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Ensler gives keynote address at resident-led Women's Mental Health Conference at Yale


Tony Award-winning playwright and activist Eve Ensler, center, author of "The Vagina Monologues," gave the keynote address at the inaugural Women's Mental Health Conference at Yale on October 25 at Yale School of Medicine. The talk drew hundreds of people to Harkness Auditorium where Ensler, a survivor of childhood sexual violence, spoke about her worldwide campaign to end violence against women and girls. The conference was founded by Yale Department of Psychiatry residents Sofia Noori, MD, MPH, fourth from left, and Stefanie Gillson, MD, right, who with other volunteers created an event that advanced the mental health interests and wellbeing of women. Attendees listened to Ensler's talk in the morning and then broke out into educational sessions that addressed topics like family, culture, and mental health in Latino women; caring for pregnant women with opioid use disorder; practical skills for working with women veterans; and translating research into clinical interventions for survivors and perpetrators of gender-based violence. Read a full recap of the conference---Watch a video of Ensler's keynote address

Editorial: Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use during pregnancy - associated with but not causative of autism in offspring

José M. Flores, MD, PhD, MPH, a fourth-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, is the first author of an editorial published in JAMA Psychiatry that emphasizes that an association found between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and autism is due to confounding by indication, a source of bias. This may raise concern among patients, especially pregnant women who are being treated with anti-depressants. However, the authors believe the association with SSRIs is not causal but a product confounding in observational studies. Read more  

Yale study: Connecticut overdose deaths have more than doubled since 2012

Greg Rhee, PhD, MSW, left, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Robert Rosenheck, MD, right, Professor of Psychiatry and of Health Policy, are co-authors of a paper published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence that found the rate of drug overdose deaths in Connecticut has more than doubled since 2012. The majority of deaths occurred among people ages 35-64, men, and non-Hispanic whites. Deaths involving the powerful opioid fentanyl increased from 5.2 deaths per 100,000 people in 2015 to 21.3 deaths in 2018. Read more 

Study suggests role for targeting psychological variables in the treatment of opioid use disorder and chronic pain

A new study by researchers at Yale, Johns Hopkins, University of Bridgeport, and Western Connecticut State University, including senior author Declan Barry, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and in the Child Study Center, suggests that psychological variables are important treatment targets for co-occurring opioid use disorder and chronic pain. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. It included 134 adults with pain who were receiving methadone treatment for opioid use disorder. Read more  

VA study seeks to understand burnout

Mental health providers want to improve the well-being of their patients, but can this work cause them to burn out? In a study published in the Community Mental Health Journal, Yale researchers examined the mental health states of staffers working at the Connecticut Veterans Affairs Errera Community Care Center. Among the authors were Jack Tsai, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Anne Klee, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry. Read more 

Sestan among 6 Yale faculty members elected to National Academy of Medicine

Six Yale faculty members, including Nenad Sestan, MD, PhD, Harvey and Kate Cushing Professor of Neuroscience, and Professor of Comparative Medicine, of Genetics and of Psychiatry, have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the organization announced October 21. Sestan is a neurobiologist who studies the molecular and cellular basis of brain development, exploring how neurons acquire distinct identities and form proper synaptic connections in the cerebral cortex, a part of the brain that is critical for cognition, perception, and behavior. Read more  

Fuehrlein selected to be member of The American College of Psychiatrists

Brian Fuehrlein, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, has been selected to be a member of The American College of Psychiatrists, an honorary association that supports the highest standards in psychiatry. Membership is limited to psychiatrists who have demonstrated outstanding competence in the field of psychiatry and who have achieved national recognition in clinical practice, research, academic leadership, or teaching. Psychiatrists are nominated for membership. Fuehrlein is Director of the Psychiatric Emergency Room at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven. Read more  

Goldenberg: The use of musical theater in psychiatric education

Broadway musicals entertain, but according to Matthew N. Goldenberg, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, they can also be a great teaching tool in psychiatric education. Goldenberg wrote in Academic Psychiatry that musical theater has traditionally been viewed as "escapist entertainment," but that it has become more accessible with the proliferation of national tours and more musicals being made into movies. "Educators can make use of musical theater material by having learners watch individual scenes, listen to particular songs, or attend entire shows," he wrote. Read more  

Harvanek and Millard: A structured approach to introducing residents to group therapy leadership

