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Commencement ceremonies held for Psychiatry Residents and Fellows, Doctoral Interns in Clinical & Community Psychology



The Yale Department of Psychiatry honored residents, fellows, and faculty (in top photo) at its annual Residency & Fellowship Commencement Ceremony held June 13 at the New Haven Lawn Club. The event marked the graduation of 19 residents and 23 fellows from programs in the department. On June 11 at the New Haven Lawn Club (bottom photo), the department's Psychology Section held its commencement ceremony for 15 psychology fellows completing internships at the Connecticut Mental Health Center and Yale New Haven Hospital. Both ceremonies were well attended by faculty, family, and friends of the graduates.

Read more about the Psychiatry Residency and Fellowship Ceremony  

Read more about the Doctoral Intern in Clinical & Community Psychology Ceremony 

Connecticut Mental Health Center commemorates anniversary of Stonewall Uprising


Fifty years after the Stonewall Uprising, a panel of LGBTQ mental health professionals and an audience of nearly 100 people gathered at Connecticut Mental Health Center on June 27 and 28 to reflect on the history of Stonewall and its meaning for mental health. On June 28, 1969, LGBTQ patrons of the Stonewall Bar in New York City fought back against police attempts to arrest them. Their large-scale resistance was not the first confrontation between LGBTQ activists and police, but it became the most famous. In 1970, activists commemorated the Stonewall Uprising by organizing New York City's first Pride Parade, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community that continues today and has spread to cities across the country. At CMHC, diverse speakers spanning different generations reflected on how psychiatry was complicit in pathologizing LGBTQ people by embracing a hetero-normal worldview and offering destructive treatments designed to "change" the person. Panelists E. Gerald Dabbs, Chyrell Bellamy, Jillian Celentano, and Nathan Ha spoke about the power of Stonewall as a catalyst for creating community; as an inspiration in the lifelong journey of "coming out" and being one's self; and as a complex piece of history that deserves to be revisited. Pictured are members of the Stonewall 50 panel and commemoration planning team including, front row from left, Regina Nagarajan, Swapnil Gupta, TerriLee Waller, Melissa Dennis, Lucile Bruce, and Lily Balasuriya; back row from left, Timothy Van Deusen (moderator), Nancy Bohan, Jeffrey Polito, E. Gerald Dabbs (panelist), Jillian Celentano (panelist), Chyrell Bellamy (panelist), Nathan Ha (panelist), Robert Cole, and Jeanne LeBlanc. Click here  to watch a video of the event.

How the brain helps us make good decisions - and bad ones

Some researchers believe people make decisions based on integrated global calculations that occur within the brain's frontal cortex. However, a Yale study published in Neuron has found that three distinct circuits connecting to different brain regions are involved in making decisions and determining which to store in memory. Stephanie Groman, PhD, left, Associate Research Scientist, and Jane Taylor, PhD, right, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry, of Psychology and of Neuroscience, were the lead and senior authors, respectively. Read more  

The secret of autobiographical memory is in assembly of cells

Yale Department of Psychiatry scientists report in Neuron that it is the size and shape of neuronal assemblies -- not the strength of signals processed by neurons or the order in which neurons fire -- that are the most crucial elements in our ability to record past events. "It is like a sketch that contains a lot of dots but has no ultimate form, but once you enlarge specific dots with a crayon then the pattern becomes clearer," said George Dragoi, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience and senior author of the paper. Read more  

Grilo, colleagues study lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in people with eating disorders

Carlos M. Grilo, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology and Director of the Program for Obesity Weight and Eating Research (POWER), is the senior author of a paper published in BMC Medicine that examines the lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts in people with eating disorders. The study included 36,171 adults, and the researchers evaluated lifetime prevalence of suicide attempts, psychosocial impairment, clinical profiles, and psychiatric comorbidity in adults with eating disorders with and without suicide attempt histories. Read more  

Study: Accuracy of five self-report screening instruments for substance use in pregnancy

Nearly one-fourth of pregnant women report having used alcohol, tobacco, or other substances in the past month, yet current screening questionnaires used by physicians may not accurately identify many of them. Kimberly A. Yonkers, MD, Professor of Psychiatry, of Epidemiology (Chronic Diseases) and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Services at Yale School of Medicine, was the senior researcher among investigators who compared results of five commonly used questionnaires against laboratory testing. The work was published in Addiction. Read more 

