It’s a beautiful spring in Seattle, a late winter storm has replenished the snowpack in the Cascades, and some of us are making long overdue trips to see family, friends, and colleagues. I am looking forward to seeing many of you at one of our upcoming department events such as an evening to appreciate our volunteer clinical faculty on May 5, our annual meeting on June 15, our department graduation on June 24, or our department picnic sometime this summer.
This spring, we have had several opportunities that could make a big difference in increasing access to mental health care in our state, starting with a big win for kids’ mental health in Washington. During the last legislative session, the Washington State Legislature passed and funded nearly all the recommendations of the Children & Youth Behavioral Health Work Group including the development of a Strategic Plan for Kids’ Mental Health to build a coherent system of care. Thanks to all of you who had a role in advocating for these much-needed programs.
We also had an opportunity to influence mental health care on a national level. Anna Ratzliff testified to the US Senate Committee on Finance about opportunities for Congress to improve access to effective mental health care such as the integration of behavioral healthcare into primary care, addressing health equity, and increasing access to telehealth.
We are pleased to see the ongoing success of our efforts in Global Mental Health. Over the past few years, mental illness and addiction have become increasingly recognized as leading causes of health-related disability worldwide, and we have much to learn from our colleagues around the world about different ways to address the suffering and the stigma experienced by those living with mental health and addiction problems. Speaking of work on the global stage, Eric Bruns, PhD, recently joined colleagues on a Health Support Team working in Poland to teach volunteers basic skills to respond to the mental health needs of children forced from their communities by the war in Ukraine. Pamela Y. Collins, MD, MPH, has been mobilizing the UW community to support her I-TECH colleagues in Ukraine including finding therapists and psychologists who can connect with the team by phone, email, text or zoom.
Closer to home, we funded nine fantastic projects related to suicide prevention and recovery with support from a wonderful gift from the Mary. E Nelson Charitable Remainder Trust, Heidi Combs Trustee and secured pilot funding from ITHS and the UW Population Health Initiative. These internally-funded pilot projects are wonderful complements to the amazing portfolio of federal and foundation grants we have thanks to the 100+ researchers in our department.
We also welcomed an amazing new class of psychiatry residents who will join us this summer. Later this spring, we will announce a new effort to bring together our strengths in training and in research, supporting a new program to develop clinician scientists in our department. Stay tuned for more information about this effort at our upcoming annual meeting on June 15.
Speaking of the intersection of clinical work and research, I was recently asked by a group of trainees about the role of science and research evidence in our clinical work. I reflected on the diverse insights and paradigms from neuroscience to psychological and social sciences that shape our explanations of what constitutes and causes mental illness and our diagnostic and therapeutic approaches. These diverse paradigms and their proponents have at times competed fiercely, drawn vocal criticism from inside and outside our field, and they can make it challenging for us to have a coherent narrative about our work. For some, these competing explanatory models are evidence that we do not know what we are talking about, or that we are practicing a pseudoscience that attempts to ‘medicalize’ normal human emotions and phenomena for profit or other dubious motives. I see this diversity of approaches as a strength, reflecting the complexity of our discipline, and making psychiatry one of the most interesting, challenging, and rewarding fields for a new clinician to pursue. I believe that the vigorous debate between competing paradigms in our field has created and honed a powerful set of tools that we can put to work today while we look for better treatments tomorrow. In our clinical work, we work to understand how our patients’ lives are shaped by their unique biology, social circumstances and life experiences. We aim to do more than simply control unwelcome emotions and behaviors, but to help our patients overcome barriers and pursue their dreams. We draw on the evidence from state-of-the-art research, our own clinical experience, and crucial evidence from our patients’ own lived experiences. Sometimes the most important insights do not emerge until initial efforts at diagnosis and treatment have missed the mark and it is wise for us to stay humble, to keep a close eye on our patients’ response to treatment, and to remain open to changing our approach if patients do not improve as expected. Speaking of keeping an open mind, we had an outstanding turnout at a recent symposium that focused on developing novel therapeutics in addiction medicine. Thanks to Nathan Sacket, MD, MS, and to our department staff for organizing this amazing event!
We also continue the important work to become a more diverse, inclusive, and antiracist department. We are making progress, but it is clear that we are not immune from the biases and the systemic racism that can contribute to the stigmatization and oppression of vulnerable groups. At our upcoming faculty teaching retreat on April 27, we will be joined by Dr. Danielle Hairston from Howard University to talk about practices that undermine diversity, equity and inclusion and about ways to develop robust anti-bias and anti-racism approaches.
