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October 2021

Message from the Chair

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we head into the fall season, I want to take a moment to appreciate and thank each of you. We have faced many challenges together over the past year and a half, but we continue to support each other in our work and in our personal lives and I am so thankful for all of your contributions to our work together. There are many ways to show appreciation, and for our faculty members, one way is to nominate a colleague or two for one of our faculty mentoring or educator awards. Your nomination offers a chance to show your appreciation for the help your mentors and colleagues have given to further your development as a faculty member and to celebrate the time and energy that our teachers give each year to help inspire and train our students, our residents, and all of us. We have streamlined the nomination process for these awards to make it easier to nominate someone and I encourage you to take a moment to do so. We also held the first meeting of our department’s new Staff EDI Committee and we invite staff members who are interested in joining this effort to reach out to co-chairs Jamie Adachi ( or Binyam Abraham (

In this month’s newsletter, we celebrate the recent groundbreaking for the new UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility (BHTF) at UW Medical Center–Northwest and we recognize exciting new research including fascinating projects that aim to ‘clean our brains’, prevent suicides and expand the reach of the Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP), a nationally renowned program that helps pregnant and parenting mothers struggling with addiction. We will introduce three outstanding medical students who participated in our Diversity Subinternship Program this summer and a number of talented new staff who have recently joined our department. We also invite your suggestions as we develop plans for a new Innovation Clinic to bring together and support scientists and clinicians to develop and test new treatments for mental health and addiction problems.

Thank you again for all you do! I hope that you and your families enjoy a nice, long holiday weekend at the end of the month!


Please help us welcome our new faculty and staff!

Olivia Linkous joined the department in August 2021 as a Research Study Assistant for the UW Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team. Olivia has a BS in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is passionate about improving mental health care for all children and their families. Additionally, her research interests include identifying ways to reduce health disparities within the mental health field to improve outcomes for children and families from underrepresented populations. During her free time, Olivia enjoys settling down with a good book or appreciating nature on a light hike.

Chris Jackson joined the department in September 2021 as a Grants Manager for the Department’s Research Operations team. Chris previously worked in Research Grant Administration with the University of Washington and University of California-San Diego. She graduated from the University of Maryland-Global Satellite campus, Germany. She continued her education at UCSD and earned her Research Administration and Financial Accounting Management certificate. Chris spent 22 years of military service in the Army. Outside of work, Chris enjoys participating in 5k, 10k and ½ marathon races (e.g. Rock n Roll races) across the country and some international. She also enjoys hiking and volunteering at military bases and hospitals. If you would like to reach out to Chris and say hello, her email is

Krysta Thornton, MA, joined the department in August 2021 as a Communications Specialist for the Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center. Krysta has over ten years of public health experience and has worked with a wide range of different organizations, nonprofits, and federal/state agencies. She is especially passionate about creating positive online spaces and communities. She holds a Master’s degree in Communication from the University of Washington, Seattle. Outside of work, Krysta enjoys walking Romie, her 100-pound dog, and running a book club.

Esther Solano, BA, joined the department in September 2021 as a Program Coordinator for the Integrated Care Training Program (ICTP). Esther graduated from the UW with a BS in Public Health/Global Health in 2020. She previously worked as a Research Coordinator for a qualitive research study. She was also a Program Coordinator for a health and racial equity initiative at an injury center. Outside of work, Esther likes to go hiking, kayaking and traveling with family and friends. 

