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Sen. Blumenthal meets with faculty, media to discuss vaping epidemic


U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., held a news conference with Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty and scientists on September 16 to learn more about the department's research into the effects of vaping and e-cigarette use. Blumenthal has promoted legislation to combat the rise in e-cigarette use among teens through funding for enhanced research, community grants, and the development of evidence-based policies. At right is Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, who with Stephanie O'Malley, PhD, Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry, directs the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science. The center investigates the influence of flavors, sweeteners, and other additives on the appeal and addictive potential of traditional tobacco products and e-cigarettes. With many in government calling for a crackdown on vaping products due to a spike in vaping-related illness, Blumenthal asked for a meeting with Yale researchers to better understand the science of e-cigarettes. He called for a ban on all flavored e-cigarette products at the news conference. Watch video reports from the news conference

Yale Imaging and Psychopharmacology Lab featured in journal article

Research by the Yale Imaging and Psychopharmacology Lab was featured in a Nature Outlook article about opioid addiction. Sarah Yip, PhD, left, is director of the lab. She has investigated addiction in terms of whole-brain connectivity by using the brain's connectome - neural networks that stretch across regions of the brain. Her colleague Sarah Lichenstein, PhD, right, a postdoc in the lab, has led some of the opioid research referenced in the Nature Outlook article. Read more  

Opioid treatment for teens? Medications can help

Srinivas Muvvala, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Deepa Camenga, MD, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine, are co-authors of a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs that found teens who misuse opioids might benefit from opioid treatment medications. Studies show only 2 to 5 percent of teens with an opioid use disorder receive medication treatment. "Parents should try to consult with a healthcare provider ... to see if medications may benefit their child," Camenga said. Read more 

Radhakrishnan named Associate Editor of Journal of Dual Diagnosis

Rajiv Radhakrishnan, MBBS, MD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, has been named Associate Editor of the Journal of Dual Diagnosis. The journal is a quarterly international publication that focuses on the full spectrum of complexities related to dual diagnosis. It publishes articles and perspectives from psychopharmacology and neurobiology, psychotherapy and psychosocial issues, services and policy, and clinical forum. Its target audience includes researchers, physicians, clinicians, trainees, administrators, and policy makers. Read more  

Yarnell-Mac Grory to serve on Rhode Island Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force

Stephanie Yarnell-Mac Grory, MD, PhD, Clinical Instructor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, has been elected to serve on Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force. A former trainee at Yale, Yarnell-Mac Grory will be a direct advisor on addictions policy, especially around the opioid epidemic. She is an expert in addictions, having completed a fellowship in Addiction Psychiatry at Yale in 2019. The task force, which meets monthly, has set a goal to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Rhode Island by one-third within three years. Read more  

Pollard named Maine's Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Jessica Pollard, PhD, has left Yale (where she was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical Director of the Specialized Treatment Early in Psychosis Clinic) to became Director of Maine's Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Pollard, a native of Maine, said, "I am thrilled to be back in my home state doing what I love - working to ensure access to high-quality, evidence-based services for all Mainers with mental health challenges and substance use disorders." Last year, according to published reports, Maine saw 354 drug overdose deaths, or nearly one per day. Read more  

NIH honors Picciotto with Pioneer Award for research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has honored Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, with its Pioneer Award. The award recognizes scientists who have a history of creative research. Picciotto will receive $3.5 million in research funding over the next five years. The award is part of the NIH's "High Risk, High Reward" program, which was launched in the hopes of accelerating groundbreaking research in the biomedical and behavioral fields. Read more  

Jordan, Ravven recognized with AMA Inspiration Award

Ayana Jordan, MD, PhD, left, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Simha Ravven, MD, right, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, are recipients of the American Medical Association (AMA) Inspiration Award. The award, presented by the AMA's Women Physicians Section, honors and acknowledges physicians who have offered their time, wisdom, and support throughout the professional careers of fellow physicians, residents, and students. Jordan and Ravven were among nearly 50 women and men in medicine honored by the AMA this year. Read more  

De Aquino selected to participate in Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars Program

