Investing in our future is one of the best ways we can ensure that mental health care in our communities remains accessible and effective. Over the past few years, we have grown and made substantial investments in our educational programs, and today I am excited to announce that we are adding a new effort to support the training of physician scientists in the department. To help lead this effort, we are initiating the recruitment of an experienced faculty member who will be supported, in part, by an endowed professorship affiliated with the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD (email@example.com), is chairing a search committee for this recruitment and I encourage you to reach out to him if you are interested in this exciting new opportunity.
We have also initiated a national search for an experienced faculty member to direct a clinical research program in cognitive aging and to support the training and mentorship of trainees and junior faculty in this area. This new position will be supported, in part, by an endowment from the Tim B. Engle Endowed Professorship for Brain Health Innovations funded by the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. Please reach out to search committee chair Mark Snowden, MD, MPH (firstname.lastname@example.org), to learn more about this opportunity.
Another way in which we have been investing in our future is our department’s small grants program. These grants provide seed money for pilot projects that have the potential to generate additional funding for innovations in clinical care, training, and research. Findings from the initial round of pilot projects are promising and we recently funded a new round of innovative projects related to suicide prevention and recovery. Earlier this month, several of our department faculty and staff presented updates on exciting projects in the areas of perinatal mental health, workforce development, and involving family members in the care of individuals with serious and persistent mental illness at the Washington State Mental Health Summit. We are also gearing up to launch a new round of Innovation Grants funded by the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. These new grants will focus on improving care for adolescents with depression and other behavioral health challenges. More to come on that in the coming weeks.
As we look to the future, we have been working with UW Medical Center to expand our outpatient clinic space this summer. We are also participating in the planning for the remodel of the existing geropsychiatry unit on the Northwest campus and for staffing the new Behavioral Health Teaching Facility that is making rapid progress in construction and slated to open in 2024. Several of our department faculty and staff attended the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association in New Orleans, staffing a recruitment booth to raise awareness about the amazing opportunities in our department for prospective residents, fellows and faculty members and I invite all of you to help us recruit outstanding future trainees and colleagues as we grow our programs and our impact in the region.
With the recent increase in COVID-19 transmission, we have decided to hold our annual department meeting virtually again this year. We are planning an in-person outdoor gathering to welcome new faculty and staff on July 19 and we also hope to hold our annual department picnic in-person in early September. More to come on this soon. Please also consider joining the Harborview Team for the NAMI walk on Saturday, June 4. I look forward to seeing some of you at these events this summer and hope that you can join us for our annual department meeting on June 15.
Therese Grant to retire after distinguished 25-year career Therese Grant, PhD, has worked in substance abuse research and intervention at the University of Washington School of Medicine for over 25 years. After an extremely influential career, she is set to retire at the end of this month.
Dr. Grant is an epidemiologist and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington, where she holds the Ann Streissguth Ph.D. Endowed Professorship in Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Her FASD research has examined 15-year trends in rates of prenatal alcohol use in Washington State, development of an FASD behavioral screening instrument, and the study of substance abuse treatment outcomes among people with FASD, and FASD and mental health in longitudinal adult cohorts. In 1991 Dr. Grant developed the Washington Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP), a statewide intervention for pregnant and parenting women with at-risk substance use that she directed for over 25 years and that has inspired similar efforts and programs around the world. Her intervention research includes the examination of risk factors for repeat alcohol and drug-exposed pregnancies, predictors of improved social-emotional functioning in mothers with substance use disorders and their young children, and risk and protective factors associated with disrupted parenting and child reunification among mothers with at-risk substance use.
Dr. Grant is giving a Grand Rounds presentation on Friday, June 10 on how PCAP intervenes effectively with pregnant and parenting mothers. Please join us for this presentation and to wish Dr. Grant well in her retirement!