I want to end on a note of gratitude to all of you and especially to Dr. Michael V. Vitiello who is retiring this month after over 40 years in our department. We look forward to honoring Michael and the other faculty and staff who retired over the course of the pandemic at our annual meeting this June.
Michael V. Vitiello retires after 40+ years
After a distinguished career spanning over four decades in our department, Michael V. Vitiello, PhD, will retire at the end of this month. Known for his brilliant mind, good humor, candid feedback and affinity for wearing shorts and Hawaiian shirts, he has been an incredible asset to our department and the UW community. Dr. Vitiello is giving Grand Rounds this Friday, April 22 at 12 PM, if you’d like to hear about his latest work focused on treating chronic insomnia in older adults.
Dr. Vitiello earned an AB in psychology from Columbia University and a PhD in Psychology from UW. He joined the department in 1980 where he began collaborating with Patricia Prinz, PhD, on sleep research. Over the next 40 years, he established himself as an internationally recognized expert in sleep, circadian rhythms, and sleep disorders in aging with a focus on the causes, consequences and treatments of disturbed sleep, circadian rhythms, and cognition in older adults. He is the author of 680+ scientific articles, reviews, chapters, editorials and abstracts and his work has been cited over 26,000 times. He leaves the Department on an up note with the publication of a career high 18 papers in 2021 and 7 more in 2022 to date.
In addition to being a professor in our department, he is an adjunct professor in Gerontology & Geriatric Medicine and Biobehavioral Nursing & Health Informatics, Co-Director of the Northwest Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Center, and a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Gerontological Society of America. Dr. Vitiello has served as: President of the Sleep Research Society and of the Sleep Research Society Foundation; Chair of the Sleep Disorders Research Advisory Board, National Institutes of Health; Scientific Program Chair of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies; a board member of the Sleep Research Society, the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine, the National Sleep Foundation, and an editorial board member for numerous scientific journals. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of Sleep Medicine Reviews and plans to continue in that role as well as his collaboration with several research groups for the next few years. Beyond that, his immediate retirement plans are to catch up on all the traveling he and his wife, Dr. Mary A Baroni, missed out on over the last three years.
We wish Dr. Vitiello a wonderful, joyful retirement!
Please help us welcome our new faculty and staff! Rachel Brewer joined the department in March 2022 as an Administrative Assistant supporting Rachel Brian and working closely with the SPIRIT Lab team. Rachel is a recent graduate from the University of Washington (2019) and is grateful to continue to call the UW campus her home. Her background in administrative support has largely been centered on non-profit work and information science, with wonderful memories at the Orcas Island Performing Arts Center, Burke Museum and the UW Cultural House. Rachel’s last position as Admin Assistant for UW Medicine’s Revenue Integrity Department supported the family of sister departments that compose UWM Finance. She looks forward to sharing her experience with UW systems, database management and working behind the scenes with a diverse group of specialists to support our UW family! Outside of work, Rachel’s hobbies include gardening, baking and painting (she’s currently honing her skills in botanical ad scientific illustration). She is located at the Pat Steel building in office 5029 and welcomes a visit any time. If you would like to reach out to Rachel and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday Burns, MD, joined the department in March 2022 and will be working in the Outpatient Clinic (OPC) as a Generalist. Dr. Burns has specialized training in reproductive mental health and neuromodulation. She enjoys working with marginalized populations and those who struggle with medical complexities and treatment-resistance. While she completed her school and training on the east coast - Rhode Island, NYC and Boston – she is originally from the Seattle area. Dr. Burns moved back home in 2012 after convincing her New Englander husband "the grey weather" wasn't that bad. Since being back in Seattle, she has spent most of her time in a group private practice (alongside her husband and psychologist, Jamie Lolley) but has also worked with SeattleNTC and THIRA Health. As THIRA's medical director, she had the privilege of honing her DBT skills, working with trans and non-binary folx and learning how impactful this pandemic has been on teens and young people in our area. No longer commuting from Haller Lake to Bellevue, she is looking forward to being back on a college campus and spending more time in the city. Dr. Burns loves going on adventures in town and in nature with Jamie and their 7-year-old Henry. When she is not at home with her family and their many animals – including two bulldog puppies – Dr. Burns enjoys reading, eating dessert, drinking coffee and dreaming of travel abroad. If you would like to reach out to Dr. Burns and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Gwen Gothe joined the department in March 2022 as an Administrative Assistant to Katherine Ann (Kate) Comtois, PhD, Director of UW’s Center