UW Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Newsletter, February 2017
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Message from the Chair

Dear friends and colleagues,

Harborview Medical Center is a cornerstone of our department’s mission to improve the health of the public through patient care, education, and research. Under the leadership of Mark Snowden, MD, MPH, vice chair for Clinical Services and chief of Psychiatry at HMC, our faculty and staff work tirelessly to support Harborview’s mission of providing healthcare for the most vulnerable residents of King County. Our Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES) team evaluates 5,000 patients per year, the Harborview Mental Health and Addiction Services provide over 80,000 patient contacts per year, and we manage three times more psychiatric inpatient beds than any nearby hospitals. Patients come to Harborview seeking help for serious challenges such as sexual assault and other traumatic life events, addiction, dementia, traumatic brain injury and suicide attempts related to severe depression, psychosis, and other serious mental disorders. Without behavioral health services at Harborview, many patients and families in King County would have nowhere else to turn for help.

In addition to serving as a critical safety net for disadvantaged and vulnerable patients with serious mental health and substance use problems, Harborview also serves as a crucial training ground for the next generation of mental health professionals in our region. Our Psychiatry clerkships and subinternships offer inpatient and outpatient experiences to introduce UW medical students to clinical psychiatry. We believe that there is no health without mental health and that every physician or other health care provider should have a basic understanding of how health behaviors, mental illness and substance use affect not only our mental health but also our overall health and our ability to lead healthy and productive lives. Our psychiatry residents rotate through the PES where they have the opportunity to evaluate and treat patients who present in crisis with a wide variety of underlying psychiatric illnesses. All of our trainees learn critical skills working with patients in primary care, trauma care, medical / surgical units, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric units, community health clinics, and nursing homes affiliated with HMC. Our faculty based at HMC have a wonderful team spirit and a tremendous commitment to inspiring and teaching the next generation of mental health professionals.

Harborview is also home to several of our most accomplished researchers and research programs, ranging from cutting edge Neuroscience research to world-class research in addictions, trauma psychiatry, efforts to improve the medical care of persons living with serious and persistent mental illness, and large-scale efforts to reduce suicides, to name only a few.

In order to better support our faculty at HMC, we are making a number of changes in our communications and staffing this spring in addition to improving upon existing structures.
  • A long-time member of our post-award support team, Sara Suom, is relocating to Harborview to allow for more face-to-face time with the Harborview-based research faculty she supports.
  • Diane Powers, MA, Associate Director for Research, and Alison Laing, Grants and Contracts Manager, will start spending one day a week at Harborview to work more closely with Harborview-based research faculty.
  • Heather Hughes, MBA, Assistant Director of Clinical Analytics, spends one day a week at Harborview working with Harborview-based clinical faculty.
  • Josh Webb, Senior Computer Specialist, is based at Harborview to provide desktop support as well as webcasting and conference support for UW Psychiatry Grand Rounds.
  • Mary Pyper, Assistant Director of Operations, is working to optimize space for all of the amazing research, training, and patient care happening at Harborview mentioned above.
  • Michele Norman, Program Support Supervisor II, supports daily Pat Steel administrative operations and our HMC Chief of Psychiatry, Mark Snowden, MD, MPH.
  • Gayle Schneider, Program Support Supervisor I, and Susan Taubeneck, Program Coordinator, work closely with Heidi Combs, MD, MS, and Paul Borghesani, MD, PhD, to manage the medical clerkship rotations.
This summer and fall, our work at Harborview will see increased attention due to a major UW Medicine fundraising event planned to benefit a new Behavioral Health Institute at HMC. We are developing an exciting vision for this new Institute. Serving as a comprehensive regional resource, the institute will:
  • Increase access to effective mental health care for patients and families in our region;
  • Build upon proven clinical, research and training programs and catalyze new ideas in early intervention care for young adults presenting with a first episode of psychosis, crisis intervention services, and telepsychiatry consultation;
  • Help us recruit and retain expert faculty and staff;
  • Expand community education and training of behavioral health professionals; and
  • Support research to find more effective treatments for mental health and addiction problems.
We are working closely with UW Medicine Advancement and leadership at both Harborview Medical Center and King County to develop fundraising goals and to identify programs that have the potential of benefitting from philanthropic support. Thank you to those who have helped in this visioning process already and to those who may be asked to help in the coming months. The Harborview Celebration event will be held on Friday, November 3.

