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Human experience track creates impactful training experiences for psychiatry residents


You might have wondered why the Yale Department of Psychiatry's newly minted second-year residents were seen wearing black headbands with colorful shapes around their foreheads during orientation at the beginning of July. The headbands were worn during the introductory session of the human experience track of the residency program's new social justice and health equity curriculum. The session was designed to generate thought and discussion on alterity, implicit bias, intersectionality, and group dynamics. It served as the launching point for several subsequent sessions spread throughout the residents' training. Read more 

Yale-developed test for Alzheimer's disease directly measures synaptic loss

Yale researchers including, from left, Adam Mecca, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Amy Arnsten, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience and of Psychology; and Christopher Van Dyck, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, are among the researchers who have tested a new method for directly measuring synaptic loss in people with Alzheimer's disease. The study was published in JAMA Neurology. Read more and watch a video  

Flores co-authors paper that examines methamphetamine use and HIV risk among youth in Thailand

JosĂ© Flores, MD, PhD, MPH, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, is co-author of a paper published in Social Science & Medicine that examines methamphetamine use and HIV risk among youth in Thailand. The use of methamphetamines and other stimulants has been associated with HIV risk globally. The authors evaluated a community mobilization intervention to prevent methamphetamine use among youth and reduce HIV risk behaviors through structural changes in the community. Read more  

Pain and modifiable risk factors among overweight veterans who seek to lose weight

Robin Masheb, PhD, Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry and Director of the Veterans Initiative for Eating and Weight at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, is the senior author of a paper published in Appetite that examines the relationship between pain and modifiable risk factors among overweight veterans who seek to lose weight. The study sample was 126 veterans who were referred to the VA's behavioral weight management program. Sixty percent reported having moderate or severe pain intensity when they started treatment for weight loss. Read more 

Cerebellar and prefrontal cortical alterations in PTSD: Structural and functional evidence

A Yale Department of Psychiatry and Yale School of Medicine paper published in Chronic Stress shows converging structural and functional evidence for cerebellum abnormalities in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While prefrontal cortex alternational are relatively well established in PTSD, the cerebellum has not generally been considered a key region in PTSD. Several Yale Department of Psychiatry and Yale School of Medicine faculty contributed to the study. Sophie Holmes, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, was the first author. Read more  

Two experts, one goal: Collaborative deprescribing in psychiatry

Rebecca Miller, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Anthony Pavlo, PhD, Associate Research Scientist in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, are the authors of a paper published in Current Psychiatry Reviews that outlines the use of shared decision making, peer support, and relapse prevention strategies as key elements of successful deprescribing in people with psychiatric disorders who are interested in decreasing or stopping psychiatric medications. Read more 

Psychodynamics of suicide in lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender youth

Former resident Emeric Bojarski, MD, and Zheala Qayyum, MBBS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, wrote a paper published in the Journal of Infant, Child, and Adolescent Psychotherapy that examines the psychodynamics of suicide in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, and looks at practical treatment methods. The authors wrote about the common phenomenon of ambivalent repression of the sexual self in adolescents associated with intertwined themes frequently expressed in suicidal lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and queer patients. Read more  

Gandhi begins role as Resident-Fellow Member Trustee on APA Board of Trustees

Tanuja Gandhi, MBBS, Child Psychiatry Fellow and Forensic Psychiatrist, will serve on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees as the Resident-Fellow Member Trustee (RFMT). In this role, she will assist the board in prioritizing trainee concerns and help provide trainee perspectives on issues of importance to the membership and the organization. She will be a strong voice representing the interests of residents and fellows on the Board of Trustees, the governing body of the APA. Read more  

Rutland, Carrasco, Ng elected to co-chair Yale Resident Fellow Senate Councils

From left, Will Rutland, MD; Danilo Been Carrasco, MD; and Stephanie Ng, MD, have been elected Yale Resident Fellow Senate Council Co-Chairmen for the 2018-19 academic year. Rutland, a second-year resident, will co-chair the Senate's Advocacy Council. Carrasco, an Addiction Psychiatry Fellow, will be co-chair of the Diversity Council. The Quality Improvement/Safety Council will be co-chaired by Ng, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow. Read more 

