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April 2021

Message from the Chair

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we enter the homestretch of this most unusual academic year, I am deeply grateful for the tremendous work everyone has done. I am also energized by the continued support of our community and our policy makers and by the exciting new programs we are building to support our faculty and staff and to accomplish our mission in the years ahead.

During the recently concluded legislative session, Washington legislators appropriated more than $200 million to complete the construction of a 150-bed new Behavioral Health Teaching Facility (BHTF) on the UWMC Northwest Hospital Campus that is slated to open in the Fall of 2023. Legislators also committed additional resources for the redesign of our existing Geriatric Psychiatry unit at UWMC Northwest, with a plan for construction of additional adult psychiatry beds during the next biennium (2023-25). The new BHTF will also include a state-of-the art neuromodulation unit and our 24/7 state-wide Psychiatry Consultation Line. Legislators also authorized funding for the expansion of our psychiatry residency and child psychiatry fellowship programs, our state-wide Integrated Care Training programs, our existing consultation programs (PCL, PAL, and PAL for Moms), and for crucial training and technical assistance programs operated by the department’s Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI), the Evidence-Based Practice Institute (EBPI), the UW Medicine Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview (BHI), and other programs. I am deeply grateful to our legislature for their efforts to improve behavioral health services across the state and to our faculty and staff who are making the most of these opportunities to help improve the health of the public.

Over the past year, we have been working on a range of efforts focused on  Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and we recently launched an EDI page on our department website to try and capture some of this work. This work is never complete and we have much left to do. Please reach out to me or any of our department leaders if you have suggestions for our work in this area and to Becky Sladek ( if you have suggestions or for the new page on our website. We are also exploring the creation of an EDI committee for staff and if you are interested in shaping what that would look like, please reach out to Semhar Abraha (

We have started to work with our research faculty to encourage and support the pursuit of NIH Diversity Supplements and we are also exploring the possibility of department-funded minority supplements to help increase diversity among our research teams and to support research that focuses on reducing inequities and disparities in behavioral health. We are also contemplating a new departmental research award that would support clinician scientists who are committed to starting careers in clinical or translational research. More to come on this as we get this new program off the ground.

On the education side, we are launching a new Clinical Psychology Fellowship that will create an opportunity for graduates of our Psychology Internship Program to further develop their clinical expertise while providing much-needed psychotherapy in our clinical programs. Jon Reeves will join us as our first Clinical Psychology Fellow and we are thrilled to welcome him on board.

Finally, please take a moment to consider nominating your colleagues for one of our annual faculty and staff awards. We are working to streamline the application process for these awards, and I appreciate your help with acknowledging and celebrating our colleagues who are making amazing contributions to the success of our clinical, research, training, and mentoring programs. Please take a moment to review the summary of each award and how to nominate people. Thank you!


In Memory: Bruce Gage
Bruce Gage, PhD, our colleague, mentor and friend, passed away this month. A Clinical Associate Professor in our department, Dr. Gage devoted his career to advancing psychiatric care for individuals with mental illness and criminal justice system involvement. He inspired hundreds of mental health professionals during his prolific career as a leader in psychiatric training and practice.

Dr. Gage’s mark on our state is both undeniable and indelible. Among his many professional roles and accomplishments, Dr. Gage most recently served as the Chief of Psychiatry for the Washington State Department of Corrections. He previously held the position of Director of Forensic Services and Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Director at Western State Hospital. He routinely lectured on topics of forensic and correctional psychiatry and worked to improve care delivery in correctional and other secure settings.

Dr. Gage has been described as a tremendous clinician, educator, and mentor. He demonstrated compassion and advocacy for vulnerable members of our society, most notably persons getting psychiatric care within correctional facilities. In recognition of his work, the Center of Forensic Services at Western State Hospital was renamed the Bruce Gage Center of Forensic Science. The Center for Mental Health, Policy, and the Law (CMHPL) directed by Jennifer Piel, PhD, has set up the Bruce Gage Annual Lecture in Forensic Mental Health to honor Dr. Gage and to carry on his work. CMHPL endeavors to carry forward Dr. Gage’s pursuit of improving psychiatric care, education, and training in our state. If you would like to donate to the lectureship, you may do so at

Please help us welcome our new faculty and staff!