We will continue to look for ways to improve collaboration and communication, not just with our Harborview-based faculty and staff but with faculty and staff at all of our department locations. With more than 1,000 faculty, trainees, and staff, this is a formidable challenge, but I believe we are making good progress. Our department’s administrative team and I are always eager to hear your ideas of how we can work together to be the best department we can be.


Jagoda Pasic To Transition from PES
Jagoda PasicJagoda Pasic, MD, PhD, will be stepping out of her role as medical director for the Harborview Psychiatry Emergency Service (PES). Jagoda has been the medical director of the PES since 2003 and over the past 13 years has guided the program through important changes including establishing 24/7 attending psychiatry presence, inclusion of Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners to the interdisciplinary team of physicians, social workers, nurses and mental health specialists, and establishing procedures for care of increasing numbers of patients boarding in the PES due to shortages of community inpatient psychiatry beds. She developed an extensive emergency psychiatry curriculum for psychiatry residents and has become a national leader in emergency room psychiatry with more than a dozen papers and book chapters in this area and participation on several national committees focused on emergency psychiatry.

Dr. Pasic will be serving in the medical director role until an interim or permanent PES medical director is selected. She will continue to work in the department and is exploring opportunities to serve as a psychiatric consultant in our integrated care programs, and to work in the Harborview Mental Health center and will continue her work with mentorship and faculty development in clinician educator and clinical pathways at Harborview. We gratefully thank her for her many years of dedicated service in one of our most challenging service areas.

We are launching a search for filling the PES director role. If you are a current faculty who is interested, or if you know of someone you think could be a good fit, please contact Mark Snowden at

Welcome to Dror Ben-Zeev
Dror Ben-ZeevOur newest research faculty recruitment brings us Dror Ben-Zeev, PhD, from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. Dr. Ben-Zeev is an internationally recognized and well-funded expert in the use of mobile health technology to improve the lives of individuals living with severe and persistent mental illness. He has led and co-led multiple mHealth studies including development and testing of the first smartphone intervention for schizophrenia, the largest and longest implementation of an mHealth program for relapse prevention in psychosis, and successful field trials of multi-modal behavioral sensing technology in outpatient and inpatient hospital settings.

Dr. Ben-Zeev is the Director of the mHealth for Mental Health Program, a multidisciplinary effort to harness mobile technology to improve the outcomes and support the recovery of people with psychiatric conditions, and has recently been named editor of a new column called “Technology in Mental Health” in Psychiatric Services (read his inaugural article). Dr. Ben-Zeev will work with David Atkins, PhD, and colleagues in the Behavioral Research in Technology and Engineering (BRiTE) Center and with colleagues at HMC, adding strength to our growing research program in technology and mental health and our efforts to improve the lives of those living with serious and persistent mental illness. He started at the University of Washington on February 1 and can be reached at

Molly Vinson Joins Department Operations Team
Molly VinsonMolly Vinson has joined the department operations team and will be focusing on facilities, procurement, and system improvements as well as helping with internal and external communications. She is taking on many of the roles Miranda Qassis previously performed as well as new ones. Molly comes to us with extensive experience in small business management and Quality Assurance testing for web applications. Originally from Cleveland, she enjoys live music, cooking, and reading in her free time. She has stepped in with flying colors and we greatly appreciate her willingness to tackle all manner of projects and duties. You can contact Molly at

Book Corner: Telemental Health and Deliberate Practice
A Practitioner's Guide to Telemental Health
How to Conduct Legal, Ethical, and Evidence-Based Telepractice
As telecommunication technologies have become more sophisticated and affordable, they have expanded opportunities for behavioral and mental health professionals to provide quality care. Many of the skills needed for competent telepractice are the same as those provided in conventional in-office care. However, physical distance, as well as technology itself, can create challenges to safe and ethical practice. Affiliate associate professor David D. Luxton, PhD, MS, has co-authored a new book that outlines best practices in telemental health.