Zachary M. Harvanek, MD, PhD, a second-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, and Hun Millard, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, co-wrote a letter to the editor published in Academic Psychiatry that proposes a structured and easy-to-implement protocol to have residents receive formal instruction and experience in group therapy as part of an inpatient rotation. "Training in this area is currently felt to be lacking at residency programs across the country by both training directors and residents," they wrote. Read more  

The conversation we SHOULD be having about mental healthcare in America

Marna Borgstrom, MPH, President and CEO of Yale New Haven Health System, wrote on Linked In about the growing demand for mental health services in the United States and the need for further investment by providers. Studies show only four in 10 people living with mental illness received services in the past year. "Yale New Haven Hospital operates within the epicenter of this challenge," she wrote. "As one of Connecticut's few safety net hospitals, we serve patients regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay, and fulfill a vital need providing in-patient services to patients with psychiatric conditions." Read more  

Krystal a guest on Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein

John H. Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry, was a recent guest on the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's TV series Healthy Minds with Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein. Krystal spoke about treatment resistant depression and rapid-acting antidepressants in a talk that focussed on the use of the drug ketamine to treat depression. Krystal was one of the pioneers of research into the use of ketamine as an antidepressant in the 1990s. Watch  

Dike delivers endowed lecture at Michigan State University

Charles C. Dike, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, delivered the Robert M. Heavenrich, MD, Endowed Lecture in Pediatrics at Michigan State University on October 17. The title of his talk was, "Complex Developmental Trauma in Childhood, Severe Psychopathology and Crime: Is There Hope?" He gave a second lecture titled, "Social Determinants of Health, Adverse Childhood Experiences and Dangerousness: Opportunities for Intervention." In its 28th year, the lectureship was created to pay tribute to the late Dr. Heavenrich, a beloved Michigan pediatrician. Read more  

Harper participates in panel discussion on supportive banking for people with mental health problems

Annie Harper, PhD, Associate Research Scientist in Psychiatry, was among the people who sat on a panel discussion titled, "Banking for All: Why Financial Institutions Need to Offer Supportive Banking Features." The event was held November 6 at Yale Law School and featured Jorge L. Perez, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Banking. The program included discussion of a report co-authored by Harper that proposes financial institutions offer supportive banking features to make their products and services more accessible. Read more  

Is vaping safe? Picciotto speaks to the BBC about e-cigarette use

Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, spoke to the BBC about nicotine and vaping for a recent report. "Think about the food in a good meal. The nicotine in either tobacco or vape liquid makes that even more pleasurable," she said. "That's been something that we've been trying to study to help understand why adolescents are so drawn to vaping." Picciotto is a member of the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science which researches the use of tobacco and vape products. Listen  

The quest to cure PTSD

Ronald Duman, PhD, left, Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Neuroscience, and Ilan Harpaz-Rotem, PhD, right, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, were among the scientists who spoke to Psychology Today about their research into posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Scientists are working to advance treatments for PTSD, including targeting specific biochemical processes and brain circuits, and even studying how to prevent PTSD from ever occurring. Read more 

Fehon a panelist on CPTV program about treatment, risk factors, and early detection of cancer

Dwain Fehon, PsyD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Behavioral Medicine Service at Yale New Haven Hospital, was a panelist on the CPTV live program "Life Lessons," which did a segment in October called "Cancer Today and Beyond." Fehon said he tells his patients there are two things they and their families can do to help make the disease less frightening: Acquire as much information as you can about your cancer, and rally your supports. "Whether it be for emotional support or practical support like for meals, rides, childcare ... it really does make a difference," he said. Watch  

Do you feel SAD? Blame the change of seasons

As the days get shorter and the cold weather settles in, you may experience a change in mood and behavior. It's a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and Paul Desan, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Psychiatric Consultation Service, has some treatment ideas. "Bright light treatment first thing in the morning, certainly before 8:00, for about a half an hour is going to reverse the effects of winter in most people. It's quite bright and you sit at about arm's length," he told WTNH-News 8. Watch  

Buono will lobby Congress to increase funding for neurofibromatosis

Frank D. Buono, PhD, Associate Research Scientist in Psychiatry, will lobby members of Congress on behalf of several advocacy groups in Washington, D.C. in February 2020 to increase funding for the rare genetic disease neurofibromatosis (NF). Buono was nominated as a scientific delegate to represent the Neurofibromatosis Network, a rare disease-specific patient advocacy group that supports people and families affected by neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue. There is no cure and there are limited treatment options. Read more  