for Suicide Prevention and Recovery. Gwen graduated magna cum laude from Seattle University in 2019 with a BA in Theatre Administration and Management. She has been working for the last 5+ years in theatre design as a scenic painter as well as doing outreach, administrative and management tasks for various theatre companies in the Seattle area. Gwen also worked in early childhood education and care since 2015. Outside of work, she loves to listen to music, play games, do arts and crafts, dance and socialize with her loved ones. Gwen is located on the 5th floor of the Pat Steele Building when she is in the office or available virtually on days when she works from home. If you would like to reach out to Gwen and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Linda U Nzabamwita, MPH, joined the department in February 2022 as a Research Coordinator for the Collaborating to Heal Addiction and Mental Health in Primary Care (CHAMP) Study. In Spring 2021, she graduated with a Master of Public Health in Global Health and is excited to continue her career in Public Health. She hopes to support the advancement of health equity through research, public health interventions and advocacy. Before joining the CHAMP Study, she worked as a Research Coordinator for SHINE (Study of Health in Early and Adult Life). The study examines the role of pubertal maturation as a potential mechanism between early life adversity and disease risk in young adult women. Outside of work, Linda enjoys going for walks, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Linda is located in the Health Sciences Building, BB1504, but is mostly working remotely. If you would like to reach out to Linda and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Erin Royal joined the department in March 2022 as a Research Coordinator for the Center on Human Development and Disability (CHDD). Erin spent a lot of time in her young adult years working with adolescents on the autism spectrum and getting involved with all types of research in both her undergrad and grad studies. Erin has a BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina Asheville and an MPH from San Francisco State University. She is passionate about bridging the gap of inequity in health care and making person centered holistic health care available in every community. Most recently she has been working in the service industry and learned to bartend at the start of Covid. Outside of work, Erin loves going for walks in the mossy forest with her little dog, Poppy. Erin also loves writing music, being a DJ, and making art and medicine from plants. Erin has been learning more about foraging each year that she lives in the PNW and is fascinated with the intersection of nature and medicine. She is currently trying to narrow down the best medium to treat eczema using stinging nettle... stay tuned! If you would like to reach out to Erin and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
McKenna Schwab joined the department in March 2022 as an Administrative Assistant in the Chair’s Office at the UW Medical Center. She was born and raised in Salt Lake City and is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree in Psychology. She is passionate about mental health education and awareness and is excited for the opportunity to work with the psychiatry department and support its powerful mission. McKenna previously worked as an Administrative Assistant at the University of Utah and enjoys working in a collegiate setting. In her free time, McKenna enjoys traveling, cooking and watching movies. If you would like to reach out to McKenna and say hello, her email is email@example.com.
Mackenzie Tennison joined the department in March 2022 as a Research Study Coordinator in the SPIRIT Lab, primarily working with Dr. Monroe-DeVita on first episode psychosis (FEP) projects and family-based interventions, including supporting ECHO Clinics within the New Journeys Network. Before joining the SPIRIT Lab, Mackenzie worked as a Research Coordinator at UW’s Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) on the development of stereotypes and self-esteem in school-age children, and as a Post-Graduate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on several neurobiology studies. She received her BA in Neuroscience from Colorado College in 2016 and is currently studying for her MA in Applied Child & Adolescent Psychology at the University of Washington. Outside of work, Mackenzie loves drawing and painting, anything outdoors (camping, backpacking, rock climbing, kayaking) and cooking. Her goal this year is to learn how/where/when to dig for clams, so if anyone has any advice, let her know! She is located on the third floor of the Pat Steel Building. If you would like to reach out to Mackenzie and say hello, her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jim Vollendroff appointed to Liquor and Cannabis Board Jim Vollendroff, MPA, has been appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee to the vacant seat on the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) and will leave his current department role as the Behavioral Health Senior Advisor for Policy and Advocacy at the end of this month. He joined our department in 2019 as the founding Director of the UW Medicine Behavioral Health Institute (BHI) at Harborview Medical Center where he worked to bring researchers and clinicians together to innovate and improve the delivery of mental health and addiction services and to implement and disseminate research-based practices, including planning for the development of a crisis stabilization urgent care walk-in clinic.