Please help us welcome our new faculty and staff! Margaret Calhoun, PhD, joined the department in May 2022 as the Research Manager for the Pravetoni Group, located at the Harborview Medical Center Research and Training Building. Margaret recently graduated from Vanderbilt University with her PhD in Chemistry, specializing in Analytical and Electrochemistry under Dr. David E. Cliffel. Outside of work, Margaret enjoys spending time with her two cats, Tiger and Riza, playing video games and watching video game walkthroughs, and is excited to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet this Fall. If you would like to reach out to Margaret and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Erik Hulman joined the department in May 2022 as a Program Operations Specialist within the “Door Way Project,” a program run by Seema Clifasefi that supports transition-age youth with barriers that often lead to homelessness. The program partners with Youth Care and is located directly across UW’s campus. Erik’s life’s work has been working with troubled youth battling mental health, poverty, homelessness and behavioral problems. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Public Relations and Sociology. He is currently enrolled at UW as a Master’s student in the School of Social Work. Outside of work, Erik enjoys gym workouts, engaging in hot yoga, listening to music & hiking. If you would like to reach out to Erik and say hello, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mackenzie Patterson joined the department in May 2022 as a Research Assistant in Jessica Blayney's YEAH and HEY studies. Both studies are currently remote. Mackenzie is a recent 2021 graduate from UW with a BS in Psychology. Outside of work, Mackenzie loves getting outdoors (like most Seattleites do). She also really likes making art, reading a good book, tackling DIY projects, listening to great music, and most importantly, laughing with friends.
Rachel Porter joined the department in May 2022 as a Communications Specialist supporting the CoLab for Community & Behavioral Health Policy as well as Allies in Healthier Systems for Health and Abundance in Youth (AHSHAY). Currently she is working remotely from her home in Seattle. Since 2014, Rachel worked at ArtsFund (a nonprofit serving the cultural community), most recently as their Communications & Digital Marketing Manager. She also worked independently as a writer, editor and content creator, and provided program coordination support for several equity and accessibility focused initiatives. Rachel graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) with a degree in English and a minor in cultural anthropology. Outside of work, Rachel loves to attend arts events, read, write, draw, spend time with her partner and their two cats, and when the mood strikes, go roller skating. If you would like to reach out to Rachel and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Dominique Smith joined the department in May 2022 as a Continuing Education Specialist working in collaboration with CoLab and the Allies in Healthier Systems for Health and Abundance (AHSHAY) Center. Her new role will include developing, building and maintaining community relationships through education and outreach. Dominique was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She obtained her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Administration in 2012. Dominique’s professional history includes working in special education as a paraeducator for the past eight years. She’s committed to behavioral health and continuing to do meaningful work in her community. Outside of work, Dominique enjoys spending time with family, volunteering, hiking when weather permits, cooking and entertaining as well as teaching guided meditations. If you would like to reach out to Dominique and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Samara Jackson Tobey joined the department in April 2022 as a Research Coordinator for Seven Directions. Samara Gwen graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Native Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is currently working on her PhD in Current Learning Sciences and Human Development deferral at the University of Washington. Outside of work, Samara loves spending time with her family.
2022 NAMI Walk
Join or donate to the Harborview Team as they raise funds and awareness and make a statement that mental health matters! To join the walk, meet at the Marina Park in Kirkland (25 Lakeshore Plaza) on Saturday, June 4. Registration opens at 8 AM; walk begins at 9 AM. Please visit the Harborview Team page at namiwalks.org to register for the walk and/or donate to the team. Learn more.
New investments in physician scientists
The UW and our department have some of the largest research programs in behavioral health in the world, but only a relatively small number of our medical students and psychiatry residents actively participate in research during their training. According to the latest Missions Management Tool published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the UW School of Medicine ranks above the 90th percentile for total research federal grants and contracts, but only about half of our medical school graduates and an even smaller proportion of our psychiatry residents participate in research during their time with us.
To bridge this gap, we are launching a new training program to support the development of physician scientists in our department. This effort will be supported by the department and the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions and provide protected time for faculty mentorship as well as research expenditures and travel expenses for trainees to present at a national academic research conference.
To support this effort, we are conducting an internal recruitment for a physician scientist faculty member who can help develop and lead this new program with the goal of encouraging and developing physician scientists. The position will be supported, in part, by the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions’ Mark N. Tabbutt Endowed Professorship for Education in Brain Health. A search committee, led by Mark Sullivan, MD, PhD, is currently developing a job description and will provide more information about this opportunity soon.