De Figueiredo on Advisory Committee at 25th World Congress of International College of Psychosomatic Medicine

John M. de Figueiredo, MD, ScD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, was a member of the International Advisory Committee of the 25th World Congress of the International College of Psychosomatic Medicine which took place in Florence, Italy, on September 11-13, 2019. He chaired a lecture on "Cardiovascular Psychosomatics" and a symposium on "From the Community to the Bedside: Innovative Research on Demoralization." He also gave a presentation on "Demoralization in Parkinson Disease" and was discussant on "The Unnamed Symptom: A Psychosomatic Approach." Read more  

Yale Psychiatric Hospital takes steps to improve patient safety

Frank Fortunati, MD, JD, pictured, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director at Yale Psychiatric Hospital, and Mark Sevilla, Vice President, Behavioral Health & Emergency Services at Yale New Haven Hospital, spoke to the New Haven Register and Connecticut Post for a story about how psychiatric facilities are making changes to their physical plants to reduce opportunities for patients to hang or strangle themselves. Fortunati told the newspapers that suicide is "absolutely a national health crisis. Being in the field for more than 25 years, we've always taken patient safety on inpatient psychiatric units very seriously. We've always monitored them closely and made sure our units were as safe as they could possibly be." Sevilla said changes have included placing a plastic dome over a wall clock and putting tamper-proof screws on light fixtures. Read more 

Call for Submissions: RebPsych 2020: Decolonizing Mental Health

The organizers of RebPsych 2020: Decolonizing Mental Health have issued a call for submissions to the conference, which will be held April 3, 2020. The conference asks what decolonizing mental health looks like today, and how we can build on past efforts. Organizers want to imagine the decolonization of the psychiatric profession as broadly as possible, and encourage submissions from a diverse array of participants, including health professionals, activists, community organizers, scholars, clients, patients, artists, students, and writers. Learn more  

Alumni Spotlight

Walter Brown, MD, authors 'Lithium: A Doctor, A Drug and A Breakthrough'

Walter Brown, MD, a Yale Psychiatry resident from 1968 to 1972 who served on the department faculty from 1972 to 1974, has authored the book, "Lithium: A Doctor, A Drug and A Breakthrough." Published by Liveright, a division of Norton, the book reveals two unlikely success stories: that of John Cade, the physician whose discovery would come to save an untold number of lives and launch a pharmacological revolution, and that of a miraculous metal rescued from decades of stigmatization. Brown is Clinical Professor Emeritus at Brown University. Read more  

Yale School of Medicine, CTPharma will collaborate to study effectiveness of medical marijuana on pain and stress


Rajita Sinha, PhD, at podium, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center and of Neuroscience, speaks at a news conference November 8 at Yale about a new Phase One clinical study of the effectiveness of various medical marijuana formulations aimed at alleviating stress and pain in patients. This study is the first approved by the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection's Medical Marijuana Research Program to study stress and mental health related issues. Sinha is Director of the Yale Stress Center, which will partner with Yale School of Medicine and Connecticut-based CTPharma to conduct the study on men and women. Sinha has been working on the project since 2016. Yale School of Medicine and CTPharma filed an Investigational New Drug Application with the FDA which required substantial information about the pharmaceutical characteristics of the medication to be studied and about its use in the study. Sinha and CTPharma received FDA approval for the Investigational New Drug protocol in 2017, and in October 2019 Yale and CTPharma received approval from the Connecticut Department of Consumer Projection to proceed. Standing with Sinha are, from left, Tom Schultz, CEO of CTPharma; Michael Fedele, former Lt. Governor of Connecticut and a member of the Board of Directors of CTPharma; Michelle Seagull, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection; and Rino Ferrarese, COO of CTPharma. Read more

Lunch, conversation highlight Women's Speed Networking event


More than 35 women faculty and trainees gathered at the Connecticut Mental Health Center on November 8 for the annual Yale Department of Psychiatry Women's Speed Networking event. The faculty and trainees enjoyed lunch and conversation that revolved around several topics, including financial literacy and planning, work-family integration, managing the transition from trainees to faculty, women in clinical leadership roles, women in health care leadership roles, developing and maintaining a research career, and managing scholarship and research in a clinical setting. Faculty mentors who led the discussions were Jennifer Czincz, PhD; Ismene Petrakis, MD; Marina Picciotto, PhD; Maya Prabhu, MD, LLB; and Stephanie O'Malley, PhD.