Ari Asarch joined the department in September 2021 as a Laboratory Technician for the Phillips Lab. Ari recently graduated from the UW with a BA in Philosophy and a BS in Neuroscience. Outside of work, Ari enjoys climbing, skiing, abstract painting and cooking. If you would like to reach out to Ari and say hello, his email is

Kendall Fujioka joined the department in September 2021 as a Research Consultant for the UW School Mental Health Assessment, Research and Training (SMART) Center. Kendall is a Juris Doctor (JD) student in the UW School of Law class of 2023 and plans to specialize in Public Interest and Child Advocacy. At UW, she earned a BA in Early Childhood and Family Studies and a BA in Psychology, and then earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) at the University of Southern California with a concentration in mental health and school social work. As a district administrator for a public K-12 system in Los Angeles County, she provided direct service and program oversight for a team of school mental health providers, interns, and pupil support staff. She later coordinated evaluation and reporting of program outcomes related to school climate, social-emotional learning and youth mental health as a grant director for Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education). Unfortunately, most of Kendall’s time outside of work will be spent studying. She is grateful to have her parents, brother and extended family nearby so that she can see them on the weekends. She also practices yoga and is eager to get back to the studio. 

Nicholas Sorlagas joined the department in June 2021 as a Research Coordinator and is splitting his time between for the Fetal Alcohol Drug Unit (FADU) and the Clinical Trials Network within the Addictions, Drug and Alcohol Institute (ADAI). For 15 years, Nicholas worked as a bartender, traveling around the country. Three years ago, he returned to school at the UW and began working at ADAI as a student. He has been fortunate to be able to continue his work there as an employee. Nicholas will be graduating from UW Seattle in 2021 and will soon begin a Master’s program in clinical mental health counseling and addiction studies at Antioch University, Seattle. When Nicholas is not working, he enjoys golfing, traveling, hiking and beach days with his partner and their Husky puppy. If you would like to reach out to Nicholas and say hello, his email is

Gabby Struve, MA, joined the department in August 2021 as a Mental Health Support Specialist for the mHealth for Mental Health study in the BRiTE Center. Gabby completed her MA in Psychological Sciences at Northern Arizona University focusing her research on estimating the association between ten-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk and depression in a using metrics common to clinical practice. She has worked with community mental health centers and primary care providers in various capacities and developed a greater understanding of, and interest in, severe mental illness through these experiences. This led her to pursue another MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Seattle University. Outside of work, Gabby enjoys bouldering, paddle boarding, workouts, cooking and painting. 

Joanne Quiray joined the department in September 2021 as a Program Coordinator for the Maternal-Child Mental Health program. Joanne graduated with a BA in Medical Anthropology and Global Health in 2020. Her previous work includes the Husky Coronavirus Testing Program, and she works concurrently as a Research Interviewer with the Glick Lab in the Division of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Outside of work, Joanne enjoys exploring restaurants around Seattle, performing with the Sayaw Filipino Dance Troupe at UW, spending time with friends and family and meeting neighborhood cats during her evening walks. If you would like to reach out to Joanne and say hello, her email is

Caislin Firth joined the department in September 2021 as a Research Scientist with the Cannabis Research and Education program with Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI). Before joining ADAI, Caislin worked at UMich, examining the links between racial segregation and kidney health, and completed her Post Doc at Simon Fraser University, designing equitable healthy cities across Canada. She completed her PhD in Epidemiology here at UW where her dissertation focused on the impacts of adult cannabis legalization on youth and inequities within outcomes. Over the past decade, Caislin’s work is grounded in social justice and spans substance use, criminal justice, mobility, and population health intervention research. Outside of work, Caislin enjoys riding bikes fast and making breakfast.

Conor Miles joined the department in September 2021 as a Research Study Assistant in the Research in Autism and the Brain lab. Conor has been an intern at the lab for two and a half years, mostly working with craniofacial phenotype data. He recently graduated from UW with a BS in Psychology and an Informatics minor. Outside of work, Conor loves working on art projects – from writing to costumes to directing short videos to digital drawings. He also really enjoys feeding birds around campus and watching movies. If you would like to reach out to Conor and say hello, his email is

Molly Jones retires after 27 years at UW
After serving as Assistant to the Chair for the last 8 years, Molly Jones is set to retire on October 31. She began her career at UW in 1983 and has worked in a number of capacities and departments, including Continuing Education, Harborview Community Mental Health, Robinson Center, Pediatrics, Nephrology and Psychiatry. We will miss her sharp wit, straightforward manner and dedication to her job. Please join us in wishing her well in retirement!