Yale Psychiatry Residents' Association elects new officers

The Yale Psychiatry Residents' Association (PRA) has elected new officers and activity representatives for 2018-2019. Jessica Chaffkin, MD, and Ben Yu, MD, are co-presidents of the association, which serves as a liaison between residents and faculty, and helps to cultivate an educational and fun working environment for trainees. Nearly two dozen other residents were elected or appointed to leadership posts within the organization, which has several standing committees. Read more 

Ali, Ayankola new leaders of Yale Solomon Carter Fuller Association

Hana Ali, MD, and Olusola Justin Ayankola, MD, second-year residents in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, have taken over leadership of the Yale Solomon Carter Fuller Association (YSCFA), a psychiatry department resident interest group. YSCFA supports residents of African-American or African descent to formally help with recruitment of black residents and to increase community outreach and education initiatives in the New Haven area. Read more 

Yuen, Radhakrishnan selected to receive ACNP travel awards

Eunice Yuen, MD, PhD, a member of the Albert J. Solnit Integrated Training Program at Yale, and Rajiv Radhakrishnan, MD, Instructor in Psychiatry, have been selected as travel awardees for the 2018 annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). The meeting will be held Dec. 9-13, 2018 in Hollywood, Fla. Travel award recipients receive free meeting registration, lodging, airfare, and stipends. They are invited to attend a reception with ACNP leadership and must submit a poster to present at the meeting. Read more  

Pattabiraman selected for NIMH Outstanding Resident Award

Kartik Pattabiraman, MD, PhD, a member of the Albert J. Solnit Integrated Training Program at Yale, has been recognized with a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outstanding Resident Award. The award program was introduced to the psychiatry residency training community over 30 years ago to recognize residents with outstanding research and academic potential. Psychiatry residency directors nominate one PGY-2 resident in their program. The nominee completes an application, including a description of their research. Read more  

Yarnell-Mac Grory named to University of Georgia's '40 Under 40' roster

Stephanie Yarnell-Mac Grory, MD, PhD, a former resident and fellow in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been named to the University of Georgia Alumni Association's "40 Under 40" list. The program features 40 young alumni under the age of 40 who are leaders in their industries and communities, and who have made an impact in their professional and philanthropic endeavors. Yarnell-Mac Grory was nominated for the award by her peers. Her career aspirations include working at the interface of law and addictions. Read more  

Haeny, Woerner honored with travel awards

Angela Haeny, PhD, left, and Jacqueline Woerner, PhD, right, postdoctoral fellows in the Division of Prevention and Community Research at The Consultation Center, were recognized with travel awards for their research work. Haeny was honored by the College on Problems of Drug Dependence. Woerner was recognized by the Society for Prevention Research. Haeny was also a finalist for the Enoch Gordis Research Recognition Award from the Research Society on Alcoholism. Read more 

Goldenberg: Rising suicide rate reflects a troubled society

Matthew Goldenberg, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Section Chief of Psychiatric Emergency Services at Yale New Haven Hospital, writes in The Hartford Courant that society's response to the suicide epidemic needs to be more broad than just psychiatric treatment. "The epidemic of suicide should rightly cause the mental health community to reflect on what we can do better," he wrote. "But our social response must be broader, because the mental health of a society transcends psychiatric illness and treatment." Read more  

Chaffkin: Was this your first one? Lessons in empathy and mourning

Jessica Chaffkin, MD, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, writes in Current Psychiatry about the evolution of her understanding of death and mourning in medicine. "Was this your first one? You might be asked this question in several circumstances. Was this your first 5K run? Was this your first time taking the MCAT? For me, I was asked if this was the first time a patient had died while in my care as a resident," she wrote. "The implication of this question was that these situations would become easier and less emotional over time." Read more 