Deliberate Practice for Psychotherapists:
A Guide to Improving Clinical Effectiveness
Tony Rousmaniere, PsyD, one of our clinical faculty members, has a new book out which explores how to use deliberate practice to improve clinical effectiveness. By sourcing through decades of research on how experts in diverse fields achieve skill mastery, he proposes it is possible for any therapist to dramatically improve their effectiveness. Dr. Rousmaniere will be giving a presentation on this top to the psychiatry residents in May.

Consortium Projects Tackle Lewy Body Dementia
Debby Tsuang, MD, is site-PI of two recently funded consortium projects trying to identify biomarkers in Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). LBD is comprised of dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia. The combination of cognitive and motor impairment makes these conditions difficult to treat. On neuropathological examination, LBD is associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain leading to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood.

These two studies aim to collect cerebrospinal fluid, DNA, RNA, and plasma biomarkers to help differentiate people with Lewy Body Dementias from other dementing disorders. The “Plasma biomarkers in Lewy body disease” collaborative project is funded by the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), and the “Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium” is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

NIDA-funded Study Evaluates Suicide Prevention Program
Studies consistently show suicide and suicidal behaviors are highly related to substance use disorders (SUDs). In fact, recent reviews find that the risk of suicide is 10-17 times higher for people using multiple drugs, injecting drugs, and for alcohol use disorders. Pilot testing of Preventing Addiction Related Suicide (PARS), a psychoeducational suicide prevention program developed by Rick Ries, MD, demonstrated significant post-intervention increases in client knowledge of suicide and decreases in maladaptive attitudes toward suicide. The likelihood of positive help seeking to prevent suicide for themselves as well as for a friend and for family all doubled for the month after the program compared to the month before.

A new Stage III effectiveness trial led by Kate Comtois, PhD, MPH, aims to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of PARS utilizing a novel, randomized stepped wedge design with 900 clients in 15 community addiction treatment sites across Washington. PARS is taught as a single 3-hour module integrated into a standard group therapy-oriented Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), the most common form of community drug abuse treatment. If proven effective, PARS will allow community addiction treatment agencies to be key players in the national suicide prevention strategy by providing accurate suicide prevention information, improving attitudes toward suicide, and increasing help-seeking skills to one of the most high-risk suicidal populations in the country. The study is being funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

New Seminar Series:
Fundamental Lectures on Neurodegenerative Disorders

Elaine Peskind, MD, will host a new seminar series, Fundamental Lectures on Neurodegenerative Disorders: Current Perspectives in Clinical, Basic, and Translational Research. This new series will be held every other month at the Seattle Division, Puget Sound VA and is an outgrowth of the new Alzheimer's Disease T-32 Training Program that provides interdisciplinary training for basic science, clinical, and translational researchers. Dr. Peskind will present the first lecture in the series, Advances in Diagnosis and Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease, on Monday, February 27 from 12-1 PM. We will include this new lecture series on our department calendar. For questions, please contact the GRECC Administrative Office at 206-764-2308 or

Puget Sound VA Offering Same-Day Mental Health Care for Vets
The Puget Sound VA has recently taken steps to provide same-day mental health care for Veterans in accordance with the MyVA Access Initiative, announced last April. This initiative is a reaffirmation of the core mission to offer prompt and flexible quality care to Veterans. It not only focuses on same-day access, but also on improving primary care and mental health integration, and providing same-day referrals for suicide prevention. Any Veteran reporting or identified as being in crisis (including suicidality) will receive an immediate crisis response. Additionally, all Veterans new to mental health care who request or are referred for in-person care will be seen that day by a licensed independent provider (LIP) to screen and address all immediate care needs. Veterans already established in mental health care who self-identify a need for attention will be seen in person the same day by an LIP to address immediate care need. The Puget Sound VA provides open access/same-day mental health services at all of their VA-managed facilities, including outpatient services.