We have set up a new email for the Chair’s assistant – – which should be used to communicate with the Chair’s office and to schedule time with Dr. Unützer. We hope to announce Molly’s replacement soon.

Nominations open for 2021-22 faculty awards!
We have streamlined the nomination process for all our department faculty awards to make it quick and efficient. We have also moved the nomination period to the fall so recipients can include their awards in their promotion packets, if applicable. Nominating a colleague for one of our faculty mentoring awards offers a chance to show your appreciation for the help they have given you to further your career and to celebrate the significant amount of time and energy that our teachers give to inspiring and training the next generation of behavioral health professionals. Please take a moment to nominate your colleague(s) for any of the below awards by November 19, 2021.

Faculty Mentoring Awards
  • Salaried Clinical Pathway Outstanding Mentor Award
  • Clinician Teacher Pathway Outstanding Mentor Award
  • Wayne J. Katon Outstanding Research Mentor Award
Faculty Educator Awards
  • Outstanding Clinician Teacher Junior Faculty Award
  • Gary J. Tucker Career Teaching Award
Opportunities for psychologists and psychiatrists at the SCCA
The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance's (SCCA) vision is to “Lead the world in translating scientific discovery into the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of cancer.” Faculty from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences have a long history of staffing the SCCA’s Psychiatry/Psychology Service and delivering outstanding patient care. Thanks to increased funding from the SCCA to support its growing psychosocial program, we are recruiting for up to 1.0 FTE of psychiatry time and 0.6 FTE of psychology time at the South Lake Union location. As part of the package, the SCCA is also now supporting paid administrative FTE for psychologists and psychiatrists who work there. If you or anyone you know is interested in hearing more about the job opportunities at the SCCA, please email Dr. Jesse Fann ( or Dr. Ryan Kimmel (

DOD funds $4.3M human trial on device to enhance sleep
The U.S. Department of Defense is funding the first human trial of a device to speed up and enhance glymphatic function (brain cleansing) that occurs when we sleep. The trial is a collaboration between groups at UNC Chapel Hill and the University of Washington. Studies at the UW will be led by investigators Jeffrey Iliff, PhD, and Swati Rane, PhD, and is based on their research on brain waste clearance in animals funded by the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. It is among the first efforts to attempt to accelerate glymphatic function in the human brain.

The investigators are carrying out the study in healthy young subjects exposed to overnight sleep deprivation and assessing whether the intervention can offset the cognitive impacts of sleep deprivation. If successful, the approach may have a much wider potential clinical impact and may be useful in other conditions where issues associated with poor sleep are at work such as age-related dementias, headaches and mood disorders.
Read more.

Supporting adolescents and families experiencing suicidality
The Washington State Department of Health, Seattle Children’s, and Frontier Behavioral Health are partnering on a new, HRSA-funded initiative to create a crisis care consultation service for northeastern Washington.

The award of $445,000 per year for five years will build on the existing Partnership Access Line (PAL) and Crisis Care Service at Seattle Children’s. PAL provides mental health consultation to pediatric primary care providers statewide. This project will provide additional outreach for PAL to the pediatric primary care providers in the ten counties in the Better Health Together and North Central Accountable Communities of Health, increasing their use of the PAL line. Clinical leads Molly Adrian, PhD, and Eileen Twohy, PhD, will train and support a crisis support team at Frontier Behavioral Health in Spokane based on the Crisis Care Consultation Clinic model at Seattle Children’s. This team will provide a combination of in-person and telehealth crisis support services to clients in the region with suicidality crises and inadequate current supports. The PAL line will be used to triage referrals from PCPs that are appropriate to refer to the Frontier Crisis Support Team. Read More.

