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Dr. Andrew Solomon, panelists address the film 'Far From the Tree'


Andrew Solomon, PhD, second from left, acclaimed author and the Yale Department of Psychiatry's special advisor on LGBTQ mental health, speaks during a panel discussion that followed a screening of the film 'Far From the Tree' at the November 30 Grand Rounds. The film was based on the bestselling book of the same name written by Solomon. It traces the joys, challenges, tragedies, and triumphs of families raising children society deems "abnormal." Also attending and speaking was Rachel Dretzin, center, the film's director. They were joined on the panel by John Krystal, MD, left, Chair, Yale Department of Psychiatry; Christy Olezeski, PhD, second from right, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Yale Pediatric Gender Program; and James McPartland, PhD, right, Associate Professor in the Child Study Center and of Psychology. View a video of the panel discussion  

100 Years of Women, Yale Department of Psychiatry: Meet Joy Kaufman, PhD, Associate Professor of 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 Joy Kaufman, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry.

Q: Tell us about your journey in the department.

A: "I came to Yale about 25 years ago as a Doctoral Psychology Fellow with a primary placement at The Consultation Center and a secondary placement at West Haven Mental Health Center. The Consultation Center (TCC) is a unique setting where faculty and professional staff engage in services, training, and research with individuals, organizations, and governmental organizations. Our mission is to promote health and wellness, prevent mental health and substance abuse problems, and enhance equity and social justice. From the day I interviewed at TCC, it felt like the right place for me and thank goodness the faculty agreed. I stayed at TCC for my postdoctoral training working with Jack Tebes and then was offered an opportunity to join the faculty. I have decided to spend my career at TCC because I am surrounded by passionate, smart, engaged, and supportive colleagues who share a commitment to social justice and engaging in work that promotes the capacities of communities. I feel very fortunate that I found a professional home where I have the opportunity to engage in work that is not only interesting, but also has multiple levels of impact from individuals to service delivery systems to state and federal policy."

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

A: "While the world has improved in the past few years, there was a time when being a woman who had a strong opinion or who challenged the status quo was not seen in the most positive light. I was fortunate to have a close colleague who served as a sounding board and helped me to sort out the conflicting messages that I sometimes received. I believe that my determination coupled with a strong desire to engage in work that I thought was making a difference helped me through the more challenging times."

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

A: "I was very fortunate to meet my husband here in New Haven when we were both postdocs and we now have a wonderful son who is a sophomore in college. My husband has always been very supportive of my career and we have equally shared parenting and household responsibilities. Our family was fortunate to find a supportive community of friends through our synagogue who are our de facto local family. We raised our children together and helped each other as needs arose."

"My wonderful colleagues helped as well. Cindy Crusto and I closely collaborated when my son was younger, and she graciously did a lot of out of state travel which made things much easier for me. I also received a lot of support and the most helpful parenting advice from Jack Tebes, some of which I still use to this day - like a required 15-minute-a-week FaceTime call with your college student, pure genius. My work-life balance has gotten a lot easier now that our son is living on his own and my parents do not yet require a high level of support. Looking back, while at the time I may have had some regrets about missing one of my son's games or a school event, I believe that I found a balance that worked for my family and for my career most of the time, and that is really all any of us can do."

Q: What are some lessons learned?

A: "Earlier in our careers many of us work on projects where we may not be the leader. While these opportunities are rich in experience and provide needed salary support, it takes work to launch a more independent career. In my experience, the first step is to figure out what your passion is - that aspect of your work that gets you excited - and then lay out a step-by-step plan to increase your skills related to that work, and the time you are able to engage in it. Without engaging in this type of long-term strategic planning one can run the risk of going in directions that, while meeting the institution's needs, may not reflect the type of work that truly excites you."

"I also think it is important that we each reflect on our own experiences and actively work to make it better for those who come behind us. Inequities and microaggressions still exist across every level of our society and our institutions. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to continue to work toward understanding the lived experiences of others, who may be in less powerful positions, and not only support them, but also work to challenge institutional norms that enable these inequalities to continue. "

Q: What advice would you give to women now?

A: "A strength of our Department is that junior faculty now have a mentoring team that each individual has a voice in choosing. Women should seek advice from colleagues both within and outside of their immediate workgroup to identify potential mentors whose life experiences, both work and personal, enable them to fully support the goals of the mentee. In addition to mentors, women faculty should seek a champion, someone from outside their immediate work environment who can not only serve as a sounding board but can also help to further their career through engagement in opportunities and supporting them as they work through the promotion process."