Match Results in for 2017-18 Psychology Residents
We have again recruited a wonderful class of new residents (14) thanks to the efforts of an amazing team: Elizabeth McCauley, PhD, and Ty Lostutter, PhD, Co-Directors of the Psychology Internship Program; track coordinators Gretchen Gudmundsen, Phd (Child), Michele Bedard-Gilligan, PhD, MS (Adult), and Chuck Bombardier, PhD (Behavioral Medicine/Neuropsychology); Program Coordinator Sally Burgdorff; Educational Suite Staff including Athena Wong, Charisa Lantin, and Liz Tyson; and to all of the faculty, fellows and residents who helped in all aspects of the application process, Open House and meetings with applicants. Their efforts, collegiality and generosity make this internship the type of program that can attract such wonderful trainees! Our new residents in each track for 2017-2018 are:

Child Track:
  • Jennifer Blossom (University of Kansas)
  • Stephanie Brewer (Loyola University of Chicago)
  • Heather Makover (Temple University)
  • Lexa Murphy (Vanderbilt University)
Adult Track:
  • Jennifer Belus (University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill)
  • Skye Fitzpatrick (Ryerson University)
  • Elizabeth Marks (University of Washington)
Behavioral Medicine/Neuropsychology Track:
  • Jennifer Altman (University of Louisville)
  • Robert Bailey (University of New Mexico)
  • Samantha DeDios Stern (Illinois Institute of Technology)
  • Shreela Palit (University of Tulsa)
  • Ariana Tart-Zelvin (Idaho State University)
  • Juliann Thompson (Brigham Young University)
  • Krystal Trout (East Carolina University)
Welcome to Incoming Fellows
We also have new fellows to announce for three of our psychiatry fellowship programs:

Addictions Psychiatry Fellowship, directed by Andy Saxon, MD
  • Kathleen E. Rean, MD (University of Washington)
  • Robert “Ty” Reidenbaugh, MD (West Virginia University)
  • Juvraj Padda, MD (East Carolina University Brody School of Medicine)
Geriatric Psychiatry Fellowship, directed by Lucy Wang, MD
  • Tarandeep Grewal, MD (University of Oklahoma)
Integrated Care Fellowship, directed by Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD
  • Ashley Davidson, MD (University of Washington)
UW PACC is Saving Lives
The UW Psychiatric and Addictions Case Conference (UW PACC) series began on July 7, 2016. This weekly videoconference series, led by addiction psychiatrists Mark Duncan, MD, and Rick Ries, MD, and with new panelist clinical psychologist Kari Stephens, PhD, is designed to train the Integrated Care fellows to deliver a regional peer learning and support network for treating mental health and addictions. In addition, the program offers telehealth resource support to build the confidence and skills of providers (especially primary care) who care for these often complex patients. Since its inception, 157 individuals have participated from 15 counties in Washington, totaling 1,211 hours of training. A total of 36 challenging cases have been presented by 24 providers, allowing the provider to receive feedback on the case from other participants, including our expert panel.

The program is having an immediate impact. One participant calls UW PACC an “incredible resource to any rural health care provider” and another notes the benefit of collaboration with not only the UW psychiatric experts, but with fellow providers as well. Amy Burns, MD, Psychiatry Clinic Director at Spokane Teaching Health Clinic, says she prescribed intra nasal Narcan (naloxone) to all her high-risk patients after learning about it in a UW PACC session. She continues, “Last week, one of my patients relayed that he saved his friend’s life with the Narcan! The info that I got from UW PACC is hitting the streets of Spokane, WA and saving lives. Bravo. Together, we are a great team.”

