' Crime Commission of Philadelphia, the Court of Common Pleas, the Children's Aid Society, and the Pennsylvania Prison Society. Read more 

Alumni Spotlight

Rajesh Tampi, MD

Rajesh Tampi, MD, chief of geriatric health at MetroHealth in Cleveland, Ohio, has been elected secretary/treasurer of the Board of Directors of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP). Tampi's term will begin in March at the organization's 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Tampi completed his Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship at Yale, and maintains his appointment as an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Yale. He is also a professor of psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

Conferences, Lectures and Continuing Education

Yale Division of Mental Health and Treatment Outcomes Research: 'Emergency Department Use in a Chronically Homeless Population'

February 24, 2016 - David Moore, MD, PhD, a fourth-year resident, will speak about the use of the emergency department for the chronically homeless population. Moore will identify factors associated with emergency department use among the chronically homeless, and discuss the effects of housing support, case management, and access to ambulatory care among the homeless. Moore completed his medical training at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and matched to the Yale Department of Psychiatry in 2012. Details 

CSPP Clinical Conference: 'The Effect of Patient Suicide on Clinicians'

March 12, 2016 - The Connecticut Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology will sponsor a discussion by Jane Tillman, PhD, Evelyn Stefansson Nef Director of the Erikson Institute for Education and Research at the Austen Riggs Center, and assistant clinical professor at the Yale Child Study Center, about the short- and long-term effects of patient suicide on clinicians. Among the educational objectives will be to discuss the response of colleagues to a clinician who has lost a patient to suicide. Details and registration 

Photo Album

February 12, 2016 - Colleagues, friends, and politicians honored Laurie Harkness, MSW, PhD, at a retirement party at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System's Errera Community Care Center (ECCC) in West Haven. Harkness is founder and director of ECCC, a community-based mental health and substance abuse recovery center that has become a national model for addressing the medical, mental health, and psychosocial issues that so many veterans struggle with. The ECCC care model emphasizes evidenced-based clinical programs provided in conjunction with a comprehensive network of community partnerships. Honoring Harkness at the party are, photo at left, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., with Harkness; top right: U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.; bottom right: CT. Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-14th District, with Harkness.

Upcoming Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Friday, February 19, 2016; 10:15-11:30 am

Ageism and Psychosocial Factors that Influence Elders

Becca Levy, PhD, Associate Professor, Epidemiology and Psychology, Yale School of Medicine

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Details / Download to your calendar 

Friday, February 26, 2016; 10:15-11:30 am

Assignment of Representative Payees, a Money Management Approach to Improve Self-Care

Marc Rosen, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, March 4, 2016; 10:15-11:30 am

Thalamic Inhibition as a Mechanism for Attentional Allocation?

Michael Halassa, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor Psychiatry, Neuroscience and Physiology, New York University School of Medicine

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Details / Download to your calendar 

Friday, March 11, 2016; 10:15-11:30 am

Mental Health Care Responses to the Nepal Earthquakes: From Humanitarian Emergencies to Sustainable Mental Health Systems

Brandon Kohrt, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Assistant Research Professor, Global Health, Duke University School of Medicine

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Details / Download to your calendar 

Grand Rounds Archive

The department's website includes videos of past Grand Rounds presentations. Talks are added as they are digitized.

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