“Jim brings a unique perspective and life experience to the board that is completely new and will be enormously valuable,” said Gov. Jay Inslee. “The transformation of Washington’s cannabis industry influences the economic, public health and social well-being of our communities. I appreciate Jim’s willingness to serve in this role.” The board holds regular public meetings and work sessions with stakeholders, makes policy and budget decisions, and adjudicates contested license applications and enforcement actions on licensees. We thank Jim for his time with us and wish him all the best in this important new role.
Department funds suicide prevention and recovery grants
We are delighted to announce the recipients of the Department’s Suicide Prevention and Recovery Small Grants Program aimed at supporting projects related to preventing suicide, promoting the recovery of suicide survivors and supporting the families and caregivers impacted by suicide. The program is funded by a wonderful philanthropic gift from the Mary. E Nelson Charitable Remainder Trust, Heidi Combs Trustee. Congratulations to our faculty, staff, and trainees who will be taking advantage of this wonderful opportunity to pursue a wide range of approaches to address the important challenge of suicide.
Evaluation of A New Approach to Youth Suicidal Crises: Swift Outpatient Alternatives for RapidStabilization (SOARS). Molly Adrian, PhD, Eileen Twohy PhD, and Elizabeth McCauley, PhD,will evaluate a novel program developed by our team to improve the effective outpatient management of youth with acute suicide risk. This program evaluation examines just-in time intervention to assess suicide risk level, address imminent risk, and begin treatment to address ideographic suicidal drivers over time. The clinic has served over 200 youth and families since 2019. Qualitative and quantitative data from youth, caregivers, and clinicians demonstrate high levels of fidelity, feasibility, appropriateness, and acceptability, however, impact on core health outcomes has not been conducted. This funding will allow for analysis of the treatment program to demonstrate the impact of the intervention on suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Consumer Perspectives of Online & In-Person Suicide Prevention Strategies
Patricia Areán, PhD, and Kate Comtois, PhD, will explore which interventions people with lived experience of suicide find acceptable (e.g., different types of in-person and telehealth care, web-based, text message, app, etc.), who should be the agent to deliver the intervention, and what concerns would they have in having social media and search data used for risk identification and then intervention. These findings have the potential to impact how suicide prevention strategies are brought to scale in a way that is seen as acceptable and appropriate to patients at risk for suicide
Using routine alcohol screening measures to identify 1-year risk of suicidal ideation, intent, and planning within a large primary care system in Washington
Yanni Chang, MD, MPH, Kevin Hallgren, PhD, Julie Richards, PhD, MPH, and Katharine Bradley, MD, MPH, will conduct a study using a large population-based primary care sample in Washington state to understand how heavy alcohol use and alcohol use disorder symptoms contribute to suicidal thoughts. This study will allow examination of how different levels of alcohol use can predict short term risk of suicidality and allow us to better identify and support patients at risk of suicide in the primary care setting.
Suicide Risk Screening in Acute and Intensive Care at a Level 1 Trauma Center
Patients hospitalized for medical, surgical, or traumatic injury reasons at Harborview Medical Center are universally screened for suicide risk. The present research will advance knowledge about the practices occurring at this large healthcare institution serving the public and social safety net population and set the groundwork necessary for conducting future research designed to improve services not only at Harborview but at similar institutions across the U.S. A team led by Doyanne Darnell, PhD, and Imara West (Research Scientist at Data Quest) will capture population-level electronic health record (EHR) data on suicide screening rates and outcomes among medically hospitalized patients for a 1-year period and gain insight into the context of the data captured through focus groups with acute/intensive care nurses.
Developing a Resource Toolkit for Clinician Survivors of Suicide Loss
Amanda Focht MD, Jeff Sung MD, and Katherine Anne Comtois PhD, MPH, will develop a resource toolkit for clinician survivors of suicide loss. For clinicians, the death of a patient by suicide is a dreaded event and can be more distressing than death and dying encountered in other clinical situations. In response to patient suicide, some clinician survivors experience emotional and psychological distress that may reach clinical levels and negative and sometimes persisting effects on professional practice. Building on existing reference materials, we will develop a toolkit of resources to guide and support faculty, clinical staff and trainee clinician-survivors affiliated with the department hospitals. These resources would address educational, emotional, administrative and spiritual needs of clinician-survivors.