Yale researchers study proliferation of vape trick videos on YouTube

Grace Kong, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, is the lead author of a paper published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research that looks at the proliferation of vape trick videos on YouTube and the efforts by e-cigarette marketers and stores to promote them. "The search of vape tricks and tutorials on vape tricks on YouTube resulted in an average of 14,200 YouTube videos, which were videos that could be accessed by underage youth. This finding could serve as an impetus for YouTube to set limits to restrict underage youth from accessing videos on vape tricks," the authors wrote. Read more  

Djordjevic article examines public oncology in Rwanda

Darja Djordjevic, MD, PhD, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, wrote an article published in BioSocieties that examines how Rwandan patients understand and represent cancer. Djordjevic did field work at a hospital in Rwanda where she investigated how citizens conceptualize cancer and how they imagine its transmission. "This inquiry revealed a significant disjuncture between how citizens think about the complex natural history of malignancy, and what state actors expect from patients as public oncology develops," she wrote. Read more  

No longer culture-bound: Hikikomori outside of Japan

Tanner Bommersbach, MD, MPH, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and Hun Millard, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, wrote in the International Journal of Social Psychiatry about the increasing prevalence of Hikikomori -- the withdrawal of adolescents or adults from society -- outside of Japan. "Continuing to refer to Hikikomori as a culture-bound syndrome may further reduce recognition of the disorder, delay treatment for patients, and risk pathologizing the Japanese culture," they wrote. Read more  

Yale study: Identify, engage, understand: Supporting transgender youth in an inpatient psychiatric hospital

William Acosta, MD, who graduated from the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program in June, and Zheala Qayyum, MBBS, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, are co-authors of a paper published in Psychiatric Quarterly that addresses the experiences of transgender adolescents in an inpatient psychiatric hospital. The study revealed that patients and care providers generally reported a supportive inpatient care environment. Acosta was the paper's first author. Read more  

Integrated primary and mental health care for older adults: Successes, challenges, and recommendations

Two Yale Department of Psychiatry trainees -- Manan Gupta, MD, left, a geriatric psychiatry fellow who graduated in June, and Hana Ali, MD, right, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry -- co-wrote a review published in Current Geriatrics Reports that highlights key studies demonstrating the benefits of providing integrated behavioral health care to older adults. Other authors were Michelle Conroy, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Kirsten Wilkins, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Read more  

Hirsch, O'Malley named to endowed professorships

The Yale Corporation has named Joy Hirsch, PhD, left, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry, of Comparative Medicine, and of Neuroscience. Stephanie O'Malley, PhD, right, has been named Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry. The appointments of these endowed professorships were announced in June by Yale School of Medicine Dean Robert J. Alpern, MD. Read more  

Srihari assumes role on Board of Directors of NAMI Connecticut

Vinod Srihari, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of NAMI Connecticut, the state chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. NAMI is a grassroots organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people who live with mental illness, as well as their families and loved ones. The Hartford-based organization, in conjunction with 10 affiliates, serves people in Connecticut through education, support, and advocacy programs at the state and local levels. Srihari is Director of the Specialized Treatment for Early Psychosis (STEP) Program. Read more  

Childs appointed Director of Yale Doctoral Internship Training Program in Clinical and Community Psychology

Amber W. Childs, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, has been appointed Director of the Yale Doctoral Internship Training Program in Clinical and Community Psychology. Childs assumed her responsibilities as Director on July 1. The Yale Doctoral Internship Training Program is one of the nation's premier internships in clinical and community psychology, developing the next generation of leaders in this field. Over 15 students are accepted annually to the program, which has been accredited by the American Psychological Association since 1970. Read more  

Sestan honored for research in developmental neuroscience

Nenad Sestan, MD, PhD, Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neuroscience, and Professor of Comparative Medicine, Genetics, and Psychiatry, received the Constance Lieber prize for innovation in developmental neuroscience on June 19 at a prize symposium in Baltimore, MD. Read more  

Learn about Sestan's research work in the New York Times Magazine story, "Scientists Are Giving Dead Brains New Life. What Could Go Wrong?"  