Sarah Avery-Leaf, PhD, joined the department in March 2021 as a Clinical Associate Professor and Licensed Clinical Psychologist. Dr. Avery-Leaf will be working at the Outpatient Psychiatry clinic where she will be mostly doing patient care with some teaching and training. She received her BA in Women’s Studies at University of Colorado, Boulder and her PhD at The University at Stony Brook. Dr. Avery-Leaf comes to the department with a broad range of clinical and academic positions over many years. She had a solo practice in New Hampshire for 17 years with a focus on divorce and high conflict couples. Her interest includes criminal and civil forensic work and ethics, as she helped establish the first psychologist licensing board in New Hampshire. Outside of work, Dr. Avery-Leaf enjoys alpine and telemark skiing and marathon running. If you would like to reach out to Dr. Avery-Leaf and say hello, her email is

Anna Duncan joined the department in March 2021 as a Program Coordinator for the CoLab for Community & Behavioral Health Policy. Prior to joining CoLab, Anna worked for two and a half years at LifeWire as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and their children. In this position, she co-directed the Children’s Domestic Violence Response Team, a wraparound partnership program aimed at bridging the gap between behavioral health services and domestic violence survivor advocacy. Additionally, she previously worked as a research coordinator for the Grady Trauma Project in Atlanta, Georgia, a large-scale study examining Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and trauma exposure. Anna received a BA from Emory University in 2017 in Psychology and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Outside of work, Anna enjoys hiking, singing, cooking and spending time with friends. If you would like to reach out to Anna and say hello, her email is

Kimberly Quigley joined the department's Human Resources team in April 2021 as Academic Human Resources Manager. Kim is a third-generation Seattle native who grew up near the UW. Following her graduation from Williams College, she spent the last seventeen years working in the UW Department of Chemistry. After a few other roles, she became the Director of Personnel in 2008, overseeing all aspects of academic and staff human resources in Chemistry. She also supervised faculty administrative support personnel, managed shared departmental resources, assisted with a very large PhD program and led the unit's transition to Workday. Outside of work, Kim enjoys reading about and eating delicious foods, imagining places she might go when travel is a thing again, and being pleasantly surprised at how well two adults and two cats can coexist 24/7 in a small apartment in Ballard. If you would like to reach out to Kim and say hello, her email is

Perla Raga joined the department in April 2021 as a Mental Health Navigator. Before coming to UW, Perla worked as a Behavioral Health Referral Coordinator at Sea Mar Community Health and did community volunteering at YouthCare as a healthy relationships and mental health awareness advocate. Outside of work, Perla enjoys cooking and eating, nature walks and hikes, caring for her plants, acrylic and watercolor painting, hanging out with loved ones, and traveling or exploring new things and places. If you would like to reach out to Perla and say hello, her email is

Jon Reeves will be joining the department in July 2021 as the first holder of the newly created Clinical Psychology Fellowship program. Mr. Reeves is a doctoral candidate at the University of California, Berkeley and a current resident in the Psychology Internship Program. He received his BA in behavioral neuroscience and a minor in philosophy at The College of Wooster. His clinical and research interests focus on applying a precision mental health approach to better predict, prevent, and treat suicidality and psychopathology following trauma. Clinically, he uses a cognitive-behavioral approach (with an emphasis on dialectical behavior therapy strategies) to assist adolescents and adults with a range of presenting problems, including suicidal and non-suicidal self-injurious behavior, anxiety and mood disorders, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Mr. Reeves’s ultimate career goal is to promote a more precise and personalized model of evidence-based care.

Sophia Robinson joined the department in March 2021 as a Research Study Coordinator for the Center for the Study of Health & Risk Behaviors (CSHRB). She will be helping to implement evidence-based treatments for trauma informed care in Washington state. Sophia graduated from the University of Washington in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. She since worked on multiple studies at UW and at the Seattle VA looking at implementing trauma focused mental health treatments, both locally and internationally. Sophia loves to do any activity that allows her to get moving and outside. Currently, her favorite past times are biking, running and climbing (and as soon as the weather warms up backpacking will be at the top of the list). If you would like to reach out to Sophia and say hello, her email is

Spotlight: Behavioral Health Clinical Nurse Specialists
Behavioral Health Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS) are members of the Clinical Nurse Specialist Team who provide behavioral health support services and education to patients / families and care teams. The Behavioral Health CNS provides support in the care of patients with behavior health issues including those with disruptive behaviors and serves as a role model for care providers in the provision of trauma-informed interventions. UW Medical Center currently has a Behavioral Health CNS at the Northwest and Montlake campuses, and Harborview is actively recruiting for this position.