João P. De Aquino, MD, Staff Addiction Psychiatrist and Advanced Fellow in Mental Illness Research and Treatment at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System and Yale School of Medicine, has been selected for the Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars (RAMS) Program at Boston University School of Medicine. The two-year program helps physicians develop skills in addiction research. It trains the next generation of addiction physician researchers to provide better care for patients with and at risk for substance use disorders. Read more  

Cook: 'When men are sexually abused in the military'

Joan Cook, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, is co-author of a letter to the editor in the October 2 New York Times titled, "When Men Are Sexually Abused in the Military." Cook is the principal investigator of a study looking at how to encourage sexual and gender minority men to engage in treatment for past sexual abuse. In the letter, Cook commends the newspaper for its coverage of incidents of sexual assault of men in the military and the pain associated with it. "For too long, this experience has been denied or minimized," she wrote. Read more  

From generation to generation: Rethinking 'soul wounds' and historical trauma

Stefanie Gillson, MD, a third-year resident in the Yale Department of Psychiatry, wrote about the need for clinicians to acknowledge and appreciate the biological implications of historical trauma in a commentary in Biological Psychiatry. "We need to increase our understanding of those who suffer from their ancestors' traumatic experiences," she wrote. "This insight is critical for developing treatment strategies and methods to better target the current impact of past generational harm." The writing was produced in collaboration with the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative. Read more  

Yale researchers join with Penn Medicine to create new center to study opioid use disorders

Robert Malison, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Clinical Neuroscience Research Unit, is collaborating with other Yale School of Medicine researchers and scientists at Penn Medicine to create a new center that focuses on neuroimaging to improve our understanding of opioid use disorders and to find new treatments. The newly created Penn PET Addiction Center of Excellence (Penn PACE) will use positron emission tomography imaging to investigate the neurobiological changes associated with opioid use disorder. Read more  

Geriatric psychiatric unit opens at Westerly Hospital

Westerly Hospital, an affiliate of Yale New Haven Health, has opened an 18-bed unit for inpatient geriatric psychiatric care. Officials and hospital representatives gathered for a ribbon cutting ceremony September 20 to mark completion of the $4.8 million unit. The unit symbolizes Yale New Haven's desire to make a difference in the community, said Michael Holmes, the system's senior vice president of operations and leader of its behavioral health service line, in an interview with The Westerly Sun. Peter Morgan, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, attended the ceremony and welcomed guests. He is Chair of Psychiatry at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital in New London. Read more  

Yale COPE Project to study how people control their voice-hearing experiences

A new program, the Yale COPE Project, will help Yale Department of Psychiatry researchers and collaborators better understand how some people can exert control over their voice-hearing experiences in order to help live fully functional and productive lives. Albert Powers, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Medical Director of the Yale PRIME Psychosis Prodrome Research Clinic, and Brittany Quagan, MS, LPC, a therapist at the PRIME Clinic and Powers' lab manager, are co-directing Yale COPE. Read more  

Picciotto discusses science behind vaping-related illnesses on Australian TV news program

Marina Picciotto, PhD, Charles B.G. Murphy Professor of Psychiatry and Professor in the Child Study Center, of Neuroscience and of Pharmacology, was a guest on the Australian television news program Planet America. She discussed the possible science behind the recent outbreak of vaping-related illnesses on an episode titled, "What's Killing America's Vapers?" Picciotto is an investigator with the Yale Tobacco Center of Regulatory Science, which researches the influence of flavors and other factors on preference for and addiction to tobacco products. Watch  

NIH Pain Consortium: A Q&A with Robert Kerns, PhD

Robert Kerns, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, of Neurology, and of Psychology, was interviewed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Pain Consortium for a Q&A website feature about a multi-year pain management study that he helps to direct. Researchers are studying how to manage chronic pain in veterans and active military members without the use of drugs, addressing a gap between science and clinical practice. Kerns, a recognized expert in pain management and clinical and health services research targeting veterans, is a member of the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee of the NIH. Read more  

A new way forward for pain relief

Irina Esterlis, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Molecular Imaging Program for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, is profiled in an article about new studies by Women's Health Research at Yale into treatment of pain with alternatives that avoid the inherent risks of opioid medications. Esterlis is studying a biological target to see if it might offer a non-addictive alternative to relieve chronic pain in women. "We must develop new ways to effectively treat chronic pain without the risk of addiction" she said. Read more  

