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Five residents awarded competitive fellowships through APA


Five second-year Yale Department of Psychiatry residents have been awarded competitive fellowships through the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF). Hana Ali, MD, left; Stefanie Gillson, MD, second from right; and Sofia Noori, MD, MPH, right, were awarded APA/APAF Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Funded Minority Fellowships for the 2019-2020 academic years. They will each receive about $25,000 in funding to be used toward a project and related expenses. Jessica Chaffkin, MD, center, and Justin Ayankola, MD, second from left, have been awarded the APA/APAF Leadership Fellowship and APA/APAF Diversity Leadership Fellowship, respectively, for the 2019-2021 academic years. The fellowships will pay for travel and hotel expenses for the 2019 and 2020 September Components Meetings and All Fellows' Orientation as well as the 2019 and 2020 Annual Meetings. As fellows, Chaffkin and Ayankola will participate on the APA Council. Read more

100 Years of Women, Yale Department of Psychiatry: Meet Amber Childs, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry


In conjunction with the Yale Department of Psychiatry's year-long celebration of 100 years of women at Yale School of Medicine, the department is featuring a female faculty, staff, or trainee each month in this newsletter. Featured this month is Amber Childs, PhD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry.

Q: Tell us about your journey in the department.

A: "I came to the department in late 2016 after making a career start at Yale Health where I was a staff psychologist in the Mental Health and Counseling (MHC) Department. A child and adolescent psychologist at heart, I was delighted when Dwain Fehon, PsyD, Chief Psychologist at Yale New Haven Hospital, recognized in me a natural fit between me and an open faculty psychologist position at the YNHH SRC Adolescent IOP. My work within the IOP is characterized by clinical program and psychotherapy curriculum development and implementation as well as implementation of comprehensive measurement-based care within the New Haven and Branford adolescent programs. Additionally, I engage in provision of clinical services for teenagers and their families served within the IOP and provide psychological assessment consultations for IOP and YPH psychiatric inpatients. Finally, I am a member of the training faculty for psychology pre-doctoral fellows and have the enriching experience of providing clinical supervision, training, and mentorship for pre-doctoral learners and doctoral practicum students."

Q: What is/has been challenging as a woman in your journey in the department?

A: "Speaking up. This challenge is likely located at the intersection of my being an early-career, young, African American woman professional. Within this context, regardless of the professional spaces I occupy, I am confronted with my own internalized doubts about whether I am so positioned because of earnest belief in my value, skill, and talent. I question whether I have earned my place and indeed, whether I belong. This concerned questioning has, at times, delayed my willingness and the timeline with which I may voice concerns about the challenges associated with my role. The challenges are plenty, particularly as they relate to navigating the space between being a University faculty simultaneously operating clinically within the hospital system. Functioning effectively and achieving my goals depends on my ability to speak up and seek out support. I have been able to relate these concerns to trusted colleagues who have supported and encouraged my voice."

Q: What has your personal life been like and how have you achieved a work-life balance during your career?

A: "My husband and I live in West Hartford, where we're lucky to have excellent community. At the start of my Yale career, this moderate physical distance coupled with my part-time schedule helped me maintain the boundaries that allowed for me to be both a part of and apart from the University. When home, I was able to truly be home and made a practice of not responding to non-urgent e-mails or patient-related material on off hours. Then, we welcomed our first child, a daughter, in January 2018. Holding space for the precious new roles of mothering and parenting after resuming my professional responsibilities became (and remains) a constant exercise in boundary keeping. Achieving balance though, both in action and perspective, is another task entirely. For me, moving toward balance has begun with letting go of tracking deficits in immaculate personal professional standards. Indeed, several days may pass without having an opportunity to relax into any one line of cognitive inquiry at work and as a matter of routine, I leave the office with more on my "to-do" list than when I arrived. Cultivating patience with myself as well as appreciating and recognizing what I am accomplishing across the many roles in which I operate has been relieving and revitalizing. Thoughtful advice and validation from other women colleagues in the psychology section has also supported my ability to navigate the push and pull of the personal and professional."

Q: What are some lessons learned?

A: "Transition and change is a constant in life, love, and work. When expected and desired (and especially when it is not), transition is hard. Change is hard. But, it is constant. I've learned to embrace, rather than hold on for dear life, the transitions associated with work as a function of life and vice versa. After all, growth is hard to come by without some form of change."