"I think it is equally important to build relationships with colleagues who are at a similar stage in their career as you and with colleagues who are a step or two ahead. Both can provide support and guidance helping to validate your perceptions through sharing their own experiences and perhaps helping you to expand your thinking. These individuals can also help open doors to opportunities that you may not be aware of. Finally, as this year focused on women clearly demonstrates, all women in the Department need to support one another, amplifying each other's ideas in meetings, encouraging colleagues to share their successes, and for those of us who are more reluctant to share our accomplishments, providing encouragement and opportunities that highlight the important work that each of us do."

Yale study: Alcohol dependence and psychiatric disorders share genetic links

Gene variants associated with alcohol dependence are also linked to the risk of psychiatric disorders and other drug use, a massive study of more than 50,000 people published Nov. 26 in the journal Nature Neuroscience has found. "There were genetic links both to other psychiatric disorders, such as depression, and to use of cigarettes and other drugs like cannabis," said co-corresponding author Joel Gelernter, MD, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and of Neuroscience. "As we study larger numbers of people, we expect to be able to determine at least to some extent how much of this correlation, or shared risk, is attributable to alcoholism, and how much may be the consequence of these other disorders." The article was the cover story of the December 2018 issue of Nature Neuroscience. The cover illustration was drawn by Gelernter's daughter, Rebecca Gelernter, a science illustrator and designer whose Near Bird Studios is in New Haven. Read more 

Cannabis withdrawal eased for dependent users, according to study

Deepak Cyril D'Souza, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, was the corresponding author of a study published in Lancet Psychiatry that shows a new drug can help people diagnosed with cannabis use disorder reduce withdrawal symptoms and marijuana use. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study shows marijuana use declined among subjects who were administered the new drug - a fatty acid inhibitor that acts upon endocannabinoid metabolic receptors in the brain - compared to those receiving a placebo. Subjects who took the drug also reported fewer withdrawal symptoms and exhibited better sleep patterns. Read more  

Study shows simple tips can lead to better food choices

A few easily learned tips on eating and food choice can increase the amount of healthy food choices between 5% and 11%, a new Yale study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found. "That is as large an effect as many current obesity treatments - but obtained after a short training procedure," said Hedy Kober, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology and senior author of the study. "Even if you make a single good choice a day, that in the long run can translate into the loss of many pounds." Read more  

Depression, not anxiety, predicts drinking in adolescent girls

A study by Carolyn Sartor, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and colleagues at Stony Brook University and the University of Pittsburgh explored reciprocal associations between depression and alcohol use and anxiety and alcohol use in girls ages 13 to 17. The researchers sought to answer the question do depression and anxiety lead to more alcohol use or does drinking lead to increased depression and anxiety? Researchers examined data from 2,100 female adolescents on their past year depression, anxiety, and alcohol use. The study was published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Read more  

Transfer is not a transition - voices of Jamaican adolescents with HIV and their health care providers

Flavia DeSouza, MD, MHS, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, is the first author of a paper published in AIDS Care that tracked the transition process of HIV-infected adolescents in Jamaica from pediatric to adult care. In Jamaica, most pediatric providers are not equipped nor have the resources to take care of adolescents, so they transfer care at 13 years according to the national cut-off age for pediatric care. The authors concluded that a successful transition process should take into consideration the views and opinions of the young patients. Read more  

Ward, Gordon appointed to transition committees for Lamont administration

Nadia Ward, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Derrick Gordon, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, have been appointed to transition committees for Gov.-elect Ned Lamont's new administration. Ward is serving on the Transition Policy Committee on Education, and Gordon is on the Transition Policy on Human Services. They are among a bipartisan group of leaders from around Connecticut meeting to develop proposed policy platforms for the new administration. Read more  

De Aquino selected to be 2019 Laughlin Fellow of The American College of Psychiatrists

João P. De Aquino, MD, an Addiction Psychiatry Fellow in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been selected to be a 2019 Laughlin Fellow of The American College of Psychiatrists. De Aquino will attend the next Annual Meeting of The College to be held in February 2019 in Honolulu, Hawaii. The College will pay De Aquino's travel and lodging expenses, and conference registration fee. Laughlin Fellows are chosen from an elite pool of applicants deemed likely to make significant contributions to the field of psychiatry. Read more 

Fahed elected to Connecticut State Medical Society post

Mario Fahed, MD, a Fellow in Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, has been elected Interim Associate Councilor for the Resident and Fellow Section of the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS). Fahed will represent the interests of trainees in Connecticut and serve as a voting member at meetings. The council meets throughout the year to review CSMS policy and set legislative priorities, among other governance items. Fahed joined the Yale Department of Psychiatry in July 2018. He is actively involved in medical student and resident education. Read more 

Rutland appointed to Connecticut State Medical Society Opioid Committee

Will Rutland, MD, JD, MPH, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been appointed to serve on the Connecticut State Medical Society's (CSMS) Opioid Committee. The committee is a subgroup of CSMS leadership that collaborates with the American Medical Association and other state medical societies to address legislation and regulations that pertain to the opioid epidemic. Rutland said he hopes to strengthen the presence of both trainees and the populations they serve around opioid policy. Read more  

