After a spectacular fall, the rains have returned to the Pacific Northwest and the mountains around us are turning white. I hope you had a chance to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and the long weekend and you were able to spend quality time with family and friends! I had a chance to care for patients and families at UWMC Montlake and Northwest over the Thanksgiving weekend and to appreciate the hard work that our amazing faculty, staff, and trainees do year-round.
This month, I am pleased to share several recent developments from the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. To start with, Dr. Tom Grabowski, professor of radiology and neurology and an adjunct professor in our department has been named the inaugural holder of the Tim B. Engle Endowed Professorship for Brain Health Innovations. Tom has an excellent record of bringing people and groups together to advance research and clinical care in the area of cognitive aging and cognitive decline. He is an outstanding clinician, researcher, mentor and colleague and I am thrilled he has been selected for this newly endowed position.
Earlier this month, the Garvey Institute also announced the recipients of 12 Innovation Grants (totaling over $1 million) to develop and test innovative approaches to caring for adolescents and young adults with mental health and addiction problems. With this third round of Innovation Grant funding, we now have a portfolio of 36 Innovation Grants that represent a significant investment in new ideas and collaborations to improve the lives of individuals and families living with mental health and addiction problems. I am excited to see how this latest round of funding will help us innovate to improve the lives of adolescents and young adults.
In the area of training, I am happy to announce that we received approval for a new fellowship program in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry (BNNP). This new program, a collaboration between our department and the department of Neurology will approach brain-behavior relationships in a transformational way and we hope to recruit a fellow for Fall 2023. I want to thank Drs. Michael Schrift and Michael Persenaire for their leadership in the development of this exciting new fellowship and the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions for supporting this effort.
November is Native American Heritage month, a time to reflect on the fact that we live and work on the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish people and to acknowledge our responsibility to Native peoples, past and present. In this context, I would like to recognize our colleague Myra Parker JD, MPH, PhD, who was recently profiled in The Huddle. Thanks to Myra for sharing a part of her story with us and more importantly, thanks to Myra and her colleagues for doing such important and meaningful work focused on Indigenous Health and Wellness!
Thanks to all of you for your tremendous work this fall. I hope your Holiday Season is off to a good start!
Thomas J Grabowski appointed to Endowed Professorship for Brain Health Innovations
We are pleased to announce that Thomas J Grabowski, MD, has been named the inaugural holder of the Tim B. Engle Endowed Professorship for Brain Health Innovations supported by the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions. In this role, Tom will help support the Institute’s efforts in the area of cognitive aging. This work will focus on strategies to promote brain wellness and resilience across the lifespan and to delay the effects of brain aging and degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
Dr. Grabowski leads innovative multidisciplinary clinical and research programs in cognitive aging, memory loss and dementia as the Director of the UW Memory and Brain Wellness Center (MBWC) which includes the MBWC clinic at Harborview Medical Center, the associated NIH-designated Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, and the new Memory Hub. Tom also served as a member of the Garvey Institute’s faculty advisory group for brain health and cognitive aging that helped launch the initial round of Innovation Grants in 2020, including several projects focused on cognitive aging.
For Myra Parker, culture is everything
The Huddle editorial team profiled a few UW Medicine Native American colleagues during Native American Heritage Month including our own Myra Parker, JD, PhD, director of Seven Directions: A Center for Indigenous Public Health. Below is an excerpt from her interview.
“I grew up on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota in the 1970s and early ’80s. I was surrounded by my extended family, my Mandan and Hidatsa community, and the elders of our community who held our traditional knowledge and practices. I didn’t understand how privileged I was, as now, much of the land, the water, the air and the community context has shifted with the fracking development in the region.
As a child, I didn’t learn Hidatsa or Mandan, because my grandmother chose not to teach her children, as she was physically punished for speaking her languages in the Catholic day school when she was five. During those visits, her conversations with family and friends would wash over me, and they would laugh and laugh, after someone made a joke in Hidatsa. When I asked what was funny, she would say it didn’t really translate well into English. It was frustrating, but now I would give almost anything to be back there, listening to her laugh with our relatives.
