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Connecticut Mental Health Center named Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business by League of American Bicyclists


The League of American Bicyclists has recognized Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC) with a prestigious Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business certification. With the league's announcement of 82 new and renewing Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFBs), CMHC joins a growing list of 1,314 businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies leading the way to transform transportation, health, and wellness for the betterment of U.S. workers and local communities. The League of American Bicyclists, a national bicycling and advocacy organization with nearly 20,000 members, recognized Yale as a Gold-level Bicycle Friendly University in 2017. BFB requirements identify incentives, programming, and amenities that are proven to enable and inspire more people to ride bikes. The cornerstone of the "CMHC Cycles" initiative is its bicycle giveaway program for clients in recovery from serious mental illness and/or substance use. Pictured, left to right, are Paul Hammer (cycling educator), Joanna Perez (rehabilitation therapist), John Martin (Bradley Street Bicycle Co-Op), Heather McConnell (rehabilitation therapist), Kyle Pedersen (CMHC Foundation), and Michael J. Sernyak, MD, CEO of CMHC. Read more  

100 Years of Women, Yale Department of Psychiatry: Meet Swapnil Gupta, MD, MBBS, Assistant 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 Swapnil Gupta, MD, MBBS, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry.

Q: Tell us about your journey in the department.

A: "My journey in the department started in 2012, working as a PGY-4 and and then a research fellow in psychopharmacological challenge studies and clinical trials at the VA and CMHC. I had committed and passionate mentors who provided a safe space to explore and develop my interests. Since 2014, I have transitioned into working with patients with serious mental illness, teaching residents, and developing the concept of deprescribing in psychiatric practice. The fact that the department accommodated such a dramatic change in my academic interests is indicative of the space it provides for exploration and innovation, the breadth of knowledge of mentors and colleagues, and the support for new ideas. I have been fortunate to have close friends in the department who have fostered both my personal and professional growth."

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

A: "I think my biggest challenge, as a gender non-conforming Indian lesbian, is in being seen. Most individuals, including me, can muster a supportive response when they encounter a person from a minority group, as long as the person conforms to the typical image of that minority group. A person who is different in more ways than one generates perplexity and may therefore be rendered invisible for the comfort of the majority."

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

A: "My personal life, like my profession, has been rewarding, but not without some tough lessons. There have been times in my career when the work-life balance was almost non-existent and life was limited to essential activities like eating and sleeping. For the past few years, I have been more deliberate about maintaining a balance. One key strategy has been to identify specific high-output areas of work that interest me and turn down other projects or collaborations. Other helpful changes have been avoiding any patient-related work at home and carving out at least half a day a week where I am out in the woods with my dogs without my laptop or phone."

Q: What are some lessons learned?

A: "I have learned that it is imperative to find an area of work that constantly challenges you, helps you grow, and makes you happy. It is important to persist and constantly improve in your identified area of work. I have also learned that separating the personal from the political is a luxury that only a member of a majority can afford. The personal experiences of being a racial, ethnic, religious, gender, or sexual minority define the larger political issues. Even if it is hard, it is important to recognize, process, and share personal experiences as women in the department so we can effect a change in culture."

Q: What advice would you give to women now?

A: "Authenticity is time-consuming, energy-consuming, unnerving, and even isolating at times - but it is alright to be uncomfortable and cause discomfort. Be authentic with colleagues, students, and patients and value it when you see it because it is a long-term investment. The department has a wealth of expertise and experience - draw on it and consider all feedback in an open-minded way. Find a person within the department who understands where you come from, will support you, and will never hesitate to call you out on your mistakes, either interpersonal or work-related. Foster a strong relationship with this person. Always remember that there is another young woman like you, either within the department or outside, who looks up to you professionally; it is incumbent on you to make her path easier than yours was."

Delphin-Rittmon reappointed Commissioner of DMHAS under Lamont administration

Miriam E. Delphin-Rittmon, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Yale School Medicine, will remain Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) under the new administration of Gov. Ned Lamont. In a letter to DMHAS staff dated Jan. 8, Delphin-Rittmon wrote that she is honored to accept Lamont's nomination to continue leading the agency, which provides services to people who live with mental health and substance use disorders. The agency, she wrote, supports over 100,000 people in recovery. Read more  

Drug combo shows promise in treatment of depression and addiction

The combination of naltrexone and ketamine can help treat both symptoms of addiction and depression, a preliminary Yale study suggests. The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry, and the authors were, from left, Gihyun Yoon, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Ismene Petrakis, MD, Professor of Psychiatry; and John Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience. Read more  