Washington State Mental Health Summit launches five new initiatives
The 2022 Washington State Mental Health Summit held this month featured four presentations by department faculty: Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, spoke about the ongoing work to develop a Bachelor-level Behavioral Health Support Specialist training program, Nadejda Bespalova, MD, and Amritha Bhat, MBBS, MD, MPH, presented on the need behind expanding telepsychiatry for substance use through the Perinatal Psychiatry Consultation Line (PCL), Robert Hilt, MD, talked about the successful PAL consultation line and expanding the PALS in Schools program, and Maria Monroe-DeVita, PhD, gave an update on an initiative presented at the 2018 Summit on a family support program for youth and young adults experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
Over 150 people including individuals with lived experience, legislators, community stakeholders, faculty and staff attended the Summit in-person at the HUB Ballroom on the UW campus and several hundred joined virtually as well. The Summit was organized by the UW Medicine Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center and by Chad’s Legacy Project. Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, MA, opened the meeting with welcoming comments.
TRI amplifies focus on resilience
Trauma Recovery Innovations (TRI), co-directed by Kristen Lindgren, PhD, and Michele Bedard-Gilligan, PhD, is changing its name to Trauma Recovery and Resilience Innovations. The acronym will stay the same, but the team is changing its name to acknowledge their work and passion for adapting and disseminating strategies and interventions to build resilience in the wake of mass adversity and chronic stressors -- an especially urgent need over the last two plus years. At TRI, they are passionate about educating clinicians, patients and the public on the scientific understanding of resilience following adversity and about applying empirically-supported principles to support the mental health and wellbeing of individuals and communities affected by stressors. The team thanks the department and their wonderful colleagues for their support as they continue to grow this part of their program.
Brittany Blanchard selected into 2022 ITHS KL2 Program
Congratulations to Brittany Blanchard, PhD, for being selected into the 2022 ITHS KL2 Multidisciplinary Clinical Research Career Development Program! Sponsored by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, the KL2 program provides research time, funding, mentorship and other necessary resources to foster postdoctoral or early career development of clinical and translational researchers.
Dr. Blanchard has training in clinical psychology with research interests in harm reduction and measurement-based care and is Director of the Division of Population Health Analytics Team. She plans to leverage the KL2 award to support her research with the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI)-region Practice and Research Network (WPRN) to adapt a harm reduction intervention for people who use stimulants and/or opioids to be delivered in integrated care settings. By collaborating with WPRN clinicians and using a novel human-centered design methodology to adapt the intervention, she hopes to develop a usable intervention ready for testing in a hybrid effectiveness-implementation trial. John Fortney, PhD, Director of the Division of Population Health, will serve as her primary mentor. Learn more.
Final report: Attitudes, readiness and adoption of digital health in community mental health centers during the COVID-19 pandemic
Through our Small Grants Program launched in 2020, we were able to allocate nearly $100,000 to a terrific set of diverse proposals from faculty, staff and trainees on a wide range of topics. Suzanne Meller, MPH, MSW, LSWAIC, and Dror Ben-Zeev, PhD, completed their “Attitudes, readiness and adoption of digital health in community mental health centers during the COVID-19 pandemic” project this month.
The purpose of their study was to explore facilitators and barriers aiding community mental health centers in implementing technology-assisted care during the COVID-19 pandemic. The team interviewed six key informants and surveyed 28 clinicians from three community mental health centers in Washington state. Interviews focused on technology-assisted care implementation efforts and factors that facilitated adoption. Surveys focused on clinician beliefs and experience with technology-assisted care in addition to training needs.
The team found that in the context of a rapid shift to virtually delivered services across the healthcare sector due to COVID-19, barriers remain to implementing digital health in community mental health settings. External facilitators such as regulation relaxations together with internal facilitators such as supervisor encouragement of digital mental health use among clinicians enabled many services to change over to digital/telehealth. However, individual clinician beliefs about the quality of the therapeutic relationship and lack of access to resources created a mixed implementation environment that has hampered the roll-out digital mental health overall. For community mental health centers to be successful in their implementation efforts, these barriers must be addressed locally and adapted to fit staff and client needs. Read more.