Addy's work featured in NPR story on nicotine and its effect on the brain

Nii Addy, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, spoke to NPR in October for a story about vaping and its effect on teenage brains. Addy and his research team studied rats that drank plain and flavored liquids that contain nicotine. "What we found is that the sweet flavors can make the nicotine more palatable in the oral cavity, but also act in the brain to increase nicotine taking," Addy told NPR. He added that the effect is especially troubling in a teenage brain which is more sensitive than an adult brain to rewards. Read more  

Are young Connecticut smokers being forced to quit cold turkey?

Grace Kong, PhD, left, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Lisa Fucito, PhD, right, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, spoke to the New Haven Register for a story about a new Connecticut law that raises the legal age to purchase tobacco from 18 to 21. Fucito said restricting access to tobacco products can "dramatically help people quit" while Kong said there is a good argument to be made against grandfathering 18, 19, and 20 year olds into the law. Read more 

Heapy awarded grant through NIH HEAL Initiative

Alicia Heapy, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, was among four faculty at Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Public Health to be awarded a grant through the National Institutes of Health Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (NIH HEAL). The program aims to improve treatments for chronic pain, curb the rates of opioid use disorder and overdose, and achieve long-term recovery from opioid addiction. Heapy is a clinical psychologist with expertise in psychological interventions for chronic pain. Read more  

Barry, fellow Yale researchers awarded grant to study sleep deficiency and opioid use disorder

Declan Barry, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, is among the Yale School of Medicine and Yale School of Nursing faculty members awarded a grant through the National Institutes of Health Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative to study sleep deficiency and opioid use disorder (OUD). Using fMRI brain imgaging, the study will examine functional brain connectivity across different brain regions to identify biomarkers that will uncover neuro-biologic mechanisms linking sleep deficiency and OUD that can be used in the future development and testing of novel therapeutic approaches. Read more 

Special Events

Workshops to feature diversity, inclusivity at Women's Mental Health Conference at Yale

From human trafficking and immigration to pregnancy loss, LGBT mental health, and gender-based violence, the Women's Mental Health Conference at Yale on October 25 will feature 17 workshops that highlight the breadth and diversity of mental health issues in women. At least five sessions are led by world-class researchers and clinicians in their field. Another five are led or co-led by a trainee or student, and three will be presented by community groups from the greater New Haven area. The sessions will be held in the afternoon following a keynote talk by Eve Ensler, Tony-award winning playwright and author of "The Vagina Monologues." Learn more  

Alumni Spotlight

Google Doodle recognizes Herbert Kleber, who changed how we view drug addiction

The late Dr. Herbert Kleber, a former Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty member and graduate of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program, became the face of Google on October 1 when the technology company featured him in its daily Google Doodle. Kleber joined the Yale faculty in 1968 and founded and headed the Drug Dependence Unit, which had a transformative local and national impact on substance abuse treatment and research. Kleber and his team introduced opiate maintenance treatment, cognitive behavioral treatments, and other innovations. He left Yale in 1989 to become Deputy Director for Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy in the Bush White House. He later moved to Columbia University where he created the Division of Substance Abuse. He passed away while vacationing with his family in Greece on October 5, 2018. He was 84. Read more  

Krystal keynote speaker at 25th Music Festival for Brain Health


John H. Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry, was the keynote speaker at the 25th Music Festival for Brain Health on September 14 in Napa Valley, California. The festival is a benefit for One Mind, which guides, supports, and facilitates promising and collaborative brain research. It is held at the Staglin Family Vineyard and includes a scientific symposium and concert which this year was headlined by nine-time Grammy Award recipient Sheryl Crow. Read more

Department's Psychology Section hosts Psychology Education Day at Yale West Campus