If you are interested in learning more about the series, please email or visit the UW PACC webpage. Please also feel free to share this resource with any PCPs and Mental Health Providers in your network. UW PACC is sponsored by the UW Integrated Care Training Program (ICTP), funded and supported by the Washington State Legislature through the Safety-Net Hospital Assessment, working to expand access to psychiatric services throughout the State of Washington.

Children’s Evidence-Based Practices in Washington
On March 2nd, UW faculty and staff will convene for a meeting related to Children’s Evidence Based Practices in Washington. Experts will share various local and state-wide activities related to implementing evidence based practices, address how to advocate for each other’s work externally, and discuss potential avenues for inter-agency collaboration. Faculty and staff from the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy (PBHJP), Seattle Children’s Hospital, the School Mental Health Assessment, Research & Training (SMART) Center and the Advancing Integrating Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center will participate.

Eric Trupin and Son Receive the Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award
The Center for Children and Youth Justice (CCJY) is honoring Eric Trupin, PhD, and his son, Casey Trupin, with the Norm Maleng Advocate for Youth Award at the annual CCJY breakfast in March. The Maleng Advocate for Youth Award recognizes those who show exemplary leadership, dedication, advocacy for and commitment to the youth and families of Washington who become involved in our juvenile justice and/or child welfare systems. The father-son honorees share a legacy of work in shaping better outcomes for systems youth.

Eric Trupin has had a life-long commitment to seeking improvements for children in the justice system. He is an ardent advocate for at-risk youth, writing and getting legislation passed to improve outcomes for children. Casey shares his father’s commitment to social justice and is currently a special advisor to the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Commission on Homelessness and Poverty. A fierce sense for justice is a family trait for the Trupins. As Casey shares, his father helped him “understand why it’s important to focus on systems reform, and why it’s important to help young people.”

“I’m very proud to be receiving this recognition with my son whose work on issues of social justice has improved the lives of so many children and families,” says Dr. Trupin. We appreciate the great work that both Trupins do and congratulate them on this much-deserved award.

Brenna Renn, Kate Hoerster Honored by the Society of Behavioral Medicine
The Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) honored Brenna Renn, PhD, with the Distinguished Student Award for her outstanding potential to make significant contributions in behavioral medicine via attendance at the SBM Annual Meeting. Dr. Renn has attended the SBM Annual Meeting since 2012 and recently served as the Annual Meeting Coordinator for the SBM Student Special Interest Group (2015-2016) and as Student Representative for the SBM Aging Special Interest Group (2012-2013). Her research has resulted in 12 presentations at these meetings, including an upcoming symposium on physical activity interventions in older adults in which she is serving as both chair and presenter. Dr. Renn will be recognized at the Presidential Keynote Address during the 2017 SBM Annual Meeting in San Diego. She is a senior fellow in the Geriatric Mental Health Services Research Fellowship program and is working closely with Patricia Areán, PhD.

The same organization awarded Katherine (Kate) Hoerster, PhD, MPH, with their Early Career Investigator Award. Dr. Hoerster is an investigator at the Seattle VA’s Center of Innovation for Veteran-Centered and Value-Driven Care and Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, providing care to Veterans in the Seattle VA’s PTSD Clinic. Kate’s work focuses on understanding and addressing the influence of socio-cultural and environmental factors on health and health behavior, particularly among Veterans with psychiatric conditions. She has first- or co-authored over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts, many of which are in highly ranked journals, including American Journal of Public Health, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and Preventive Medicine. She is currently funded with a five-year VA HSR&D Career Development Award focused on studying MOVE!+UP, a peer-led behavioral weight loss intervention for Veterans with PTSD.

Congratulations to you both!
For upcoming events, please visit the Department calendar .
Copyright © 2017 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington. All rights reserved.
University of Washington
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
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Seattle, WA 98195

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