Role of Criminal Defense Attorneys in Suicide Prevention Following Defendant Arrest
Jennifer Piel, MD, JD, Joellyn Sheehy, MD and colleagues at the Washington Defenders Association and Washington State Bar Association will explore the role that criminal defense attorneys could play in reducing risk of suicide amongst recently arrested criminal defendants. Suicide is the leading cause of death in jails and the period after recent arrest may be a particularly vulnerable time for suicide. For many persons with recent arrest, their attorney is one of only a small number of persons that they encounter in the days following arrest. This proposal aims to better understand the experience of the criminal defense attorney in working with clients who have suicidal thinking or behavior; training they have received in the past; desired training (such as suicide risk identification, trauma-informed care, resources); and challenges in disclosures in light of their professional responsibility to preserve client confidences.
Understanding the Support Needs of Gender Expansive Youth
Approximately 35% of youth who identified as transgender report having attempted suicide in the past 12 months. Despite this high risk, few preventive interventions have been developed specifically to address the unique needs of this group who experience high rates of marginalization, victimization and social isolation based on their gender identities. Laura Richardson, MD, MPH, and Katherine Anne Comtois, PhD, MPH will use human centered design principles to adapt the Caring Contacts intervention for suicide prevention for transgender and gender expansive (TGE) youth and user test this intervention with suicidal ideation who are identified via a Zero Suicide-based screening program in the Seattle Children's Gender Clinic.
Impact of the Preventing Addiction-Related Suicide (PARS) Intervention on patients who receive community-based addiction treatment
Persons with substance use disorders are 5-10 times more likely to die by suicide than the general public. Recognizing this, Rick Ries, MD, Katherine (Kate) Comtois, PhD, and the UW Center for Suicide Prevention and Recovery (CSPAR) staff developed the first and only suicide prevention intervention successfully developed with and tested in community addiction treatment centers. The primary outcomes of the multisite PARS clinical published in JAMA Network Open in April 2022. Led by Dr. Ries, Kevin Hallgren, PhD, Amanda Kerbrat, LICSW, and Yanni Chang, MD, this project will fund a more detailed secondary analyses to better characterize which patients respond best to the PARS intervention, which in turn will help inform intervention improvements.
WA State Parent Network to Prevent Youth Suicide and Improve Student Mental Health
Rates of suicide and mental health challenges among youth have never been higher. An essential part of youth well-being, mental health and suicide prevention is that parents and other caregivers of youth are prepared to support their children in these challenging times. Asking IS Caring is a parent-caregiver network started in Eastern Washington to provide community education, peer to peer support to families struggling with youth suicide behavior/ death, and input to districts implementing mental health programming and supports. Led by Jennifer Stuber, PhD, Kelcey Schmitz, MSEd, and Eric Bruns, PhD, this grant will help put into place essential infrastructure to further develop and to sustain the parent-caregiver network as well as to evaluate programming stemming from the network's activities. Asking Is Caring is supported by a curriculum designed to offer parents-caregivers an invitation to be present with their child. It offers opportunities for participants to problem solve, and questions they can ask of their child, the parent’s friends, and of themselves. Asking IS Caring provides practical steps to build protection from suicide in the home.
Schoenfelder, Parker receive UW Population Health Initiative pilot grants
The University of Washington Population Health Initiative announced the award of eight pilot grants to teams representing researchers from seven different UW schools and colleges and several community-based partners. The program supports researchers in developing preliminary data or the proof-of-concept needed to pursue follow-on funding to scale one’s efforts. Two of the eight awards were given to faculty members in our department: Erin Schoenfelder Gonzalez, PhD, received a grant for “Parent Behavior Management Training for Foster Caregivers”, and Myra Parker, JD, PhD, received a grant for “STIM A SPU’US - “What’s in Your Heart”: A Culturally Adapted, Trauma Informed Parenting Intervention for the Colville Tribes.
Dr. Gonzalez’s project will adapt and pilot the First Approach Skills Training for Disruptive Behavior (FAST-B) curriculum for caregivers of foster children. (FAST-B) is an evidence-based behavioral parent training program to address behavior problems in children ages 4-11 including oppositional behavior, parent-child relationship and adjustment problems. Many foster parents feel inadequately prepared to meet the behavioral and emotional needs of foster children, and FAST-B can potentially enhance foster caregiver guidance and support.