The Yale Department of Psychiatry's Psychology Section held its first Psychology Education Day on September 17 at Yale West Campus Conference Center. The theme of the day-long continuing education conference was professional development across the career. Sessions focused on psychologists' professional growth related to research and scholarship, consulting, and clinical skills. Pictured clockwise from top left, Allison Ponce, PhD, Conference Chair, and Rajita Sinha, PhD, Chief Psychologist, welcomed the attendees. Ponce, John Krystal, MD, Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry; Robin Masheb, PhD, Senior Research Scientist in Psychiatry; and Sinha gathered before the conference. Samuel Ball, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, delivered the keynote talk titled, "Mentoring Essentials and Aspirations in Academia." Krystal thanked the committee that organized the conference, which was open to faculty and trainees in the Psychology Section. Among those who attended were Elizabeth Connors, PhD, left, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, and Amber Childs, PhD, right, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Director of Clinical Training for the Doctoral Internship in Clinical and Community Psychology.

Connecticut Latino Behavioral Health System: The power of collaboration in mental health care


Michelle Silva, PsyD, pictured third from left, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, has found her calling: to promote health equity among vulnerable and under-served immigrant communities. And if she's learned one thing, it's that this work cannot be done alone. Silva specializes in collaboration, which she says is a key to building an accessible, effective mental health care system. As the number of Latinx people living in Connecticut has grown over the past several years, including in New Haven, Silva and her colleagues in the Hispanic Clinic at Connecticut Mental Health Center have witnessed firsthand the need for culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health care. So she helped to establish the Connecticut Latino Behavioral Health System (LBHS), an umbrella program that increases local capacity to serve Spanish-speaking community members, many of whom have complex mental health needs. LBHS creates infrastructure through partnership. It is based at the CMHC Hispanic Clinic (a clinical site of the Yale Department of Psychiatry) and is funded by the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. LBHS supports staff positions and provides professional consultation, enabling Spanish-speaking clinicians to work with Latinx clients at several organizations in New Haven. Pictured with Silva are members of LBHS, from left, Mariana Nicholls, MA; Sarah Finke, LCSW; Michelle Silva, PsyD; Eric Frazer, PsyD; Andrea Mendiola, MD; and Jose Layedra, MA, AADC, MATS. Read more

Yuen, Javier main discussants at Suicide Prevention Week event at Asian American Culture Center at Yale


Eunice Yuen, MD, PhD, third from right, a fifth-year resident in the Solnit Integrated Training Program, and Frances Javier, MD, center, a second-year Solnit resident, were the main discussants at the Asian American Culture Center at Yale's (AACC) Suicide Prevention Week event "Breaking the Silence" on September 13. They led small group discussions on how culture and ethnicity, especially cross-generation cultural identity differences between students and their parents, and gender and economic status may contribute to thinking about mental health for Yale students. Participants also shared their perspectives on mental health, its nuances within the Asian American community, and its manifestations within universities such as Yale. Pictured with Yuen and Javier are, from left, Joliana Yee, director of AACC; Herman Peng, undergraduate student of lifestyle and mental health team at AACC; Sheraz Iqbal, assistant director of AACC; Kevin Chen, undergraduate student of lifestyle and mental health team at AACC; and Tasnia Khan, undergraduate student of lifestyle and mental health team at AACC.

Department hosts orientation for new faculty members


Cindy Crusto, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Assistant Chair for Diversity, spoke about diversity, equity, and inclusion at the annual Yale Department of Psychiatry New Faculty Orientation on September 23. The department sponsors the session every fall so new faculty can learn more about the offices of faculty affairs, medical education, human resources, communications and marketing, pre- and post-award research, and clinical administration. Information was also provided about diversity, equity, and inclusion and the department's psychology section.

Krystal speaks at meeting of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine


John Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Professor of Translational Research and Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry, spoke at a meeting of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on September 23 in Washington, D.C. Krystal is Co-Director of the Neuroscience Forum of the National Academies. He is pictured with Story Landis, PhD, center, former Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and incoming Co-Director Frances Jensen, MD, right, Chair of Neurology, Penn Medicine.

Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Friday, October 18, 2019

No Grand Rounds

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

Women: Moving From Surviving to Thriving

Eve Ensler, Tony-award winning playwright, author of "The Vagina Monologues," performer, activist

Mary S. Harkness Auditorium, 333 Cedar St.

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