Diaz to receive Simon Bolivar Award at 2019 APA Annual Meeting

Esperanza Diaz, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Yale Hispanic Clinic and Latino Behavioral Health System, has been selected to receive the American Psychiatric Association's 2019 Simon Bolivar Award. The award honors a prominent advocate for Hispanic people and through an associated lecture sensitizes APA membership to the mental health problems and goals of the Hispanic population. Diaz will present at the APA's 2019 Annual Meeting, which will be held in San Francisco in May. Read more  

Steiner honored by New Haven's Columbus House

Jeanne Steiner, DO, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), was honored Dec. 6 by Columbus House with its John S. Martinez Community Service Award. The annual award is named in honor of the late state representative John S. Martinez who was widely respected for his service to others. Steiner has served on the board of Columbus House, including two years as Chair, since 2013. She has volunteered for various programs at the agency, including serving meals to clients and participating in fund drives. Read more  

Yale research team honored with best performer awards in transcriptomics challenge

A team of Yale researchers has won best performer awards in two of three contests in the "DREAM Single Cell Transcriptomics Challenge." In DREAM Challenges, teams of researchers from around the world propose solutions to biomedical questions in an open science effort. In the Single Cell Transcriptomics Challenge, participants had to reconstruct the location of single cells in the Drosophila embryo using single-cell transcriptomic data. The team included researchers from the lab of Ke Xu, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Read more  

Yu presented with Power Day Resident Award

Benjamin Yu, MD, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, received the 2018 Yale School of Medicine Power Day Resident Award at a ceremony Nov. 30. The award is given to trainees who model the responsible, positive, and beneficial use of power in healthcare relationships and who serve as true role models for the medical student community. Nominations are by students in the third-year medical class. See a photo elsewhere in this newsletter of Yu being presented with the award. Read more / Yale Daily News coverage

Viewpoint: What role should psychiatrists have in responding to the opioid epidemic?

A viewpoint published in JAMA Psychiatry discusses the public health impact of the current opioid epidemic in the United States, the effectiveness of maintenance treatment with buprenorphine and the need to expand its use by psychiatrists. It was written by, from left, Srinivas Muvvala, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Ellen Edens, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; and Ismene Petrakis, MD, Professor of Psychiatry. Read more 

Pollard, Hoge collaborate on clinicians' guide to transitioning clients from coordinated specialty care

A guidance document by Jessica Pollard, PhD, Assistant Professor Psychiatry, and Michael Hoge, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, that provides recommendations to transition patients from Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) to other forms of treatment has been published and is being disseminated by the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD) at the behest of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Read more

APA passes action paper written by Isom, Williams

The American Psychiatric Association on Nov. 4 unanimously passed an action paper titled, "Addressing Racial Discrimination Against Psychiatry Trainees and Psychiatrists" authored by Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and J. Corey Williams, MD, MA, former Yale Psychiatry resident. This landmark resolution was supported by a number of current Yale residents, fellows, and faculty members along with many APA Assembly members. Read more  

Lamotrigine: pharmacology, clinical utility, and new safety concerns

Jeffrey Mufson, MD, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, writes in The American Journal of Psychiatry Residents' Journal about the drug lamotrigine and its use in the management of bipolar disorder. "Lamotrigine is an important pharmacologic option for the management of bipolar disorder, most significantly for its role in the prophylaxis of mood episodes," he writes. "Psychiatrists prescribing lamotrigine must be aware of the idiosyncratic safety concerns associated with the drug and should counsel patients thoroughly before initiation." Read more  

Problem-gambling council supporting Yale study of youth gambling in Connecticut

The Connecticut Council on Problem Gambling is supporting a Yale study by Marc Potenza, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, that will look at problem gambling among the state's youth and other at-risk populations, such as those with mental health issues. Recent and proposed casino development in the Northeast and the likelihood that Connecticut and other states will legalize sports wagering and online betting warrants the study, Diana Goode, the council's executive director, told The New London Day. Read more  

Can we stop suicides? The use of ketamine to treat suicidal patients

Samuel Wilkinson, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Assistant Director of the Yale Depression Research Program, was among the medical experts interviewed for a New York Times report on the use of the drug ketamine to treat suicidal patients. The potential for ketamine to treat people with depression was discovered by Yale researchers in the late 1990s. The Interventional Psychiatry Service at Yale Psychiatric Hospital provides ketamine infusion therapy to patients, representing two decades of clinical and research efforts by Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty. Read more  

National Academies releases 'Harnessing Mobile Devices for Nervous System Disorders: Proceedings of a Workshop'