Dr. Parker’s project will implement a pilot test of a culturally congruent, trauma informed, parenting skills curriculum that provides critical parenting support to Colville families. American Indian (AI) communities have experienced and continue to experience family disruption due to contacts with the foster care system, parental substance use and untreated trauma response. Moreover, historical trauma, intergenerational trauma and individual trauma remain prevalent, yet few parenting skills curricula address these issues in a culturally congruent manner. The project will test the curriculum’s feasibility and preliminary efficacy in the Colville community by examining pre and post assessment scores on parenting knowledge, reflective functioning, and cultural connectedness. It will also assess the quality of the curriculum and the overall fit through curriculum satisfaction.
Bhat awarded ITHS pilot award Amritha Bhat, MBBS, MD, MPH, received the Translational Research Partnership Award for Academic Community Partnerships for her project “Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders: Building the Capacity of Birth Doulas to Improve Access to Care and Outcomes for Parents and Babies.” The pilot funding will allow the study team (Bhat, Bespalova, Adachi and Quiray) to obtain preliminary data in collaboration with Open Arms Perinatal Services to establish a proof of concept around the role doulas can play in mental health support, especially for Black/African American, Somali, Latine/Latinx, and American Indian/Alaska Native communities of the Puget Sound region. The awards support collaborations between academic and community investigators in projects that investigate a community-based health problem, disseminate evidence-based health innovations into practice, target health promotion or prevention, or examine ways to enhance or implement sustainable health programs in community settings.
Novel Therapeutics in Addiction Psychiatry Symposium
A growing body of research suggests that the use of psychedelic compounds combined with behavioral interventions may provide powerful treatment options for a range of addictions including alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, tobacco use disorder and others. Earlier this month, we convened a symposium on Novel Therapeutics in Addiction Psychiatry to explore how we can contribute to this emerging space.
Over 130 researchers, clinicians, community members, donors and people with lived experience attended the hybrid event organized by Nathan Sackett, MD, MS, Andie Uomoto, MPA, and Becky Sladek, MS. Breakout session included topics on specific treatment formats, ketamine, alcohol use disorder, opioid use disorder, education and training, preclinical studies, and a review of the legal landscape regarding the use of psychedelic drugs. Faculty members Jonathan Buchholz, MD, John Neumaier, MD, PhD, Kevin Hallgren, PhD, Rick Ries, MD, FAPA, FASM, and Andrew Saxon, MD, moderated several breakout sessions in which participants identified high-impact projects that could move the field forward in a relatively short amount of time and draw upon the existing knowledge-base in the community.
Kids win big in 2022 legislative session
The Washington State Legislature finished their legislative session last month and one of the biggest wins was in children’s behavioral health. The Legislature accepted, passed and funded nearly all the recommendations of the Children & Youth Behavioral Health Work Group, created in 2015 to develop recommendations for legislative action to improve children’s behavioral health care services in Washington. The final supplemental operating budget had many wins for kids’ mental health including:
Start-up funding for primary care clinics to build behavioral health integration for children and families
Funding for a two-year program for Community Health Workers for children and families in primary care
Funding for Strategic Plan for Kids’ Mental Health to build a coherent system of care
7% Medicaid and non-Medicaid rate increase for Behavioral Health Centers
Grants for more behavioral health clinicians in schools
Behavioral health workforce/provider relief
Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic study
Bridge funding for the current CCBHCs in the state
Support to expand School Based Health Centers
Increase the prototypical school formulas for physical, social, and emotional support in schools
Expansion of the Perinatal WARM line
Funding to increase staffing for Referral Assist for Washington Families and Teens
Funding for Partial Hospitalization / Intensive Outpatient, crucial for building a tiered system of care and for discharges from inpatient to a lower level of care
Continuous eligibility for Apple Health to children ages 0-6 with income at or below 215% Federal Poverty Level
Provider training in the current version of 0-5 classification system of mental health and developmental disorders of infancy and early childhood
Update to the well child visit periodicity schedule for Apple Health to align with Bright Futures recommendations for ages <1 to 20
Additional funding for infant and early childhood mental health consultation
A big thank you to Kristin Houser, a member of the Children & Youth Behavioral Health Work Group and a strong supporter of our department, for compiling this list and to everyone who advocated on behalf of these important programs.