Cheri Constantino-Shor, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CRNI is a Clinical Nurse Specialist specializing in Behavioral Health and Workplace Violence on the Northwest campus with 27 years of nursing experience in a variety of settings. Cheri has been in her role since November, 2018 and has supported a number of Behavioral Health-related endeavors across the system, including the launch of house-wide screening with the validated Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), the expansion of Workplace Violence training on hire for new clinical staff on both the Northwest and Montlake campuses (including a shift to virtual training), alignment of restraint equipment and policies across both UWMC campuses and facilitation of Schwartz Rounds on the Northwest campus. Cheri is passionate about creating a healthy work environment and when she’s not working on that, loves to venture out with her husband away from their newly emptied nest and either visit one of their four daughters in college or head off in search of a new adventure (always while wearing a mask and social distancing).

Annie Tsai, MN, RN, PCCN has been working with the UW Medical Center since 2001. Annie started out as a hospital assistant, later become an assistant nurse manager, and recently took on a new role as the Clinical Nurse Specialist in Behavioral Health. With the prevalence of behavioral health problems on the rise during the pandemic, she looks forward to bringing more awareness and knowledge to the organization to empower staff to better care for their patients and their own well-being. Annie is married to a wonderful husband and has three wild children she absolutely can’t live without. They enjoy the outdoors, watching Disney movies, and doing crafts. On the rare occasions when she can be alone, she enjoys a nice glass of wine and a book.  

Open Notes highly impactful for patients
In concert with the move to a new Electronic Health Record system across all UW Medicine facilities, the note-sharing program Open Notes is now available to all UW Medicine and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance patients. Increased transparency is a patient-centered approach to health care, and evidence shows it can lead to better outcomes and better relationships between patients and providers. Many of our faculty members have experience writing visit summaries, and some outpatient settings have provided Open Note access for several years. We are excited to extend this transparency to all our patients and to provide understandable, helpful communication during and after their visits. Learn more

New care guide helps providers caring for pregnant, postpartum patients
The Perinatal Mental Health Care Guide is a new resource created by the Maternal-Child Mental Health Program. This 50-page, peer-reviewed care guide is designed to help prenatal and primary care providers caring for pregnant and postpartum patients with mental health symptoms or concerns. It is divided into modules (e.g., depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder) and includes screening tools, brief overviews of diagnosis and treatment, information about medications and their risks during the perinatal period, and selected resources. Inspired by the Care Guides produced by the Partnership Access Line (PAL) team, the Perinatal Mental Health Care Guide will be given to every provider who calls the PAL for Moms provider consultation line, among other distribution plans.

Contributors and reviewers of the guide include Aba Nduom, MD, Amritha Bhat, MD, MPH, Alicia Kerlee, MSW, Aubrey Demajh, MD, Deborah Cowley, MD, Carmen Croicu, MD, Cummings Rork, MD, Katherine Palm-Cruz, MD, Kelly Wurzel, MD, Laurel Pellegrino, MD, Megan Riddle, MD, PhD, MS, Nadejda Bespalova, MD, and Ramanpreet Toor, MD. Please share the guide with your networks!

Study investigates Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in Adults
Epidemiological evidence suggests that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) may have a prevalence of up to 5% in the population, but it is rarely diagnosed in adulthood. There are no recognized treatment protocols because, despite decades of research on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, scientific study of adults with FASD is almost unknown.

A research team led by Therese Grant, PhD, is studying the health and neurobehavior of adults diagnosed with FASD by locating and recruiting individuals with FASD and controls who participated in research twenty years ago at the UW Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit (FADU) under the leadership of Ann Streissguth, PhD.

The team is collecting demographic and health information from 250 people and conducting in-depth assessment of physical characteristics, immune function, mental health, cognitive functioning, and social/adaptive functioning among 120 of them. Colleagues at Emory University are conducting a parallel collaborative study. The goals are to determine the persistence and severity of disability associated with FASD and refine diagnostic criteria for FASD among adults.

In October 2020, the team received a NIH/NIAAA Administrative Supplement allowing them to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the adult participants in the parent grant. COVID-19 presents significant risks for this cohort, including health outcomes and environmental stressors resulting from the pandemic. So far, there is no information about the impact of COVID-19 for individuals with disabilities in general or FASD in particular, despite the likelihood that such impaired individuals will have greater difficulty in understanding and implementing social distancing and other safety measures that are necessary to reduce their risk of infection. Concurrent with the above study and in collaboration with researchers at San Diego State University, the team is recruiting 90 FASD-diagnosed individuals and controls who had previous MRI scans conducted in earlier studies at the UW. Comparisons between current and earlier scans will provide insight into changes in brain structure and function with age.

