UW Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Newsletter, December 2016
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Message from the Chair

Dear friends and colleagues,

As we come to the end of 2016, I want to share my deepest appreciation and gratitude for all of your contributions to our work together. This year, we have worked hard to improve our financial strength and stability and our organizational communication and effectiveness. We have also invested in our clinical and research programs with a focus on our overall mission, to improve the health of the public. As I meet with new applicants to our training programs, I have the wonderful opportunity to talk about the many ways in which we work together to improve access to effective mental health care, to train and inspire the next generation of mental health professionals, and to discover solutions to the complex challenges faced by the millions of people who live with mental health and substance use problems every day.

Looking ahead, I believe that the single most important thing we can do strengthen our programs is to invest in our trainees, in our faculty, and our staff. This month, I have asked Deborah Cowley, MD, our Vice Chair for Faculty Development and Education, and Mark Snowden, MD, MPH, our Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs and the director of our department’s Diversity Committee, to share with you some of our efforts in investing in our future.

Under the leadership of Deborah Cowley, we have worked to strengthen mentorship for and by our faculty. Each incoming faculty member is now assigned a career mentor for guidance in identifying his/her interests, understanding faculty pathways and promotions requirements, and pursuing career development opportunities. Mentees are expected to meet with their career mentors at least every six months and to use the Individual Development Plan to structure these meetings and identify goals. A Mentorship Program page on the department intranet provides information about the mentorship program, tips for mentors and mentees, the Individual Development Plan form, and information about faculty pathways and promotion.

Mentoring is a crucial responsibility for senior faculty and provides an outstanding opportunity to nurture the next generation. In 2016, the newly formed Wayne J. Katon Outstanding Mentor Award was developed to recognize excellence in mentoring and was given to Raphe Bernier, PhD. A new workgroup headed by Jesse Markman, MD, has initiated a six-month Mentor Development Program that meets one morning per month to enhance faculty mentoring skills.

In the coming year, we will survey all of our junior faculty members to obtain feedback and suggestions for improvement in our mentorship program; for enhancing support and guidance about the promotions process; and for making the Mentor Development Program available to more faculty mentors. If you have any questions or thoughts about our department’s mentorship efforts, please contact Deb Cowley at

Along with other leaders at UW Medicine, we have made a strong commitment to value, celebrate, and increase the diversity of our faculty and staff. Our department’s Diversity Committee has conducted surveys of our faculty, residents and fellows. Information from these surveys has given us valuable suggestions for improving our faculty development and climate, for improving our mentorship efforts, and for addressing burnout that will benefit all of our faculty, staff, and trainees, not only those from underrepresented minority backgrounds. We are committed to having a culture and climate where all of our faculty, staff, and trainees feel safe and supported.

Increasing our diversity in all of its forms also has tremendous potential to help us achieve our mission: to improve the health of the public. In our educational programs, for example, we should balance clinical training with training on the social determinants of health and health inequities.

In addition to better appreciating the diversity in the populations we work with, we need to embrace diversity within ourselves. As is the case with many departments in the School of Medicine, our faculty is less diverse than our trainees. Persons of underrepresented minority backgrounds make up only 5% of the faculty compared to 19% of the residents and fellows who completed the survey and approximately 9% of the 2016 entering medical school class. This creates important opportunities for us to engage and interest students and trainees from underrepresented minority backgrounds in the important work we do. For example, we have created a robust diversity sub-internship program that helps medical students from underrepresented minority groups spend time working with our clinicians and teachers here at UW Medicine. We have also committed that faculty leadership responsible for hiring will reach out to residents and fellows from diverse backgrounds to assure they know about department openings and opportunities. The committee will work to educate faculty leaders on implicit bias as well as best practices regarding hiring.

In October, Mark Snowden had the opportunity to give a “Ted Talk” at a UW Leadership Development Institute that involved several hundred leaders at UW Medicine and chose to focus it on diversity. His presentation, “Excellence Demands Diversity and Diversity Demands Excellence,” can be viewed on the UW Medicine intranet for those of you who have a UW NetID (scroll down to the second video).

UW Medicine Capital Campaign
As we look ahead to the coming year, we are getting ready to join UW and UW Medicine in a campaign to raise philanthropic support for our mission. I look forward to sharing more about our department’s campaign and how all of us can become involved in the January Newsletter and throughout 2017.

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!


Diane Powers to Co-Chair UW Research Network
Jane Corkery Hahn Diane Powers, MA, Associate Director of Research, has been offered to co-chair the Research Administration Peer Network (RAPN) alongside Tommy LaFlamme from the Department of Pediatrics. RAPN, a sub-committee of the Medical School Administrators (MSA), provides a forum for research administration personnel to discuss challenges and opportunities related to University of Washington research. Powers and LaFlamme will lead the RAPN meetings in learning, discussion, and promotion of research administration topics. The co-chairs will also participate in the MSA Research Workgroup meetings. It’s a terrific opportunity for our department to partner with campus and central service representatives in sharing tools, developing best practices and strategically thinking of process and system improvements in research administration.