Neural fingerprints ID those likely to abstain from cocaine

By measuring the strength of connections between different brain networks, Yale researchers successfully predicted who would abstain from cocaine during treatment, they reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The machine-learning technique developed at Yale - called connectome-based predictive modeling (CPM) or "neural fingerprinting" - successfully identified a complex brain network that predicted future abstinence from cocaine during a 12-week treatment program. Sarah Yip, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, was the study's lead author. Read more  

Rhee researches prescribing trends of benzodiazepines and opioids among older adults

Greg Rhee, PhD, MSW, Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale School of Medicine, examined a nationally representative sample of office-based physician visits by older adults between 2006 and 2015 to estimate prescribing trends of and correlates independently associated with the co-prescribing of benzodiazepines and opioids. Published in the Journal of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, the study tracked an increase in co-prescribing rates, suggesting more research is needed to address medication safety among older adults. Read more

Household food insecurity is associated with binge-eating disorder and obesity, according to Yale study

A study by Yale researchers published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders documented an association between low and very low household food security, and increased likelihood of binge-eating disorder and obesity. According to the study, household food insecurity is characterized by a shortage of nutritionally adequate food and difficulty acquiring adequate food in socially acceptable ways. Indicators of food insecurity include being unable to afford nutritionally balanced foods, worrying that purchased food will run out, and cutting meal sizes or skipping meals becauase of food shortages. Researchers who participated in the study are, clockwise from top left, Janet Lydecker, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Jaime Coffino, MPH, MA, Postgraduate Associate; Carlos Grilo, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology; and Marney White, PhD, MS, Associate Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences); Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Psychiatry. Read more  

Yale study evaluates use of cognitive-behavioral therapy to treat opioid use disorder and chronic pain

A study by Yale researchers led by Declan Barry, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Child Study and Director of Pain Treatment Services at APT Foundation based in New Haven, developed an integrated treatment approach combining psychotherapy (cognitive-behavioral therapy [CBT]) with medication-assisted treatment (methadone maintenance) for patients with opioid use disorder and chronic pain. A pilot randomized clinical trial of 40 patients demonstrated the feasibility and acceptability of this approach. The study was published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Read more

Malingering in the psychiatric emergency department: prevalence, predictors, and outcomes

Sean Rumschik, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, is the first author of a paper published in Psychiatric Services that found malingering -- the intentional fabrication of symptoms that do not exist or the exaggeration of genuine symptoms for the purpose of obtaining an external gain -- is prevalent in psychiatric emergency rooms. Malingering was suspected among one-third of patients, and 20 percent were "strongly or definitely" suspected of malingering. Among patients for whom suspicion of malingering was high, malingering was most frequent for suicidal ideation and depression. Read more 

A randomized clinical trial of the Recovery Line among methadone treatment patients with ongoing illicit drug use

Brent Moore, PhD, Research Scientist in Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, is the first author of a paper published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment that tracks the effectiveness of a phone-based treatment program for patients who use drugs. The program, The Recovery Line, is an automated, self-management system based on cognitive behavioral therapy. It provides low cost, consistent delivery and immediate therapeutic availability 24 hours a day. The study revealed use of the program led to greater self-reported days of abstinence from drugs for the first two months. Read more  

When measuring resilience, the type of trauma suffered matters

In previous studies of resilience in people, researchers have rarely differentiated in their analysis between the types of traumatic events experienced by individuals. However, the type of trauma undergone seems to be a significant predictor of how someone will fare long-term, according to a new study by researchers at Yale School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress. Galina Portnoy, PhD, Associate Research Scientist at Yale School of Medicine, was the lead author. Read more  

Mock trial may reduce feelings of revenge, according to Yale study

A person who is thinking about revenge against someone they believe has harmed them may be satisfied with a mock trial of their perceived victimizer, according to a Yale pilot study published in The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. The idea of a mock trial was conceived by James Kimmel, Jr., JD, left, Lecturer in Psychiatry and co-author of the study, as a form of "motive control" that decreases the desire to retaliate. The study's lead author was Michael Rowe, PhD, right, Professor of Psychiatry. Read more 

Digital technology can overcome structural barriers

Kunmi Sobowale, MD, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, participated on a panel at IPS: The Mental Health Services Conference to discuss the value of using digital technology to provide care to underprivileged groups. Sobowale has created online psychotherapeutic modules for people in Asian countries that incorporate components of cognitive-behavior therapy for Internet addiction, problem gambling, substance use, and depression. The technology can "transcend time, space, and culture," Sobowale told the American Psychiatric Association's Psychiatric News. Read more 