The National Academies has released the report "Harnessing Mobile Devices for Nervous System Disorders: Proceedings of a Workshop," which summarizes the presentations and discussions from a workshop in June put on by the National Academies' Forum on Neuroscience and Nervous System Disorders. The workshop brought together a diverse group from federal research and regulatory agencies, academia, industry, and foundations, along with advocates presenting the patient point of view to discuss how to ensure that technological advances are translated into something meaningful for individuals and society as a whole. The workshop also addressed key concerns that society will have to grapple with regarding digital technologies, including privacy and data ownership. Read the report 

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Alumni Spotlight

Gold endows white coat ceremony at University of Florida College of Medicine

Mark Gold, MD, who completed his residency in psychiatry at Yale in 1978 and received the Yale Department of Psychiatry's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008, has endowed the White Coat Ceremony at the University of Florida College of Medicine. The ceremony will now be known as the Mark S. Gold, MD, '75 Distinguished Professor and Alumnus White Coat Ceremony. Gold graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1975 and is an internationally recognized leader in psychiatry, addiction medicine, and recovery. Read more 

Alumni, please submit your news and updates to

Chief Residents of Diversity and Inclusion hold office hours


Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, left, and Natalie Lastra, MD, right, fourth-year residents in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, are the department's Chief Residents of Diversity and Inclusion for the 2018-19 academic year. They began holding office hours in December for drop in visits to stimulate conversation about topics of concern. They look forward to hearing from residents and faculty as they work to support and improve the department's climate. Remaining office hours this month will be Dec. 12 and 19 from 3:30 to 4:30 pm in the Large Conference Room at 300 George St.

Yu receives 2018 Yale School of Medicine Power Day Resident Award


Benjamin Yu, MD, right, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, received the 2018 Yale School of Medicine Power Day Resident Award at a ceremony at the medical school on Nov. 30. The award is given to trainees who model the responsible, positive, and beneficial use of power in healthcare relationships and who serve as true role models for the medical student community. Nominations are by students in the third-year medical class. At the podium is Esperanza Diaz, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Director of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program, who spoke about Yu at the ceremony. Read more / Yale Daily News coverage

Yale Psychiatry Band performs at department holiday party


The Yale Psychiatry Band entertained a large gathering of attendees at the annual Yale Department of Psychiatry Holiday Party on Dec. 1 at The Graduate Club in New Haven. Performing with the band this year were, from left, David Sasso, MD, MPH, Assistant Clinical Professor in the Yale Child Study Center; Michael Pantalon, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Emergency Medicine; John Cahill, MBBS, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Myra Mathis, MD, fourth-year resident; Rachel Katz, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, Medical Director, Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital; Sophia Noori, MD, MPH, second-year resident; and Lydia Smith, music therapist.

Psychological Medicine Section attends Academy of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry meeting in Orlando, Fla.


The Yale Department of Psychiatry's Psychological Medicine Section had a strong presence at the Academy of Consultation Liaison Psychiatry meeting in Orlando, Fla., in November. The meeting also served as an opportunity for current Yale faculty to connect with fellowship alumni, who are thriving in various positions across the country. Among those who attended a Yale dinner at the conference were, clockwise from left, Sahil Munjal ('18, Wake Forest); Jorge Aguilar Zanatta ('12, Danbury Hospital); Michael Maksimowski ('18, John D. Dingell VA Medical Center, Wayne State University); Deepti Chopra ('13, Anderson Cancer Center); Nkemka Esiobu (PGY-4, Yale Department of Psychiatry); Walter Luchsinger (PGY-5, Yale Department of Psychiatry); Mario Caro Sabogal ('17, Hartford Healthcare); Seth Powsner, Professor of Psychiatry and of Emergency Medicine; Kimberly Yonkers, Professor of Psychiatry, of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, and Director of the Section of Psychological Medicine; Paula Zimbrean, Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Junji Takeshita (University of Hawaii); Paul Desan, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Jeffrey Iler ('18, University of Rochester); and Ryan Peterson ('18, University of Pittsburgh).

Current, former Yale faculty, fellows and residents attend American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry annual meeting


Current and past Yale faculty, fellows, and residents gathered at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) in Bonita Springs, Fla., on December 5-9. Yale Psychiatry is always well-represented, and the Yale get together is still the most happening event at the meeting.

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Friday, December 14, 2018; 10:15 am-11:30 pm

Translational Psychiatry and Immune Therapy

Ivana Kawikova, MD, PhD, Associate Research Scientist, Yale School of Medicine

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, December 21, 2018; 10:15 am-11:30 pm

How Cognitive Processes Like Perception, Attention, Learning, and Memory Interact with Underlying Brain Systems

Nicholas Turk-Browne, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, Yale University

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, December 28, 2018

No Grand Rounds

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