Q: What advice would you give to women now?

A: "First, asking for help, support, or signaling being overwhelmed is a marker of a strong and powerful professional. Finding a professional tribe, a group of individuals who can and are willing to see, understand, and support you, is critical. Secondly, and this can be difficult (even I, lamented to a friend that I was delayed in preparing this very piece out of concern that I may not have anything relatable/valuable to offer), know that your voices, perspectives, experiences, and contributions are valuable and important. Other young women professionals like me are wanting and waiting to hear them."

Yale Department of Psychiatry announces 2019 Match Class

The Yale Department of Psychiatry will welcome 20 new first-year, second-year and Solnit program residents to the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program. "On behalf of the Associate Program Directors and the Education Administrative Staff, I am delighted to announce our new PGY-1, new PGY-2, and new Solnit residents who matched with us (March 15)," said Robert M. Rohrbaugh, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Residency Program Director. "This is a highly talented and diverse group with 50 percent of our interns having advanced degrees, a third of the group being elected to AOA, and another third to the Gold Humanism Honor Society." Read more  

Psychology internship matches new fellows

The Yale Department of Psychiatry's Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology selected its incoming class of 16 fellows during a national match Feb. 22. The fellows, selected from among a large pool of qualfied applicants, will spend a year training at Yale from July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. "We had a highly talented group of applicants," said Carlos M. Grilo, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology and the department's Director of Psychology Training. "Our program is among the most competitive nationally as demonstrated by the match results." Read more  

Yale researchers study prescribing rates of fentanyl, opioids, other pain medications

Greg Rhee, PhD, MSW, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, is among the researchers from Yale School of Medicine who studied prescribing trends in the United States of fentanyl, opioids, and other pain medications in outpatient and emergency department visits from 2006 to 2015. The U.S. faces an epidemic of opioid-related deaths, increasingly associated with fentanyl use. The researchers' objective was to characterize rates of fentanyl, general opioid, and non-opioid pain medication prescription at a national level. The results were published in Preventive Medicine. Read more  

Holmes to receive 2019 A.E. Bennett Award for Clinical/Translational Research

Avram Holmes, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology and of Psychiatry, has been chosen to receive the Society of Biological Psychiatry's 2019 A.E. Bennett Award for Clinical/Translational Research. The award recognizes superb international research in biological psychiatry by young investigators. It will be presented May 17 during the Society's 74th annual scientific convention and meeting in Chicago. The prize is awarded based on a body of work. Research in Holmes' lab is focused on discovering the fundamental organization of large-scale human brain networks. Read more  

Wilkinson honored with New Investigator Award from ISCTM

Samuel Wilkinson, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Assistant Director of the Yale Depression Research Program, has been awarded a New Investigator Award from the International Society of CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM). The award was presented at the organization's conference held Feb. 19-21 in Washington, D.C., where Wilkinson presented research on the impact of midazolam vs. saline on the effect size estimates in controlled trials of ketamine as a rapid-acting antidepressant. The research was published in Neuropsychopharmacology. Read more 

Sankar receives competitive travel award to attend Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion

Anjali Sankar, PhD, Postdoctoral Associate in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has received a competitive travel award to attend the 25th annual Wisconsin Symposium on Emotion. Sankar's research is focused on mood disorders, with an emphasis on identifying reliable neurobiological targets for early diagnosis, for more effective treatment strategies, and for preventing negative outcomes, especially suicide. At Yale she is investigating the brain, behavior, and symptom effects of a psychobehavioral intervention in youth with bipolar disorders. Read more  

Akiki, Holmes selected for ADAA career development leadership program

Two postdoctoral researchers in the department will participate in the Anxiety and Depression Association of America's Alies Muskin Career Development Leadership Program. Teddy J. Akiki, MD, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the National Center for PTSD Clinical Neurosciences Division, and Samantha Holmes, PhD, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Division of Prevention and Community Research, will participate in the program, which offers intensive mentoring and professional development opportunities. Read more  

Blumberg edits journal's special issue on suicide-related research

Rates of suicide worldwide are increasing. According to the World Health Organization, someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds, accounting for approximately 800,000 deaths each year. In a special issue of the Journal of Affective Disorders (JAD), edited by Hilary Blumberg, MD, John and Hope Furth Professor of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry, and in the Child Study Center and of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, an international group of scientists has shared their research on the biological, psychological, and social reasons why people die by suicide. Read more  