Change in Noncompetition Provisions in UWP/ CUMG Practice Plans
The UWP Board of Trustees recently voted to approve a request to reduce the noncompetition radius that is applied to faculty in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences from 30 miles (UWP) and 50 mile (CUMG) to 10 miles, with the radius determined from your main site of clinical practice. This applies to all faculty with full membership status in UWP or CUMG (assistant, associate, and full professors – regardless of faculty pathway). Acting instructors or acting assistant professors are ‘associate members’ and do not need to sign a noncompetition agreement as before. The board also approved a change in the way the non-compete provisions are applied when members with relatively small clinical practices (designated ‘de minimus’) leave UW. For questions concerning the UWP or CUMG Non-competition agreements contact Heather Hughes, MBA, Assistant Director of Clinical Analytics, at

Reminder to Junior Faculty: Fill Out Your Individual Development Plan!
Every junior faculty member should meet with his/her department mentor at least every six months to complete their Individual Development Plan (IDP), located on the Mentorship Program page of the department intranet. Junior faculty members should fill out the IDP in advance of the meeting, provide comments at the end of the form, and submit the IDP to Rachel Reichert, MA, Assistant Director of Human Resources. IDPs are then reviewed by Drs. Unützer, Cowley, and the faculty member's Chief of Service. This will help all of us to make sure you are on track for promotion. If you have any questions, please contact Rachel at

BRiTE Center Awarded CoMotion Innovation Fund, PCORI Grant
David Atkins, PhD and his team at the Behavioral Research in Technology and Engineering (BRiTE) Center received funding from CoMotion for their software that gives automated feedback to therapists delivering motivational interviewing. Called CORE-MI, the product uses speech transcription and machine learning to evaluate effectiveness of therapy sessions. The grant brings them one step closer toward commercializing the technology. Atkins and his team will use CORE-MI to help clinicians at Evergreen Treatment Services, a publically-funded opiate addiction treatment center, improve their training and effectiveness in their methadone clinic.

Atkins is also part of a large team that recently received a PCORI Methodology grant for a similar behavioral health technology innovation. The technology being developed will use algorithms to analyze conversations in primary care office visits and determine new ways of improving the quality of patient-doctor interactions.

Amanda Wood Site-PI for Study on Major Depressive Disorder
Amanda Wood, PhD, at the American Lake Division of the VA Puget Sound Health Care System was selected as the site-PI for an important study of pharmacogenetics testing for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. This multi-site, randomized trial funded by the VA Office of Research and Development will enroll 2,000 patients to study the impact of pharmacogenetics testing on treatment efficacy and the ability to avoid contraindicated medications.

GCP Training REQUIRED for NIH-funded Clinical Trials
Effective January 1, 2017 Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training is required by NIH for PIs and clinical trial staff for all NIH-funded clinical trials, including ongoing trials. The purpose of this new training requirement is to assure the safety, integrity, and quality of clinical trials. For more information, visit the Announcements section on the UW Human Subjects Division website (second item) or refer to this handout. Additional details can be found in the links provided. Please ask if you have questions about whether or not this pertains to your research and/or how to comply.

New Rules for NIH Appendix
Grant applications submitted to NIH after January 25, 2017 are subject to new rules regarding the type of materials that can be included as appendix. Details:

Interdisciplinary Program in Mental Health, Law and Research
Jennifer Piel, JD, MD, and Edward Goldenberg, PhD, presented their work on mentoring in research and forensic mental health at the Learning Communities Institute Annual Conference held at the University of Washington on Veteran's Day. Piel and Goldenberg created a unique curriculum focused on research skills and ethics for a course in psychiatry and the law (PBSCI-525). Students were grouped into mentorship teams with peers and a faculty member. The model promotes research collaboration and interdisciplinary teamwork to create a welcoming academic network. See a summary of their work.

Few medical schools offer training in research development and even fewer offer interdisciplinary opportunities. This course paves the way for similar research mentoring in other areas of medicine or psychiatry that can foster collaboration between disciplines in the professional research environment.

Kate Comtois, PhD, MPH Kate Comtois Honored for Suicide Prevention Training
On November 30, Forefront honored Kate Comtois, PhD, MPH, at its fourth annual suicide awareness dinner. For two decades, Comtois has offered Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) training to psychology and psychiatry residents at the UW. Her research extends to evaluating DBT in large healthcare systems such as UW Medicine.

In response to a 2012 legislative mandate, Comtois has been conducting training in Collaborative Assessment and Management for Suicidality (CAMS), a program that helps patients learn to self-manage factors of suicide risk. She is also the principal investigator on clinical trials to improve services to suicidal individuals.

Lucy Berliner, MSW, HCSATS Lucy Berliner named to Seattle Magazine’s Hall of Fame
Lucy Berliner, MSW, HCSATS, director of the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault and Traumatic Stress, was named to Seattle Magazine’s Hall of Fame in the “Research/Medicine/Science” category for being a trailblazer in the field of child sexual abuse and in training clinicians to assess and treat young sexual assault victims. Lucy works with victims of trauma and crime, and researches the impact and effects of trauma. “I am honored to be recognized for helping make the world a better place for victims,” said Lucy. “They so deserve it.” Full article
For upcoming events, please visit the Department calendar .
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