Seattle Children’s faculty also secured a grant focused on suicide intervention strategies for teens. Molly Adrian, PhD, and Elizabeth McCauley, PhD, together with Jeff Bridge, David Jobes, Barbara Stanley Greg Brown and Bob Gallop, were awarded an R01 from NIMH titled Advancing Suicide Intervention Strategies for Teens During High Risk Periods (ASSIST). The two-site, three arm randomized trial aims to evaluate two treatments: the Collaborative Assessment and Management of Suicidality (CAMS) or Safety Planning Intervention with follow-up (SPI+) compared to usual care. The objective of the grant is to inform the effective management of adolescent suicide risk by evaluating promising treatments and developing the evidence-base for interventions that are well suited for health systems to adopt to help youth transition from acute to outpatient care.

PCAP to be tested in Oklahoma
A broad coalition of public and private agencies in Oklahoma will implement the Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) to help pregnant and parenting mothers struggling with addiction.

(PCAP) is an award-winning, evidence-informed home visitation case‐management model for pregnant and parenting women with substance use disorders. The model was developed by Therese Grant, PhD, as part of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit, now housed in the Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI). PCAP goals are to help mothers build healthy families and prevent future births of children exposed prenatally to alcohol and drugs. Susan Stoner, PhD, is the current Washington State PCAP Director.

“We are delighted to partner with our colleagues in Oklahoma to bring PCAP to the state,” said Dr. Stoner. “We expect that PCAP in Oklahoma will demonstrate strong, positive outcomes for mothers in the program, as it has in Washington. In addition, this project will provide the kind of data that we need to be recognized on a federal level, opening the door for PCAP to benefit mothers and families across the nation.”

The model will be tested in Oklahoma, with evaluators measuring possible cost savings stemming from reductions in reducing incarceration, substance use disorders, foster care and future substance-exposed newborns. ADAI will support the implementation of PCAP in Oklahoma, and the University of Oklahoma will lead the evaluation and the overall project.

Supporting the effort is a consortium of public and private funders, including the Arnall Community Fund—which is providing a major gift to the OU Foundation to launch this project—along with Casey Family Programs, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

Save the Date! Department Research Retreat is January 12
Please save the date for our annual Research Retreat scheduled for Wednesday, January 12, 2022 via zoom. Facuty researchers and research-focused staff and post-doctoral fellows in our department are invited to attend this half-day event. This year’s theme is Translational Research and its Clinical Impacts with a featured presentation by Todd Burstain, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer, and Melissa Habrat, Director of Research Information Technologies, on how new EHR Tools in Epic can be used for research.

The morning presentations will be followed by breakout sessions, and we are currently accepting ideas for engaging topics. The breakout sessions are a great opportunity to learn about new initiatives, discover the potential for collaborations with other researchers or find out about innovative research methods. If you have any ideas, we would like to hear from you! Please take a moment to complete this brief survey. Questions? Please contact Alison Laing (

Mental health takes big step forward in state
Mental health in our region took a huge step forward with the groundbreaking of the new UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility (BHTF) at UW Medical Center–Northwest that will care for patients and train the next generation of behavioral health providers.

Chair Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, MA, joined UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Governor Jay Inslee, emeritus House Speaker Frank Chopp, ‘Washingtonian of the Day’ Rashi Gupta and others at the podium to mark this important milestone in addressing our state’s behavioral health crisis. The BHTF is slated to open in the fall of 2023 and will offer a one-of-a-kind fully integrated welcoming and healing environment to individuals struggling with serious physical and behavioral health problems. Watch the groundbreaking ceremony which features Dr. Unützer’s remarks at 1:04 and Ryan Kimmel, MD, at 1:10. This story was covered in The Seattle Times, KOMO Radio, KING 5 and FOX 13, among others.

Department exploring new Garvey Institute Innovation Clinic
The Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions is working on a plan for an Innovation Clinic, a program to support clinical research in a set of clinical spaces across our partnering institutions that can support the development and rapid testing of new treatments for mental health and addiction problems.