See other reports of recently completed projects funded by the Department's Small Grants Program:
Outpatient clinic space expands
Thanks to a commitment on the part of UWMC leadership to increase behavioral health access for our patients, the UW Outpatient Psychiatric Clinic (OPC) on Roosevelt is enlarging its footprint over the coming year. This will allow OPC to host more psychiatry residents for continuity clinics and will enable us to bring on board additional psychology and psychiatry faculty. Beyond increased patient access, this new space will also allow us to develop more specialty clinics. OPC has already been growing its perinatal, geriatrics, addictions, PTSD, DBT, and group psychotherapy services. The expanded space will also be helpful for patients who prefer in-person, rather than telehealth, care.
Behavioral Health Renovation (BRH) project
In addition to the new Behavioral Health Teaching Facility (BHTF) being built at UW Medical Center-Northwest (pictured here in its current state), a remodel of the E-wing geropsych unit at Northwest is underway. Known as the Behavioral Health Renovation (BRH) project, the remodel’s objectives are to create innovative and comprehensive care to help adult voluntary patients with behavioral health recovery; support the training for the next generation of health and behavioral health care providers for Washington state, and create a welcoming and safe environment for patients, staff and visitors. The BRH Committee selected BNB Builder and KMD Architecture as the design build team with construction slated for 2023–24 and doors set to open in 2025. This remodel, coupled with the new BHTF, will ultimately provide 100 new psychiatry beds (BHTF), 50 new medical/surgical beds (BHTF) and 12-14 adult voluntary psychiatry beds (as part of the remodel of the current E-wing). These new spaces and facilities will make a tremendous difference in our ability to provide high-quality behavioral health care to our community, innovative instruction to our trainees and inviting spaces for our hard-working faculty and staff.
Tim B. Engle Endowed Professorship for Brain Health Innovations
The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the UW Medicine Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions are seeking candidates to lead the Institute’s work in cognitive aging. The successful candidate will direct a clinical research program in cognitive aging and a clinical program that supports cognitive aging and oversees the training and mentorship of trainees and junior faculty. Factors for consideration include achieving regional or national recognition as a clinician-scientist in the field of cognitive aging and experience and holding a diverse funding portfolio. This new position will be supported, in part, by an endowment from the Tim B. Engle Endowed Professorship for Brain Health Innovations. The anticipated start date for this position is Summer 2022. Learn more.
Resident Research Day
The Psychiatry Residency hosted a successful Resident Research Day on May 26! This event was organized by John Neumeier, MD, PhD, who leads our Psychiatry Resident Research Program and spent celebrating the wonderful research, scholarship and QI projects that our residents have worked on throughout the year. Residents gave brief research and lightning talks on work representing a range of topics from basic science to teaching methodologies. Daniel Fisher, MD, PhD, and Elliot Collins, MD, PhD, received awards for their presentations. The audience was inspired by an impressive story of translational scientific discovery by the keynote speaker Charles Zorumski, MD, head of the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University. We hope to continue to have broad resident and faculty participation in the future at this annual event.
Jürgen Unützer receives APA’s Distinguished Service Award
Established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Board of Trustees in 1964, the Distinguished Service Award honors individuals and/or organizations who have contributed exceptional meritorious service to the field of psychiatry and/or the APA. Earlier this month, Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, MA, was honored with the award at the Annual Meeting of the APA in New Orleans.
Dr. Unützer’s work focuses on innovative models of care that integrate behavioral health and general medical services. He founded the AIMS Center which is dedicated to ‘Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions’ that have been implemented in partnership with more than 1,000 health care organizations and clinics in the US and abroad.
The last member of our Department to receive this award was Wayne Katon, MD, who received the award posthumously. Dr. Unützer, Dr. Katon’s mentee, accepted the award on his behalf in 2015.
SMART Center receives Washington Association of School Administrators' Community Leadership Award
The Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA) presented their Community Leadership Award to the SMART Center this month. The annual award is given to community members or groups in recognition of their outstanding contributions toward education with specific criteria including benefit to students, leadership, motivation, success, cooperation/coordination with local district, recognition by others, and history of service. Sumner Bonney Lake School District, one of the SMART Center’s community partners, nominated the team. Kelcey Schmitz, MSEd, Director of Training and Technical Assistance, received the award on behalf of the SMART Center. Congratulations!
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