Doc-to-doc: Ketamine and its future in mood disorders

Gerard Sanacora, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, sat with Dr. Perry Wilson and MedPage Today for a wide-ranging videotaped interview about the use of the anesthetic ketamine to treat mood disorders. Sanacora acknowledged that ketamine does produce rapid antidepressant effects in some patients, but that more study is needed. "I feel very comfortable at this point for people that have failed multiple standard antidepressants, that this is something that we could offer under the right circumstances," he said. Read more and watch the interview  

Opioid epidemic responses overlook gender

In a recent commentary in The Lancet, Carolyn Mazure, PhD, Norma Weinberg Spungen and Joan Lebson Bildner Professor in Women's Health Research and Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology, calls for researchers, clinicians, and policymakers to account for the different ways in which women encounter opioid addiction and treatment. "Women and men experience different paths to addiction and possess different treatment needs," said Mazure, Director of Women's Health Research at Yale. "It is imperative that we understand these differences if we are to help people and save lives." Read more 

Latino Behavoral Health System: Cultural sensitivity key to delivering effective psychiatric care

The Latino Behavioral Health System (LBHS), anchored in the New Haven area by the Hispanic Clinic at the Connecticut Mental Health Center, has built a comprehensive system of care that integrates components of behavioral health and primary care for the Latino population in Connecticut. Esperanza Diaz, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, spoke about the program during the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in May. Clinical Psychiatry News attended and reported on the presentation. Read more  

Educators worry students don't know vaping health risks

Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and co-leader of the Yale Tobacco Center for Regulatory Science, spoke to PBS News Hour for a report about the use of electronic cigarettes among teenagers. PBS sent a reporter to Jonathan Law High School in Milford, where administrators have instituted policies to curb the use of e-cigarettes and educate students and staff about the potential serious health risks associated with vaping. Krishan-Sarin is working with other researchers at Yale to quantify the risks associated with e-cigarettes. Read more  

Poor and minority women face widening barriers to depression treatment

Megan Smith, DrPH, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center, was featured in a Connecticut Health Investigative Team story and podcast about depression in poor and minority women and barriers to care. Smith is Director of Mental health Outreach for MotherS (MOMS) Partnership®, a program that has successfully reduced depressive symptoms among over-burdened, under-resourced pregnant women, moms, and other adult female caregivers in a family. Read the story and listen to the podcast  

Rejected by A.A.: How the 12 Step program and its decades-old philosophy are exacerbating the opioid crisis

Bachaar Arnaout, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, was interviewed by The New Republic for a story about how 12 Step programs like the one used by A.A. may not be the best method of treatment for people with opioid addiction. "One wonders whether it would actually be safer to continue using drugs rather than attending programs that do not lower the risk of relapse, but result in lowered tolerance, and thereby an increased risk of overdose," said Arnaout, an addiction psychiatrist who has written about treatment methods for opioid use in other publications. Read more 

Wasser featured in Duke podcast series on intersection of psychiatry and the law

Tobias Wasser, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and a forensic psychiatrist, was interviewed for two audio podcasts produced by Duke University that focus on the intersection of psychiatry and the law. Wasser, Chief Medical Officer of Whiting Forensic Hospital in Middletown, was interviewed for the podcasts "Duty to Protect" and "Confidentiality and Privilege." They are available to listen for free by logging in to iTunes. Wasser is a former psychiatry resident and fellow at Yale School of Medicine. He is Associate Program Director of the Yale Fellowship in Public Psychiatry. Listen here  

The Perch literary journal now accepting submissions

The Perch, a journal of literature, arts, and music edited by the Yale Program for Recovery & Community Health, is now accepting submissions for its next issue. The editors conceptualize a "perch" as a vantage point from which to gain new perspectives on mental health in its many dimensions, both personal and social. The journal welcomes contributors from the United States and around the world, including those with a broad artistic interest in mental health. The Perch accepts poetry, fiction, non-fiction, visual art, and music. Read more 