Now, I am trying to learn Hidatsa over Zoom with my parents and sisters, along with my aunt and cousin. Sometimes we are able to have one of the forty fluent Hidatsa speakers on the call to help us with pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. This weekly practice has brought us closer together during the pandemic. Each Hidatsa word is precious to me. It gives me a connection to people who came long before me, and insight into how they saw the world, and the unique understandings and practices that live on today. I hope to take that knowledge into the future, so other Hidatsa will be able to access this critical knowledge about our culture, our families and our communities, and our connection to the land and everything around us. My culture means everything to me. It informs who I am, how I see myself in relation to the world around me, and what our collective future will be.”
Celena Adler joined the department in October 2022 as a Communications Manager for the Center for Mental Health, Policy, and the Law. Celena started working at the UW a decade ago. Most recently, she was a Communications Specialist in the UW Department of Epidemiology. Before that, Celena assisted in the development of a nutrition and media literacy curriculum at the NW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, in the UW College of Education. She also has a background in video production and media arts education. Outside of work, Celena enjoys spending time with her friends and family, getting outdoors, cooking and drawing. If you would like to reach out to Celena and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Jade Andora joined the department in October 2022 as a Research Manager for the Wraparound Evaluation and Research Team (WERT). Previously, Jade was a Research Coordinator in the Cardiology Department at University of Washington, primarily working on medical device studies. Prior to that, she worked at a small San Francisco start up focusing on artificial intelligence for cardiac ultrasound. Jade has also worked in direct patient care and education in several reproductive health clinics. She earned her BS in Public Health from San Francisco State University. Jade is very passionate about racial equity, women’s rights, and destigmatizing mental health. In her free time, she enjoys seeing live musical theater shows, paddle boarding, and building complex Lego sets. She'll be working at Sandpoint alongside the rest of the WERT team. If you would like to reach out to Jade and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corinne Anselm joined the department in October 2022 as a Research Analyst for the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center’s Technical Assistance and Consultation team. Corinne is currently working remotely however will soon be relocating to Seattle from Norman, Oklahoma. She is very excited to explore Seattle when she moves and to be on campus. Corinne has a BA and MA in Political Science. In graduate school, Corinne worked as a graduate teacher and research assistant for the Suicide Prevention Resource Center and did research on public opinion and survey methodology. Outside of work, Corinne enjoys reading, hiking and being in nature, traveling and cooking with her partner (Corinne is not a good cook, so she mostly chops things). If you would like to reach out Corinne and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Boi Casillas joined the department in October 2022 as a Research Assistant with the Harm Reduction Research and Treatment (HaRRT) Center. Boi will be working on the NIH-funded Life Enhancing Alcohol-management Program (LEAP) Randomized Controlled Trial, a harm reduction-oriented program developed for populations with lived experience of homelessness and substance use problems living in HF settings. Boi received their BA in social welfare from UW in June 2021 while working as a Research Assistant on the Injury-related Health Equity Across the Lifespan (iHeal) Transgender Preferences Study under Megan Moore, PhD. Boi got their mental health wings working as a Mental Health Specialist for the past four years in inpatient psychiatry at Harborview Medical Center. Outside of work, Boi enjoys their practicum site at Horses Guiding Humans where they learn how to do horse assisted therapy with children and adults. Boi is a novice leather worker, tanner, and butcher and loves sharing that knowledge with other QTBIPOC people. Boi enjoys spending time outside the city visiting with non-human kin. If you would like to reach out to Boi and say hello, their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elsa Ferguson joined the department in October 2022 as a Digital Content and Graphic Design Specialist for NW Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network and the UW School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center. She is excited to visually engage in the school mental health world to assist in delivering practical, inclusive, uplifting, and empowering content and imagery. She has over 13 years of non-profit experience in various sectors, including nutrition/food insecurity, public health, cancer care, event planning and tech industry, which gives