Yale researchers to study how music affects people with psychosis


Philip Corlett, PhD, left, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, has received a $2.1 million grant to study the impact of music on people with psychotic illnesses. The grant will support five years of mixed-methods research, incorporating both neuroscience and social science to gather insight into how music works in the brains of people who experience psychosis. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded the grant through its Sound Health initiative - a partnership between the NIH and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in association with the National Endowment for the Arts - that launched in 2017 to explore the brain's relationship with music. Pictured at right is musician Adam Christoferson, founder and director of Musical Intervention and a collaborator on the project. Read more

Faculty speak about their career paths at APA conference


Four Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty, pictured from right, Ilse Wiechers, MD; Ismene Petrakis, MD; Kimberly Yonkers, MD; and Luming Li, MD, spoke about their career journeys and professional growth at the American Psychiatric Association's Institute for Psychiatric Services Conference in New York on October 5. A fifth panelist was Anita Everett, MD, left, Director of the Center for Mental Health Services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Li said she organized the session "to highlight the challenges that women face in the academic and professional workplace, and to have a group of women leaders share tips and tricks and strategies for successfully navigating work/life balance and advancement opportunities." Read more

Community leaders recognized by The Consultation Center


Each year, The Consultation Center honors exemplary local leaders who have demonstrated hard work, dedication, and a deep commitment to building a stronger community. Awards were presented October 11 for outstanding contributions that support The Consultation Center's mission to promote health and wellness, prevent mental health and substance abuse problems, and enhance equity and social justice. State Rep. Toni E. Walker, second from right, received the Award for Individual Excellence. The Award for Organizational Excellence was presented to Fellowship Place and its Executive Director, Mary Guerrera, center. Pictured with Walker and Guerrera are, from left, Derrick Gordon, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry; Joy Kaufman, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry; and Jacob Tebes, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry. Read more

LaPaglia, Goldenberg, Penque run 2019 New York City Marathon


The Yale Department of Psychiatry was well represented at the 2019 New York City Marathon on November 3. Donna LaPaglia, PsyD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, and Matthew Goldenberg, MD, MSc, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, competed in the race, as did Brent Penque, MD, (not pictured) a Clinical Fellow in the department. LaPaglia, who has run four marathons, was among eight runners on the Center of Addiction team, which raised $50,000 for charity. Goldenberg was energized by the crowds along the route. "The city welcomed runners from around the world with such enthusiasm," he said. "It was so cool to be a part of such an iconic event that lived up to the hype." LaPaglia and Goldenberg credited Kirsten Wilkins, MD, and Louis Trevison, MD, department faculty, for encouraging them to run. "I remember asking Lou, 'How do you run a marathon?' Because at the time I couldn't fathom the distance. He said, 'Donna, one step at a time.' The beauty of that phrase is not lost on me as a person who has dedicated my career to treating addictions." Goldenberg also had pre-race support from colleague Brian Fuehrlein, MD, PhD, who volunteered at the medical tent at Mile 10.

Dwyer discusses suicide prevention in adolescents and young adults on Good Morning Connecticut


Jennifer Dwyer, MD, PhD, right, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and a former trainee in the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program, was a guest on the WTNH-News 8 program Good Morning Connecticut on September 10 with reporter Jocelyn Maminta, left. Dwyer provided advice to parents who think their children may be having suicidal thoughts. "Suicide is a very important public health issue. Now it's the second leading cause of death in adolescents and young adults," she said. "It's very important that we are having this conversation right now and thinking about what are the questions we need to be asking our kids and how do we get folks who are struggling to the help that they need and the treatments that we know do work." Dwyer's appearance coincided with World Suicide Prevention Day. Watch

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Friday, November 15, 2019; 10:15-11:30 am

Bridging Community and Civic Action and Public Health Aims and Evidence

Gary Belkin, MD, PhD, MPH, Visiting Scientist, Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health; Founder, Billion Minds Institute

CMHC Auditorium, 34 Park St.

Friday, November 22, 2019; 10:15-11:30 am

Bystander Intervention: Addressing Harassment and Bias at Work

Ada Gregory, Associate Director, The Kenan Institute for Ethics, Duke University

Yale Child Study Center, Cohen Auditorium, 230 South Frontage Road

Friday, November 29, 2019

No Grand Rounds

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