Although we’re currently in the planning phase, we envision that the Innovation Clinic will span multiple physical locations to address the wide range of populations and protocols our researchers are interested in testing across the age spectrum and across a full spectrum of disorders including mental health and addiction problems. The Innovation Clinic may also support staffing and other shared resources such as data analysis and management and recruitment. 

If you have ideas of how a Clinical Trials Program could support your work or how to create a successful program, please email Andie Uomoto at

Northwest ATTC co-hosts Speak out for Recovery
For the third year in a row, the Northwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (NW-MHTTC) co-sponsored ‘Speak out for Recovery’ with the Recovery Café and other partners in Washington State to celebrate September’s Recovery Month.

Speakers shared their powerful and impactful stories about addiction and their pathways to recovery. The Behavioral Health Institute’s Melody McKee, MS, SUDP, sporting a red hat that read “Make Recovery the Epidemic,” was a featured speaker. Other co-sponsoring organizations included the Washington Recovery Alliance, King County Behavioral Health, King County Recovery Coalition, Recovery Café, and the Recovery Café Network.

NW-MHTTC is led by Maria Monroe-DeVita, PhD, and Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH.

Q&A: Psychiatry Visiting Scholars Program
We had a terrific group of medical students take part in our Psychiatry Visiting Scholars Program this summer. Started in 2015, the Psychiatry Visiting Scholars Program is designed to give fourth-year medical students from historically underrepresented backgrounds an opportunity to experience the exceptional education in psychiatry offered by the University of Washington and to consider training in our department. The program is supported by philanthropic donations and is led by Heidi Combs, MD, MS. We are thrilled that Marisa Hollinshead, Armaan Zaré and Eric Wagner participated in our program this year!

Marisa Hollinshead visited us from the Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED)-Cleveland State University (CSU) Partnership for Urban Health, a 6-year program with the first two years focused on urban health training. She was raised in a single-parent household by her mother, who immigrated to the US from Mexico.

Why did you want to do the program?
Having grown up in the Northwest and attended the University of Washington as an undergrad, the diversity sub-internship provided the unique opportunity for me to experience UW within a new context. I am very interested in applying a collaborative care approach to mental health with underserved populations. Learning from leading experts on this topic was particularly exciting for me and one I will never forget!

What did you learn?
Michael Storck, MD, at the Child Study Treatment Center (CSTC) modeled beautifully how some of the best medicine we can provide exists beyond the clinic. I learned from him, and the entire staff at CSTC, how to walk alongside some of our most vulnerable youth as they confronted their life experiences.

Armaan Zaré visited us from the Medical College of Wisconsin and is conducting research on the role of media use in understanding child and adolescent mental illness as well as the role of mitochondria in mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). His Mexican heritage has provided him an avenue to discuss and overcome the cultural taboo of mental illness with patients from a Latin-X background.
Why did you want to do the program?
My initial interest in attending this program was multi-factorial. I appreciated that the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is committed to recruiting and supporting a diverse student body. A program that actively takes steps to reduce bias and enhance diversity ultimately generates a culture in which students can thrive and become exceptional physicians. My career goal is to become the best possible Psychiatrist, so I figured I can best achieve that goal by training at a program that is focused on treating underserved populations. Additionally, I have family located in Vancouver, BC, so it was a pleasure to visit as I have not been able to see them in over a year due to COVID-19.
What did you learn?
As a calm and methodical person, I learned that those qualities can be major strengths when applied correctly in the Psychiatric Emergency Services setting; as the old Navy adage goes, “Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.” I sharpened my diagnostic skills and worked efficiently in an integrated care setting amongst social workers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and mental health specialists. An overall valuable experience that will pay dividends going forward.

Eric Wagner visited us from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He is a first-generation student and identifies as Latinx with a family of immigrants from Panama and Germany.