her a unique perspective to her work. Elsa has a BA in Nutrition & Public Policy and a minor in Adult Education from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Outside of work Elsa enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, eating ice cream and delicious meals, and cheering on her favorite sports teams Kansas Jayhawks (basketball) and the Seattle Seahawks. If you would like to reach out to Elsa and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Roger Goosey joined the department in October 2022 as a Research Manager for the School Mental Health Assessment Research and Training (SMART) Center. Roger most recently worked as a Research Supervisor at Seattle Children’s with the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development. He supported community-based studies aimed at helping kids build healthy habits, including reducing screen time and becoming more physically active. Outside of work, Roger loves spending time outdoors, be it a walk around the neighborhood, going hiking in the woods, or traveling to new places. He also enjoys music. Alex grew up with family karaoke nights, going to concerts on occasion, and playing the clarinet with West Seattle Community Orchestras (WSCO). If you would like to reach out to Roger and say hello, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna Sipowicz joined the department in October 2022 as a Research Scientist at the Center for Suicide Prevention and Recovery (CSPAR). Previously, she spent three years with Apex Summer Camp, a summer treatment program through the UW Autism Center, most recently serving as a Lead Counselor. Anna graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, CA in May 2022 with majors in psychology and music, and moved up to Seattle this October. Outside of work, Anna enjoys going on walks, singing, cooking, Sudoku, and (recreational) sports. If you would like to reach out to Anna and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Alex Stoller, MPA, joined the department in October 2022 as a Grants and Contracts Manger for the Research administration team. Alex is originally from Boulder, Colorado, and moved to Seattle to attend Seattle University where she received a BA in Creative Writing and a MA in Public Administration. She worked at different public health and non-profit agencies before landing at the University of Washington where she worked primarily in patient, undergraduate and graduate medical education. Most recently, Alex worked at the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology, and Nutrition and oversaw the clinical and postdoctoral fellowship programs including managing two NIH T32 training grants. She is excited to move to our department, and looks forward to working with our staff, faculty and trainees. Outside of work, Alex enjoys cooking, travel, and taking walks with her dog, Ella. In the past few years, Alex has really enjoyed focusing on reading, strength training, and enjoying the PNW. If you would like to reach out to Alex and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Thomson, MPH, joined the department in October 2022 as a Program Operations Specialist with the Addictions, Drug & Alcohol Institute (ADAI) for the Washington State Community Drug Checking Program. Allison is supporting the implementation of statewide drug checking at multiple Syringe Service Programs. She received a MPH from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Prior to joining ADAI, Allison was an Epidemiologist at the Maryland Department of Health’s Center for Harm Reduction Services, where she worked closely with Syringe Service Programs to implement a drug checking program for people who use drugs, and managed various evaluation efforts across the state. Outside of work, Allison enjoys hiking and camping with her partner and dog, reading a good book and playing board games. If you would like to reach out to Allison and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Florence Williams joined the department in September 2022 as a Research Coordinator for Project ACE, run by PIs Anne Fairlie and Jason Ramirez. Florence is located within the Center for the Study of Health and Risk Behaviors (CSHRB). Prior to joining UW Psychiatry, Florence provided data collection and program support at the Downtown Emergency Service Center's low-barrier suboxone clinic, and has experience in both frontline social service provision and in health services research. Outside of work, Florence is active in the Capitol Hill arts community, and loves to check out new vegan restaurants. If you would like to reach out to Florence and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Garvey Institute funds 12 projects to improve mental health care for adolescents and young adults
The UW Medicine Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions is awarding 12 Innovation Grants totaling over $1 million to develop and test innovative approaches to caring for adolescents and young adults with mental health and addiction problems. The grants will go to 12 UW faculty-led teams representing 7 UW schools and colleges, 12 departments and divisions and numerous UW- and community-based centers, institutes and organizations.