DeSouza awarded fellowship with American Psychoanalytic Association

Flavia DeSouza, MD, MHS, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been awarded a 2019-20 fellowship position with the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA). DeSouza will receive free travel, lodging, meals, and registration expenses at the APsaA annual meeting in New York City in February 2020 and will be matched with a mentor for monthly meetings. She will have opportunities to present clinical work at conferences presented by APsaA fellows. The fellowship trains future leaders in psychiatry and other specialties. Read more  

Higgins-Chen to receive 2019 NIMH Outstanding Resident Award

Albert Higgins-Chen, MD, PhD, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been selected to receive the 2019 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Outstanding Resident Award. The award, in its 32nd year, recognizes residents with outstanding research and academic potential. Higgins-Chen will be presented with the award in September at the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The two-day program includes a tour of the NIH intramural campus and facilities, talks by NIMH investigators, and meetings with NIMH leadership. Read more  

Eight faculty named to Connecticut Magazine's 'Best Doctors' list

Eight Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty members have been named to the annual Connecticut Magazine "Best Doctors" list in the psychiatry speciality. They are: Rosemary Balsam, MD; Deborah Fried, MD; Paul Kirwin, MD; Sidney Phillips, MD; F. Carl Mueller, MD; Steven Southwick, MD; Christopher Van Dyck, MD; and Howard Zonana, MD. Read more  

Isom: Perspectives in training, portrait of a psychiatrist

Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, who graduated from the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program in June, wrote in Psychiatric Times about her training to become a psychiatrist and the triumphs and challenges she has faced, including being the parent of a young daughter. "I reflect daily on aspects of my identity that are uniquely privileged and am inspired by the portions of my identity that have produced a tenacious resilience," she wrote. "I end each of my shifts enveloping a new life in my arms as she beams and babbles learning the complexities of language." Read more  

Balasuriya, Isom reflect on experience at Harvard Macy Program for Post-Graduate Trainees

Lilanthi Balasuriya, MD, MMS, left, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and Jessica Isom, MD, MPH, right, a 2019 graduate of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program, reflected on their experiences at the Harvard Macy Program for Post-Graduate Trainees in a story published by the Harvard Macy Community Blog. Balasuriya and Isom attended the 2018 program, which works with post-graduate trainees who seek to develop skills in teaching and medical education curriculum development. Read more  

Trainees, faculty advocated for new law that provides more treatment for opioid addiction in prisons

Yale Department of Psychiatry trainees and faculty drafted and lobbied for legislation that provides more treatment for opioid addicted jail and prison inmates in Connecticut. The bill was recently signed into law by Gov. Ned Lamont. Among those who contributed to the effort were faculty members Katherine "Kiki" Kennedy, MD, and Bachaar Arnaout, MD. They were assisted by trainees Falisha Gilman, MD; Will Rutland, MD, JD, MPH; Jessica Chaffkin, MD; Emma Lo, MD; and Sarah Baker, MD, MA. Read more  

Faculty, trainees speak at IRCC Conference

Clockwise from top left, Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry; Billy Bromage, MSW, Lecturer in Psychiatry; Hana Ali, MD, third-year resident; and Lilanthi Balasuriya, MD, MMS, fourth-year resident, spoke at the 2019 International Recovery and Citizenship Collective Conference in May in New Haven. The conference is a global collaborative of policymakers, health care providers, persons with lived experience, advocates, researchers, and other stakeholders. It focused on bi-directional learning and the sharing of policy, service delivery, workforce, and other mental health and addictions innovations designed to promote recovery, citizenship, and health care system development and transformation. Jordan shared about the Imani Breakthrough Faith-based Opioid Recovery Initiative. Balasuriya and Ali served as speakers on the Social Justice Panel and discussed the challenges of putting social justice theory into practice. Bromage planned and executed the event. Read more  

PTSD includes physical symptoms. Here are some of them

John H. Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Neuroscience and Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry, spoke to HuffPost about the physical symptoms associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In diagnosing PTSD, he said clinicians look for specific symptoms such as intrusive thoughts and feelings; avoidance in thinking about or addressing the trauma, depression, shame, and other negative feelings related to the trauma; feelings of hopelessness and difficulty sleeping; concentrating; and relaxing. Read more 

Fentanyl crisis prompts change in treatment strategies

Charles Atkins, MD, Lecturer in Psychiatry and Medical Director for Community Mental Health Affiliates in New Britain, spoke to the Connecticut Health I-Team for a report about new efforts to combat the fentanyl epidemic in Connecticut. A new state law signed in June by Gov. Ned Lamont stiffens the penalties for selling illicit fentanyl in the state. Atkins said the drug is widely available and is as inexpensive to purchase as a McDonald's Happy Meal. "On the streets of New Britain, you can buy a bag of fentanyl for $3, and you can get a fatal dose for $6," he said. Read more  

Yale Medicine Magazine highlights mental health in Spring issue

The Spring issue of Yale Medicine Magazine highlighted the ongoing work of some of Yale's leading scientists -- including many in the Yale Department of Psychiatry -- in the fields of neuroscience and psychiatry. The entire issue of the magazine may be viewed by clicking here, or click the links below to read individual stories.  