D'Souza promoted to Fellow by American College of Neuropsychopharmacology

Deepak Cyril D'Souza, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, has been promoted to Fellow by the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP). Promotion to Fellow is based on the honoree's scientific reputation and contributions to the college through committee work and involvement in the annual meeting program. According to its mission, ACNP is a professional society dedicated to advancing the scientific understanding of and facilitating communication about disorders of the brain and behavior to advance their prevention and treatment. Read more  

Resnick new editor of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal

Sandra G. Resnick, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Deputy Director at the VA Northeast Program Evaluation Center, is the new editor of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. The journal is a quarterly publication of the American Psychological Association. It publishes peer-reviewed scholarly work that "advances the evidence for and understanding of psychosocial treatment and recovery of people with psychiatric disabilities, consistent with the principles and values of psychiatric rehabilitation and person-centered care." Read more  

Dike credentialed as Fellow of American College of Healthcare Executives

Charles Dike, FRCPsych, MBChB, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, has been credentialed as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). The FACHE board certification in healthcare management recognizes members' competency, commitment to service and healthcare delivery excellence, and ethical decision making. FACHE members must be approved by the college and pass a Board of Governors exam. They must have a minimum of five years executive-level healthcare management experience. Read more  

Tsai to direct research at VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans

Jack Tsai, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Yale Division of Mental Health Services and Treatment Outcomes Research, has accepted a national position in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as Director of Research for the VA National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans. In his new role, Tsai will help coordinate and expand research on homeless and at-risk veterans nationally. He will lead his own research but help other researchers with their work. He will remain affilated with the Yale Department of Psychiatry and VA Connecticut Healthcare System. Read more  

Dix elected to board of American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry

Ebony Dix, MD, a Fellow in Geriatric Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP). Dix will serve as the Member in Training (MIT) on the board for 2018-19. She said her interest in serving stems from her desire to continue to contribute to the field of geriatric psychiatry on the national level. During residency she engaged in advocacy, education, and mentorship as an AAGP Scholar and American Psychiatric Association Leadership Fellow. Read more 

Several Yale Psychiatry affiliates serving on opioid response task force

Emma Lo, MD, center, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, is among several affiliates of the department serving on a task force that will assess the City of New Haven's handling of an opioid crisis in August and make recommendations to prevent future public health emergencies. She is pictured with New Haven Fire Chief John Alston Jr., left, and Assistant Police Chief Otoniel Reyes, right. Lo has started a street psychiatry program in the city. Read more  

Siggins, Vojvoda to receive Irma Bland Award for contributions to resident education

Lorraine Siggins, MD, left, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, and Dolores Vojvoda, MD, right, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, have been chosen to receive the 2018-19 Irma Bland Award for outstanding and sustained contributions to resident education. The competitive award is sponsored by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). It recognizes APA members who have taught at their nominating institution for at least three years. Read more  

APA to honor Khan with Roeske Award

Shaukat Khan, MBBS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, has been chosen to receive the Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, Certificate of Recognition for Excellence in Medical Student Education from the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The award was established in honor of Nancy C.A. Roeske, MD, and serves as a tribute to her unique and creative contributions to psychiatric education. It is awarded to APA members who have made outstanding and sustaining contributions to medical student education. Read more  

Greene to be recognized as Distinguished Fellow by American Group Psychotherapy Association

Les R. Greene, PhD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, will be recognized as a Distinguished Fellow by the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He will co-present the plenary session, "Integrating Research and Theory to Inform Group Therapy Interventions" at the group's meeting in Los Angeles in February. The presentation is based on his forthcoming co-authored volume, "Core Principles of Group Psychotherapy: A Theory-, Practice-, and Research-Based Training Manual." He will also write a column in "The Clinical Psychologist," a publication of the Society of Clinical Psychology.