Excerpt from Eric’s Letter of Interest
I firmly believe that participating in the University of Washington’s Psychiatry Diversity Sub-Internship will provide me with an incredible learning opportunity that I would not have otherwise had access to because of financial barriers. One of the reasons that has drawn my interest towards the University of Washington is the focus on the integration of mental health care with medicine that functions most optimally through team collaboration. Creating innovative ways of improving access and minimizing stigma is something near to my heart because of my personal experiences. As a young Latino boy, born to a multi-racial family of low-income immigrants, conversations about mental health never took place in my home or my community. With the roller coaster of housing instability, high burdens of financial stress, and the fear of documentation status, my grandparents rarely went to see “regular” doctors, let alone saw a need to address their traumas with mental health care professionals. Even when my father gathered the courage to step out of his comfort zone and get therapy for his anxiety, he was pushed away by crippling cost, poor availability, and lack of connection due to providers that did not look like him and could not relate to his life circumstances. Witnessing these inequities firsthand within my family and within my community, a small ethnic enclave within the white spaces of Colorado Springs, often made me question how we could do better.

Margaret H. O’Donnell Prize recognizes medical students’ work in psychiatry
We are pleased to announce a new process for the selection of the annual Margaret H. O'Donnell Prize in Psychiatry. This prize is awarded to a 4th year medical student who has been highly involved in behavior health issues and/or done outstanding academic work in psychiatry. Attributes considered during selection include clinical skills, community support, community development, scholarship, and research. Medical students will now nominate themselves and the Undergraduate Education Committee will review the applications and determine the recipient. Once the process is in full effect, the new timeline will allow the recipient to include the award in their residency applications. In addition to being recognized for their work, the recipient receives a $600 award thanks to generous philanthropic support. Thank you to Heidi Combs, MD, MS, and Paul Borghesani, MD, PhD, for working on standardizing this process!

Appreciation Corner: Associate Program Directors
Starting this month, we will periodically share our appreciation for all the faculty and staff who contribute to our teaching efforts and to the education of our trainees. This month we honor the Associate Program Directors of our Psychiatry Residency Training Program: Amelia Dubovsky, MD (HMC), Matt Iles-Shih, MD, MPH (HMC), Suzanne Murray, MD (Evaluation, VA), Laurel Pellegrino, MD (Curriculum, UWMC) and Tom Soeprono, MD (UWMC).

The Associate Program Directors work closely with the Psychiatry Residency Director, Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, to support the overall mission of our residency program. We want to thank them for their dedication to creating a supportive educational learning environment at each of our sites, to working with faculty to support their roles as educators and to developing each of our psychiatry residents.

Save the Date! Spring Education Faculty Retreat
We are planning to hold our Spring Education Faculty retreat April 27, 2022 in person! The focus of the retreat is Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. There will be more details in coming newsletters but please mark the date on your calendars now.

Benjamin Danielson, champion for equitable health access, named 2021 First Citizen
Benjamin Danielson MD, a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and a celebrated community leader in health equity has been selected as the 2021 recipient of the Seattle-King County First Citizen Award. The former medical director of the Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic was honored at a civic banquet at the Seattle Art Museum on October 28.
In announcing this year’s recipient, event co-chair Cindy Silverstein called out Dr.
Danielson’s extraordinary commitment to the health and well-being of children and families,
especially children of color from low-income families, his leadership in the area of equity and social justice, and his lifelong commitment to community service which make him an especially worthy honoree this year when healthcare and a national reckoning with racism are paramount Read more.

Dr. Danielson is the speaker for our upcoming Grand Rounds presentation on ‘Ending Youth Incarceration’ and we are looking forward to working with Dr. Danielson as he builds a new program in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences that seeks to promote paths to opportunity that are youth-centered, community-informed, and evidence-based and that will help end youth incarceration in Washington State by the year 2030. The proposed AHSHAY Center, Allies in Healthier Systems for Health & Abundance in Youth, recently received a foundational grant from the Bezos Family Foundation.
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
1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356560
Seattle, WA 98195

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