Rethinking Mental Illness  

Breaking the Cycle of Traumatic Memories  

Taking Psychiatric Help to the Street  

Brain Bank Aids Theories on Genetics and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder  

Speeding Treatment Blunts the Worst of Schizophrenia  

Armoring the Psyche: A Brain's Resilience  

Post-traumatic Resilience  

Computational Psychiatry: Modeling the Brain's Neural Circuitry  

When Researchers Listen to People Who Hear Voices  

Tackling Addiction with Treatment and Predictive Outcomes Modeling  

Staff Connections



The Yale Department of Psychiatry's Administration Team held its second annual retreat June 24 at Yale's West Campus. This year's retreat focused on health and wellness, with presentations from the university's Being Well at Yale Program and a painting class led by an artist-instructor from Art Plus Studio in New Haven.

Alumni Spotlight


Mark Gold, MD, a 1978 graduate of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program and an expert in addiction, was honored in June by the Addiction Policy Forum with its National Leadership Conference 2019 Pillar of Excellence Award for Research. The organization works to eliminate addiction by helping patients and families in crisis, raising awareness, improving treatment, and promoting education and advocacy. Gold is best known for his work on the brain systems underlying the effects of opiate drugs, cocaine, and food. He is former Donald Dizney Eminent Scholar, Distinguished Professor, and Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Florida. His first academic appointment was at Yale School of Medicine in 1978, and during his career he has published over 1,000 peer-reviewed scientific articles, 20 text books, popular-general audience books, and physician practice guidelines.

Bailey appointed Chief Medical Officer of Kedren Community Health Center

Rahn Kennedy Bailey, MD, a fellow in Forensic Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine from 1994-1995, has been appointed Chief Medical Officer of Kedren Community Health Center in Los Angeles, Calif. Bailey has also been appointed Assistant Dean of Clinical Education at Charles R. Drew University in Los Angeles. Bailey, a native of Texas, is Past-Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. Formerly, he served as Director of the Elam Mental Health Center in Nashville, Tenn. Read more 

Alumni, please submit your news and updates to

Medical library unveils newly renovated facilities


The Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library marked the completion of a renovation project June 20 by cutting a ribbon at the medical school facility. Catherine Chiles, MD, left, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Medical Library Associates, was among the many faculty across the medical school who attended. Pictured with her are, from left, Susan Gibbons, Stephen F. Gates '68 University Librarian and Deputy Provost for Collections and Scholarly Communication; Michael Kashgarian, MD, Past Chair, Board of Trustees of the Medical Library Associates; Michael Schwartz, PhD, Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Associate Dean for Curriculum; Richard Belitsky, MD, Deputy Dean for Education; John Gallagher, Director, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library; and Holly Grossetta Nardini, Associate Director, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library. The renovation, which took approximately 10 months to complete, features a series of rooms and spaces meant to foster learning and innovation including a 125-seat classroom, eight 16-seat classrooms, four meeting rooms, 24 workstations, and lounge seating. Read more  

PGY-1 Retreat held at Yale Outdoor Center


The first-year residency class visited the Yale Outdoor Center on June 23 for the annual PGY-1 Retreat, an event designed to build camaraderie among the trainees. Besides team building activities, group processing about the intern year, and eating, the trainees also went swimming, paddleboarding, canoeing, and dancing.

Krishnan-Sarin speaks at Congressional briefing on e-cigarette use among youth and young adults


Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, spoke June 12 at a Congressional briefing on the potential public health crisis of e-cigarette use among youth and young adults. The briefing was sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research. Krishnan-Sarin discussed the numerous ways e-cigarettes have taken hold in schools, such as the quirky flavor names that stimulate interest and the subtle product design that allows students to hide the devices. "In many U.S. schools, e-cigarettes are named as one of the most significant problems," she said. She said more cessation programs should be developed to help youth stop using e-cigarettes. Krishnan-Sarin is a member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Tobacco Product Scientific Advisory Committee and is Co-PI on the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. Read more  

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

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

White Opioids and the Window of Opportunity to Take a Social Determinants Approach to Drug Policy

Helena B. Hansen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, NYU Langone Health

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, July 19, 2019; 10:15-11:30 am

Neurobiology of Alcohol Use Disorder: A Heuristic Framework for Future Research

George F. Koob, PhD, Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

The Anlyan Center, TAC N-107, 300 Cedar St.

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