Psychiatry faculty, trainees collaborate on 'Perioperative Psychiatry - A Guide to Behavioral Healthcare for the Surgical Patient'

Paula Zimbrean, MD, FAPA, FACLP, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, is the first editor of the new book, "Perioperative Psychiatry - A Guide to Behavioral Healthcare for the Surgical Patient," which provides a comprehensive review of mental health topics for pre- and postsurgical patients. Several current and former faculty and trainees contributed writing. The book is the result of close collaboration between the department's Psychological Medicine section and various surgical services at Yale New Haven Hospital to provide comprehensive mental health assistance to surgical patients. Read more  

Qayyum: My patient was suicidal, and his stepfather wouldn't remove the family gun collection

Zheala Qayyum, MBBS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, chronicles her attempts to convince the stepfather of a suicidal patient to remove his collection of guns from his home in a piece published in Scientific American. "I am a soldier and I consider myself a proponent of the Second Amendment. But I believe first in taking all possible measures to protect fragile children. That demands compromise in what too often is an intransigent debate with no middle ground," she wrote. "Removing firearms from a home for four to six weeks during the high-risk period following a hospitalization is not tantamount to stripping someone of their right to bear arms." Read more  

Yale researchers awarded $40 million to study opioid addiction treatments

Yale School of Medicine faculty have been awarded $40 million in grants to study medication treatment for veterans with opioid addiction. Ismene Petrakis, MD, left, Professor of Psychiatry, and Sandra Springer, MD, right, Associate Professor of Medicine (AIDS) and Associate Clinical Professor of Nursing, are co-principal investigators leading the research, which is supported by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Study. Their study will compare the effectiveness of two forms of buprenorphine, an FDA-approved medication to treat opioid-use disorder. Read more  

MOMS Partnership® and Vermont Reach Up to launch VT MOMS

MOMS Partnership┬« now has an official partnership with Vermont Reach Up - the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program - to launch a Vermont MOMS program in early 2020. Reach Up joins families on their journey to overcome obstacles, explore opportunities, improve their finances and reach their goals, sharing in MOMS' commitment to partnering with the women served by the organization. The Director of MOMS is Megan Smith, DrPH, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center. Read more  

Yale psychiatrists, pioneers of ketamine research, shed light on new depression drug

On March 5, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first truly new medication for major depression in decades. The drug is a nasal spray called esketamine, derived from ketamine - an anesthetic that has made waves for its surprising antidepressant effect. "This is a game changer," said John H. Krystal, MD, left, Chair of Psychiatry and a pioneer of ketamine research. Krystal and Gerard Sanacora, MD, PhD, right, George D. and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry, spoke about ketamine in a recent Yale Medicine report. Read more  

How to get your life back on course after a bipolar relapse

Hilary Blumberg, MD, John and Hope Furth Professor of Psychiatric Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry, and in the Child Study Center and of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, addresses the impact of stress on the brain in an article published on that offers advice on recovering from a bipolar relapse. Blumberg notes that during a mood shift, people may behave in a way that pushes away those needed for support. Research shows that educating those close to you about bipolar disorder can help. Read more 

Having a quarter-life crisis? How to make life better for future you

"You've got your whole life ahead of you," young adults are often told - but that's of little comfort to the many 20- and 30-somethings who face "adulting" challenges like career uncertainty, overwhelming student loan debt, and relationship difficulties. The uncertainties of this time of life leave many feeling depressed, insecure, and rudderless. The good news is that you're not alone - there's a name for this experience: the quarter-life crisis. Jacob Tebes, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology), in the Child Study Center and of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) comments in this Yale Medicine report. Read more  

Yonkers comments on FDA approval of first postpartum depression drug

Kimberly Yonkers, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, spoke to several media outlets in late-March after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Zulresso, the first drug specifically to treat postpartum depression. The drug can only be administered by a healthcare provider at a medical facility, and is given as an IV infusion. Among the news outlets that interviewed Yonkers was WBUR, Boston's NPR News Station, which included her audio comments on its On Point show. Listen 

Nicotine addiction from vaping is a bigger problem than teens realize

Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, and Nii Addy, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, offer perspective in a Yale Medicine article about vaping that discusses the health risks associated with nicotine. Data show that young people are vaping in record numbers despite the onslaught of reports and articles highlighting its dangers and marketing tactics seemingly aimed to hook teens and young adults. Read more  