The focus on adolescent and young adult mental health was driven by the recent increases in rates of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts in adolescents and young adults. These troubling trends have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funded topics range from addressing suicide risk in primary care settings to providing pediatric telebehavioral health consultation to community hospital emergency departments.
Local philanthropists Lynn and Mike Garvey founded the Garvey Institute in 2019 with a $50 million donation to UW Medicine with a goal to fast-track treatments for patients with mental health, addiction and other brain health problems. The new Innovation Grants join 24 projects previously funded by the Garvey Institute to address cognitive aging, trauma, and addictions and to develop new technologies aimed at improving brain health. The robust portfolio of 36 Innovation Grants represents a significant investment in new ideas and collaborations to improve the lives of individuals and families living with mental health and addiction problems.
WA health care providers are overwhelmingly satisfied with provider consultation lines
In their final report, a team of nonpartisan performance auditors commissioned by the WA State Legislature’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) noted that health care providers across Washington reported high satisfaction with the three state-funded psychiatry consultation lines: the Psychiatry Consultation Line (PCL) and the Perinatal Psychiatry Consultation Line (PPCL) operated by our department, and the Partnership Access Line (PAL) operated by Seattle Children’s.
According to the review, health care providers who called the consultation lines reported that the consulting psychiatrists provided excellent, evidence-based advice. The providers appreciated being able to speak immediately or schedule a convenient time for consultation and noted the lines allowed them to give reliable, same-day treatment to their patients.
Providers also reported the consultation lines increased their patients’ access to mental health care by reducing barriers and reported there is no resource equivalent to the consultation lines for them to access. Without the lines, providers said they would have consulted a colleague, used an online resource, referred the patient to a psychiatrist or emergency room, and/or provided care with less confidence.
We are thrilled this review demonstrated high levels of provider satisfaction and improved access to behavioral health care, and appreciate the opportunity to offer these important services for patients and providers throughout Washington State. Watch a video summary of the report
Seattle Children’s Autism Center, outpatient mental health on the move
On top of providing mental health care to children and adolescents in the face of increased demands and staffing shortages, the Seattle Children's Autism Center and outpatient Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine services are moving! On December 12, the two groups will move to a newly remodeled, combined location at 70th and Sandpoint, directly across from the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, & Training (SMART) Center located in Magnuson Park. This will create a behavioral health innovation hub that brings together mental and brain health experts from across Seattle Children’s to facilitate clinical collaboration and accelerate research, including ongoing work to illuminate root causes of mental and behavioral health conditions. The space is intentionally designed for youth with autism and/or behavioral health needs and is part of Seattle Children’s long-term strategic plan.
Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry Fellowship Program is official!
A new Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry (BNNP) Fellowship Program, a joint collaboration between the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neurology, has been officially approved by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties. Directed by Michael Schrift, DO, MA, FANPA, and Associate Program Director, Michael Persenaire, MD, this new fellowship will approach brain-behavior relationships in a transformational way.
Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry is a medical subspecialty committed to better understanding the links between neuroscience and behavior, and to the care of individuals with neurologically-based behavioral disturbances associated with cognition, emotion, behavior and elementary neurological functioning. This patient population is growing and requires physicians to be well-versed in this rapidly evolving field. The new fellowship training program will bring together neurologists and psychiatrists whose current practice overlaps with the BNNP patient population.
Fellows will work at the Memory and Brain Wellness Center at Harborview Medical Center as well as in the UW Epilepsy, Movement Disorder and Brain Injury Medicine Programs. Over time, we hope to develop a cohort of experts who work well together to deliver exceptional patient care. The curriculum will include didactics and case conferences that will serve as a venue to discuss, co-manage, and share perspectives and resources. The BNNP fellowship will improve clinical care for our patients, improve the educational experience for trainees, and create new opportunities to advance knowledge in clinical neurosciences. The fellowship will also provide opportunities for collaborative scientific work and improve our understanding and treatment of these disorders.