In addition to Dr. Grant, the UW research team includes Sandra Radin, PhD, Susan Stoner, PhD, Margaret Adam, MD, Kathryn Kelly, Tim Smith-Stewart and Kristina Rowlett.

Informational session on NIH Diversity Supplements Program
We are hosting an informational session about the NIH Diversity Supplements Program for all interested faculty and staff on Wednesday, May 5 at 2 PM via Zoom. Whether you're currently eligible for a supplement or hope to be in the future, the session will explain the application process, share information about how to secure a candidate, and what makes the program successful for mentees. Presenters include NIH Program Officer Albert Avila and a panel of past mentors and mentees including Susan Ferguson, PhD, Barbara Juarez, PhD, Christine Lee, PhD, John Neumaier, MD, PhD, Jason Ramirez, PhD, and Michael V. Vitiello, PhD. We will leave plenty of time for Q&A. Please contact Becky Sladek ( or Alison Laing ( if you have any questions. We will record the session and make it available if you are unable to attend.

Nominations open for Katon Outstanding Research Mentor Award
The Wayne J. Katon Outstanding Research Mentor Award acknowledges the time, dedication and attention UW Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty members devote to fostering the career development and academic success of colleagues and trainees in the areas of mental health research, clinical practice and education. Through this award, we honor and celebrate the valuable efforts of faculty members who embody Dr. Katon’s spirit of mentoring. More information, including details about the required nomination packet and how to submit a nomination, are available on PsycSource. Past recipients include Raphe Bernier, PhD (2016), Mary Larimer, PhD (2017), Kathleen Myers, MD (2018), Christine Lee, PhD (2019) and Patricia Areán, PhD (2020). Nominations are due May 14, 2021. Please contact Maureen Johnson ( if you have any questions. Thank you for your help in recognizing our research mentors!

Clinical Psychology Postdoc launching July, 2021
A new Clinical Psychology Fellowship is creating a pathway for graduates of our Psychology Internship Program to work in a clinical setting and earn enough experience to obtain their clinical psychology license in Washington. Fellows will provide direct clinical services at one of our outpatient programs including screening patients, conducting intakes, providing individual and/ or technology-assisted psychotherapy and co-leading group psychotherapy. Jon Reeves has been appointed the first Fellow of this new program.

All Patients Safe free for Washington providers until November, 2021
Suicide is a leading cause of death in Washington. Our rates of suicide are higher than the national average and are at risk of increasing further as the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. Because medical professionals and client-facing staff are likely to interact with individuals considering suicide, a Washington state law was passed that requires health professionals to complete a one-time training in suicide assessment, treatment and management.

All Patients Safe is an online training created by UW Medicine and Forefront Suicide Prevention in partnership with Seattle Children’s, CoMotion and VA Puget Sound that fulfills that law. Developed by mental health providers and public health experts with lived experience, it has been widely adopted by organizations such as UW Medicine. Over 2,500 people have completed the online training since its launch in 2017.

Thanks to the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center and funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in partnership with the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA), All Patients Safe is available for free to all Washington medical professionals and client-facing staff until November 2021 for the first 6,000 course participants. To learn more or to register, please view this flyer or visit Please share the flyer widely with other organizations that work with patients or clients in Washington State. All Patients Safe is administered by the AIMS Center.

Soliciting nominations for the Gary J. Tucker Career Teaching Award
We invite you to nominate one of our academic or clinical faculty members for the Gary J. Tucker Career Teaching Award. Established in recognition of Gary J. Tucker, MD, Chair of our Department from 1985 through 1997, the Tucker Award recognizes exceptional career achievement in teaching and education within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and honors Dr. Tucker's significant contributions to our academic programs, his leadership and dedication as a teacher, clinician, and scholar, his love of teaching, and his ability to inspire and encourage trainees. The award is given to a member of the academic or clinical faculty who has demonstrated, throughout his or her career, outstanding skills as a teacher and dedication to education. To date, the following members of our faculty have received this award: Jack Carr, PhD, ABPP, Johan Verhulst, MD, Chris Varley, MD, Joan Romano, PhD, Deb Cowley, MD, Dick Miyoshi, MD, Marcella Pascualy, MD, Elizabeth McCauley, PhD, and Andrew Saxon, MD. If you would like to nominate someone for this award, please send their name and a paragraph about why you are nominating them to Heidi Combs, MD, at by May 14, 2021.
For upcoming events, please visit the UW Psychiatry calendar .
Copyright © 2021 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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