The challenge of going off psychiatric drugs

Swapnil Gupta, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, is quoted in a New Yorker story about the challenges of weaning patients off their medications. In the story, Gupta explains how she and colleagues have embarked on an informal "de-prescribing" initiative for patients. The effort is not without challenges, she said. Telling a patient that they can stop taking their medication produces "a loss of identity" and results in "a different way of living. Suddenly, everything that you are doing is yours - and not necessarily your medication." Read more 

In Memoriam

Jeremy Richman, PhD

Jeremy Richman, PhD, Lecturer in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, died March 25, 2019. Dr. Richman's life was irrevocably altered by the murder of his daughter, Avielle, in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. A neuroscientist, he and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, MS, created the Avielle Foundation to prevent violence and build compassion through neuroscience research, community engagement, and education. For their work, Dr. Richman and Ms. Hensel were awarded the department's Mental Health Research Advocacy Award in 2016.

Neuroscience 2019: Justice and Recovery

Saturday, April 27, 2019; 8:30 am-1:00 pm

2019 Honoree: Judge Steven Leifman

Judge Steven Leifman is an Associate Administrative Judge for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in Miami-Dade County, and Chair of the Board of the South Florida Behavioral Health Network. He has been at the forefront of a national movement to decriminalize mental illness, and in 2000 started a program called the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Criminal Mental Health Project which puts defendants with mental illness into community-based treatment. He has worked with law enforcement on programs to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illness and how and where to take people in crisis rather than arresting them. These programs have diverted tens of thousands of people from prison and reduced recidivism.

The conference is free and open to the public.

Harkness Auditorium, Yale School of Medicine, 333 Cedar St.

Learn more and register  

Medical Education Day at Yale

Thursday, May 16, 2019; 12:00-6:30 pm

Keynote Address: Holly J. Humphrey, MD, MACP.

Dr. Humphrey is president of the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. She is a national leader in medical education and serves on the Board of Directors for the Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine.

Yale faculty, alumni, fellows, residents, students, and staff are welcome to attend. This conference is open to everyone from Yale School of Medicine.

The Anlyan Center, 300 Cedar St.

Learn more  


New residents celebrate on Match Day


Match Day 2019 on March 15 saw 18 medical students match into the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program. In keeping with tradition at their medical schools, the new residents gathered with family, friends, fellow students, and faculty to learn where they will spend their next four years of residency training, and to celebrate. Among the new residents who submitted photos from their Match Day Ceremonies were, from top left, Amanda Calhoun, MD, who posed with her father, Joshua Calhoun, Yale College Class of '78. Dr. Calhoun, who is Yale College Class of '11, celebrated with her husband, Christopher Elledge in the photo at top center. Pictured top right is Daniel Tylee, MD, PhD, who will come to Yale from State University of New York Upstate Medical University. At bottom left, Jessica Burris, MD, hugs her Dean, Amy Fleming, during the Match Day Ceremony at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Stephen Azariah Allsop, MD, PhD, bottom center, matched from Harvard Medical School. At bottom right, William Prueitt, MD, and his wife, Ellen Prueitt, celebrate at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Meet the new residents

Psychiatry residents advocate for legislation in Hartford


Lily Balasuriya, MD, MMS, pictured at top, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and Jessica Isom, MD, MPH (holding her 14-month-old daughter, Amara), bottom, a fourth-year resident, testified March 6 at an Education Committee public hearing in Hartford for two bills that are the result of community grassroots efforts to enrich the grade school curricula in Connecticut. Other residents testified at another hearing in support of Gov. Ned Lamont's budget proposal which allocates funding for medication-assisted treatment in state correctional facilities. Yale Psychiatry residents are taught skills necessary for legislative and community advocacy during their didactic experiences within the Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum Advocacy Track. Read more

Sernyak speaks at National Bike Summit in Virginia


Michael J. Sernyak, MD, right, Professor of Psychiatry and CEO of the Connecticut Mental Health Center, spoke at the 20th annual National Bike Summit hosted by the League of American Bicyclists in Crystal City, Va, March 9-12. Sernyak co-presented with John Martin, second from right, founder of the Bradley Street Bicycle Co-op in New Haven. Their talk, "CMHC Cycles: Bikes, Mental Health, & Community Partnership," focused on Connecticut Mental Health Center's ongoing collaboration with the Co-op to provide free bikes, helmets, and locks for clients in recovery from serious mental illness and/or substance use. Bikes help CMHC clients, all of whom are living in poverty, improve their physical and mental health through exercise and community connectedness. The League of American Bicyclists, a national advocacy organization based in Washington D.C., recently awarded CMHC a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business Award for its work. Pictured with Martin and Sernyak are, from left, Ron Smith; Bill Nesper, Executive Director, League of American Bicyclists; Susan Smith, Executive Director, Bike Walk Connecticut; and Martin Torresquintero, New Haven Department of Parks, Recreation & Trees.