Gillson a Sackler Scholar; will study improvements to mental health services in tribal communities

Stefanie Gillson, MD, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been chosen as a Sackler Scholar by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for American Indian Health. As a Sackler Scholar, Gillson is able to take classes through Johns Hopkins that specifically introduce public health approaches to address mental health disparities in tribal communities. The Center of American Indian Health partners with tribal communities to design public health programs that raise the health status, self-sufficiency, and health leadership of Native people. Read more  

Diaz Stransky, Olfson to be honored by American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Two trainees in the Solnit Integrated Training Program at Yale School of Medicine have been chosen to receive 2018 Pilot Research Awards by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Andrea Diaz Stransky, MD, left, will be recognized with the Pilot Award for Attention Disorders, and Emily Olfson, MD, PhD, right, will receive the Pilot Award for General Psychiatry Residents. They will be honored at the Junior Research Scholar Lunch during AACAP's 66th Annual Meeting in Chicago in October 2019. Read more  

American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry recognizes Heward, Sloan

Two Yale Addiction Psychiatry Fellows have been honored with awards from the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP). Brady Heward, MD, left, received the AAAP's 2018 Regional Travel Scholarship. AAAP's Early Career Addiction Psychiatry Award was presented to Matthew Sloan, MD, right. The award was given based on the quality of Sloan's original research and his commitment to the field of addiction psychiatry. Read more  

Drinking, smoking, carousing: Why 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' is actually a feminist anthem

In the weeks before Christmas, many radio stations stopped playing the Christmas classic, "Baby, It's Cold Outside," fearing that it promoted or condoned rape culture, wrote Marney White, PhD, MS, Associate Professor of Public Health (Social and Behavioral Sciences); Associate Professor of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Psychiatry, in an op-ed in USA Today. "As a liberal feminist who specializes in women's mental health, I have spoken and written about violence against women," White wrote. "But the (song) lyrics are not about coercion of sexual activity; rather, the lyrics are a progressive step toward sexual liberation. Read more  

Blumberg speaks at New York Academy of Sciences symposium on neurobiology of mental illness

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, was a speaker at the symposium, "The Neurobiology of Mental Illness: Advances and Therapeutic Approaches" on Oct. 9 presented by the New York Academy of Sciences. The symposium brought together scientists, clinicians, and policymakers to discuss the genetics, molecular biology, and neurobiology of a wide range of mental illnesses. Read more  

Addicted to vaped nicotine, teenagers have no clear path to quitting

Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, discussed the impact of exposing the brain's prefrontal cortex to nicotine in a New York Times report on teenage vaping. The prefrontal cortex, which affects judgment and impulse, continues to mature in teens. "When you flood it with nicotine, you are interrupting development," Picciotto said. According to the Times article, a recent survey found that 21 percent of high school seniors had vaped within the previous 30 days. Read more  

How to help teenagers quit vaping

Surveys show millions of middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in 2018, and experts say helping them to quit is a challenge given the presence of nicotine in vaping liquids. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, told The New York Times that parents can reason with adolescents who vape. "The trick is not to try to scare them, because scare tactics don't work at this point," she said. She advised involving them in a conversation, and trying to get them to recognize the compulsive quality of their behavior. Read more 

In Memoriam

Burness E. Moore, MD

Burness E. Moore, MD, who helped refine psychoanalytic terms and concepts by bringing clarity and rigor to their definitions, passed away Nov. 27, 2018 in Stone Mountain, Ga. He was almost 105. Dr. Moore was Physician-in-Charge of Yale Psychiatric Institute from 1943 to 1951. At that time, there were only three full-time psychiatric faculty: the Chairman, Eugen Kahn, MD; Frederick Redlich, MD; and Dr. Moore. Like many colleagues of his era, Dr. Moore started out in internal medicine and neurology but eventually migrated to psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Read more 

Khan, Adams, Bordeaux panelists at Connecticut Women's Consortium symposium on veterans' behavioral health care


Shaukat Khan, MBBS, second from right, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry; Lynette Adams, PhD, second from left, Women Veterans Program Manager and LGBT Care Coordinator for the VA Connecticut Healthcare System; and Carl Bordeaux, CPRP, CARC, right, Clinical Case Manager in the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Residental Treatment Program at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System, were panelists at a daylong symposium Oct. 25, 2018, titled, "Spotlight on Veterans' Behavioral Health Care" at Quinnipiac School of Health Sciences in North Haven. Sponsored by the Connecticut Women's Consortium, the lectures and panel discussions focused on several important topics surrounding veterans' mental health. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 22 million Americans have served in the military, and many suffer from mental illness. The symposium highlighted several topics in veterans' behavioral health care, including the stigma of seeking services and community reintegration.

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Friday, January 18, 2019; 10:15 am-11:30 pm

Brain Stimulation Research

Sarah H. Lisanby, MD, Director, Division of Translational Research, National Institute of Mental Health

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, January 25, 2019; 10:15 am-11:30 pm

Interventionalism in Psychiatry: What Can We Learn From Cardiology, Neurology, and Radiology?

Nolan Williams, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

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