Graduates will manage the array of BNNP disorders upon completion of a 1-year clinical fellowship or a 2-year clinical-research fellowship and qualify for board certification in BNNP. We will host up to two fellows a year and hope to recruit the first fellow for Fall 2023. The BNNP Fellowship Program is supported by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the Department of Neurology, and the Garvey Institute for Brain Health Solutions.
Novel population mental health curriculum offered nation-wide
A novel one-month elective rotation developed by Ramanpreet Toor, MD, with support from Jennifer Erickson, DO, and Debra Morrison introduces second-year psychiatry residents to concepts of population mental health, health care systems and integrated care models to improve access to mental health care. Given the curriculum’s success in our own psychiatry residency training program, Dr. Toor is working on a project to disseminate this curriculum to other academic institutions through a nation-wide learning collaborative funded by the Quell Foundation. Over a dozen people from different academic institutions have already signed up to learn how to implement the curriculum in their own programs.
The rotation is offered ‘passport-style’ which means residents are provided with a list of activities to be completed during this month including readings, supervision meetings and clinical observations. At the end of the rotation, residents deliver a presentation on what they learned or about a project they plan to do based on the knowledge they gained in during the rotation.
The passport-style rotation provides flexibility to learners with different learning styles and helps residents with professional development including working in a team, accountability, time management, and autonomy. It requires less faculty time and supervision time which in academic institutes is a problem given limited funding for non-clinical time for faculty. The content helps residents expand their focus from one patient in front of them to a larger population health focus, making them more aware of systems of healthcare and different ways to approach the significant problem of access to mental health care.
Adam Kuczynski receives Joseph Becker Research Award
We are pleased to announce that the psychology resident who has been selected as the winner of this year's Joseph Becker Research Award is Adam Kuczynski of the Psychology Internship Program Adult Track. He is examining the association between loneliness and depressed mood in people’s natural environments and testing whether social interaction quantity and quality following feelings of loneliness moderate this association. Adam is mentored by Patricia Areán, PhD, in conducting this research. He will receive a plaque at the graduation ceremony in June, as well as an award in support of his research this year.
Thank you to Adam Carmel, PhD, chair of the Awards Committee, and the members of the committee for their service and help in reviewing applications for this award including Jennifer Cadigan, PhD (Adult Track), Cynthia Flynn, PhD (child track), Joy Kawamura, PhD (child track) Gina Formea, PhD, ABPP-CN (Behavioral Medicine/Neuropsychology Track) and Joel Peterman, PhD (Behavioral Medicine/Neuropsychology Track).
Appreciation corner: Matt Schreiber
We periodically share our appreciation for the faculty and staff who contribute to our teaching efforts and to the education of our trainees. This month, we are calling out our appreciation to Matt Schreiber, MD, PhD.
Dr. Schreiber has taken on a new role as Associate Program Director of Outpatient at the VA Puget Sound Health Care System. He is a beloved supervisor in the psychopharmacology rotation that he created and is passionate about resident education and training. He has hit the ground running, working to update grids and advocate for residency training. Thank you Matt!
Sarah Walker selected Public Voices Fellow Sarah Walker, PhD, was selected for the 2022 Public Voices Fellowship at AcademyHealth, in partnership with The OpEd Project. Through this year-long fellowship, Dr. Walker will join a cohort of thought leaders in public health, health services research, and health policy dedicated to elevating their voices and adding their expertise to today’s most crucial health justice conversations. Participants will shape their fields and foster vital conversations to ensure the Health Services Research enterprise is engaging in and delivering high impact, equitable research. The OpEd Project connects Public Voices Fellows with an international network of high-level media mentors and participants commit to writing at least two opinion pieces during their fellowship. Learn more
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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
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