Meet the new attending physicians at Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital


Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital and the Yale Department of Psychiatry welcomed seven attending physicians in July. They are, from left, Brandon Kitay, MD, PhD; Sean Rumschik, MD; Aarti Gupta, MD; Kristin Budde, MD, MPH; Yun Feng, MD; Nataly Sumarriva, MD; and Anahita Bassir Nia, MD. Kitay is working in interventional psychiatry and as a researcher. Rumschik and Budde are attending physicians in Psychiatric Emergency Services. Gupta is an attending physician in the General Adult Inpatient Service. Feng is working in the Mood Disorders Inpatient Service as an attending physician. Sumarriva is an attending physician in the Intensive Outpatient and Washington Square units and Bassir Nia is working in the Adult Intensive Outpatient Unit.

Resident Showcase: Advocacy in Action


The July 20 Resident Grand Rounds featured a showcase of resident advocacy initiatives, during which seven current residents and a recent graduate shared narrative overviews of their engagement in advocacy work through a moderated panel presentation. Projects included the use of op-eds to inform public discourse, the development of a street psychiatry elective, collaboration with Black Churches to address the Opioid Crisis in Black communities, re-implementation of ECT in the public hospital system of Jamaica, and passing important legislation to guarantee access to Narcan in under-resourced municipalities across Connecticut. Participating in the discussion were, from left, Falisha Gilman, PGY-3 (presenter); Jessica Isom, PGY-4 (coordinator and Medical Education Chief); Flavia DeSouza, PGY-3 (presenter); Adrianna Hitchins, PGY-4 (coordinator and Medical Education Chief); Ariel Sloan, PGY-3, (presenter); Lily Balasuriya, PGY-3 (presenter); Emma Lo, PGY-4 (presenter); Will Rutland, PGY-2 (presenter); Kristin Budde, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (presenter); Celeste Lipkes, PGY-2 (presenter); and Myra Mathis, PGY-4 (coordinator and Medical Education Chief). Watch a video of the Resident Grand Rounds 

PGY-1 residents mark end of first year with off-campus retreat


Members of the department's PGY-1 residency class enjoyed an end-of-year retreat June 23 and 24 at Guest House Retreat Center in Chester, CT. Fifteen of the 20 residents in the class attended the overnight retreat. They engaged in myriad activites during their stay, including small and large group reflections on highlights and challenges of their intern year, and they set goals and made plans for the years to come. There was also time to hike, swim, listen to music, and play board games in a relaxed setting that afforded ample time for the trainees to bond.

Sobowale facilitates community-based participatory research workshop in Mongolia


Kunmi Sobowale, MD, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, facilitated a three-day workshop on community-based participatory research in Mongolia in June. The workshop was held in the Mongolian capital of Ulanbaatar. Sobowale led the workshop with Dr. Victoria Ngo of Rand Corporation. They collaborated with the Mongolian National University of Medical Science and the Mongolian University of Science and Technology. Read more 

Bridgeport Hospital's REACH Outpatient Psychiatry Program receives $50,000 donation


Charles Morgan, MD, Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Bridgeport Hospital, recently accepted a $50,000 donation from Donna Twist, PhD, left, Vice President of Development for the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation, and Heather Kreitler, center, President of Friends of Pediatrics, on behalf of Bridgeport Hospital's REACH Outpatient Psychiatry Program. The program offers support groups and other interventions for teens who experience low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, social isolation, or mood swings who may be avoiding school or have thoughts of harming themselves. Friends of Pediatrics and a predecessor group, Woman's Staff for Children's Ward at Bridgeport Hospital, have supported the medical and behavioral care of children and adolescents in Greater Bridgeport since 1893. Morgan completed his residency at Yale New Haven Hospital and has a clinical affiliation with Yale Psychiatric Hospital. Read more 

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