Trainees, faculty accompany Connecticut Psychiatric Society president to APA Federal Advocacy Conference


Trainees and a faculty member accompanied Shaukat Khan, MBBS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and President of the Connecticut Psychiatric Society, to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Federal Advocacy Conference 2019 in Washington, D.C. on March 11-12. The members attended several presentations and training sessions on advocacy and met with legislators to discuss issues pertaining to the care of patients and the medical profession, specifically transparency and accountability, resident physician shortage, and appropriations for physician workforce and crisis/suicide programs. Pictured above are, from left, Tanujha Gandhi, MBBS, Clinical Fellow; Khan; resident Jessica Isom, MD, MPH; resident Falisha Gilman, MD; Katherine "Kiki" Kennedy, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry; and resident Flavia De Souza, MD, MHS. Pictured below with Khan is Saul Levin, MD, Chief Executive Officer and Medical Director of APA.

Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty featured in HBO documentary 'One Nation Under Stress'


Amy Arnsten, PhD, left, Professor of Neuroscience and of Psychology, and Rajita Sinha, PhD, right, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience, and Director of the Yale Stress Center, are featured in the new HBO documentary "One Nation Under Stress," which debuted March 25 and is airing on HBO. The film follows CNN chief medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta as he tries to uncover the root causes of why American life expectancy is falling and is now shorter than all other major developed countries. Gupta traveled across the country to visit medical experts, including Arnsten and Sinha, to learn how stress affects the brain, body, and behavior. Watch the trailer  

D'Souza warns of dangers of pot legalization


One of the state's most vocal opponents of legalizing recreational marijuana has been Deepak Cyril D'Souza, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Schizophrenia Neuropharmacology Research Group at Yale. In testimony before the legislature and in his role as a member of the state medical marijuana program's board of physicians, an advisory group for lawmakers, D'Souza has laid out what he says are the dangers of legalization. His four areas of concern are the impact on young people and the developing brain, the anticipated increase in cannabis use disorder, the negative impact on people with serious mental illness, and increased motor vehicle accidents. Read more in Connecticut Magazine  

Hartford Job Corps Academy students visit with residents


Students from the Hartford Job Corps Academy visited the Yale Department of Psychiatry on March 29 to meet with residents and learn about their many training opportunities in psychiatry. The teenage visitors and trainees enjoyed good conversation over pizza. The department's liaison for the event was Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, far right, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry and Co-President of the Yale Minority Housestaff Organization (MHO). MHO works to create a supportive and fecund environment for minorities through the Yale New Haven Health System. Members include medical residents, fellows, and other health care trainees.

Innovation to Impact welcomes second class of fellows


Innovation to Impact at Yale (i2i), a program that trains substance abuse researchers in entrepreneurship, has selected its second cohort of 30 i2i fellows. The selected innovators arrived at Yale on April 1 for five days of entrepreneurial training. The curriculum includes lectures by entrepreneurs and educators who are skilled in advancing early technologies to the market. After the week-long training session, the program will continue to support i2i fellows with on-going mentorship. The program is funded by The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and is administered by Yale University. It is open to any researcher who is interested in developing substance abuse-related innovations that will be launched in the United States. Pictured above are members of the first class of i2i researchers.

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Friday, April 5, 2019; 10:15-11:30 am

A Transdiagnostic Approach to the Psychological Treatment of Eating Disorders: Theory, Evidence and Future Directions

Zafra Cooper, DPhil, Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, April 12, 2019; 10:15-11:30 am

Dr. Sidney J. Blatt Lecture: Thinking Clinically About Political Discourse: Neural Networks, Narratives, and Emotions

Drew Westen, PhD, Professor, Departments of Psychology and Psychiatry, Emory University

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, April 19, 2019

No Grand Rounds

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