Anna Ratzliff advocates for national policies that improve access to effective mental health care
In her role as Co-Director of the Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions (AIMS) Center, Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, traveled to Washington DC last month to testify in front of the US Senate Committee on Finance at a full committee hearing on “Behavioral Health Care When Americans Need It: Ensuring Parity and Care Integration.” Dr. Ratzliff spoke about the many ways Congress can help promote policies to improve access to effective mental health care including incentivizing the integration of behavioral healthcare into primary care, addressing health equity, and increasing access to telehealth. “Championing evidence-based policies that ensure that our patients receive the mental health and substance use disorder care that they need will save lives and reduce overall health costs,” said Dr. Ratzliff. After her testimony, she answered questions from committee members about topics such as insurance barriers to access and mental health parity, how the Collaborative Care Model can effectively partner with community-based organizations, how the model can support underserved communities such as BIPOC and rural individuals, support for opioid addiction, and the benefits of telemedicine. She did a fantastic job showing a broad range of expertise and played a key role bringing the perspective of the clinician and the patient experience to the panel. The hearing and Dr. Ratzliff’s testimony are accessible on the Finance Committee website.
Update: UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility
Construction activities slowed the last few months on the new UW Medicine Behavioral Health Teaching Facility (BHTF) on the UW Medical Center-Northwest campus due to a labor strike that prevented concrete deliveries in King County. Concrete deliveries have resumed and foundation work is once again underway. The building will support a full continuum of clinical services ranging from medication management and psychotherapies to state-of-the art neuromodulation treatments (see below) for adult and geriatric patients and patients who have a combination of medical, surgical, and psychiatric problems. The building will also house an interdisciplinary training and workforce development program that is focused on preparing and supporting the next generation of behavioral health providers for Washington State. The BHTF is expected to open its doors in 2024.
Open search: Garvey Family Endowed Professorship in Brain Health and Technology
The University of Washington Medical Center, with funding from the Washington State Legislature, is building a Behavioral Health Teaching facility that will open in the fall of 2023. This facility will house a Center for Neuromodulation that will serve both inpatients and outpatients. The Center for Neuromodulation will allow for multiple ECT teams, multiple TMS machines, and clinical space for use in innovative neuromodulation and therapeutics research. In addition, the Behavioral Health Teaching Facility will have 100 psychiatry beds, 50 Med/Surg beds, and a psychiatry observation unit. This facility will afford an opportunity to develop a new, cross-disciplinary program to evaluate and implement novel mental health treatment modalities. There will also opportunities to mentor and develop interprofessional personal with regards to technology and research, as well as to develop training programs on the use of emerging clinical interventions.
We are seeking candidates to hold the inaugural Garvey Family Endowed Professorship in Technology and Brain Health. The holder of this position will have the opportunity to collaborate in innovative research and develop clinical services at one of the nation’s top academic institutions. Opportunities will include working in partnership with a large and diverse faculty from many disciplines, including internationally respected leaders in the basic, clinical, public health and technological sciences. The incumbent will be responsible for demonstrating leadership in and providing excellent clinical care. The ideal context for an emerging, productive, and visionary scholar, this Endowed Professorship will provide a platform for high impact contributions to research, policy, and teaching in this rapidly growing field.
The anticipated start date for this position is Summer 2022. Learn more.
Psychiatry residency match results
Results of the National Resident Matching Program were announced this month and once again, the Psychiatry Residency program directed by Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD, had another successful Match. We received over 1,400 applications and interviewed over 170 applicants. More than 30 faculty members and residents reviewed applications and interviewed applicants -- thank you to everyone for your contributions with recruitment. We couldn’t have done it without you. Take a look at our next cohort of residents joining our Seattle track, research track, and Montana track.
We are looking forward to having all the residents join us this summer!
Psychiatry residency Idaho Program match results
The Psychiatry Residency Idaho program directed by Kristen Aaland, MD, also had a successful Match. With contributions from faculty and residents, they have recruited a 2nd cohort of new residents since the inception of the new program in 2021. Thank you to everyone for your contributions with recruitment. We couldn’t have done it without you. Take a look at our next cohort of residents joining our Idaho Residency program.
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 would like to give a shout out to Jes Olsen for persisting and making and update to the Harborview resident room updates in collaboration with chief residents Molly Howland and Chris Nguyen!
Kudos to our QI crew: Drs. Karina Uldall, Dana Dieringer, Denise Chang, Mark Newman, and Jennifer Erickson for their dedication in developing and delivering our new longitudinal QI curriculum. We now have introduced new lectures, new patient safety conference (4th Monday at noon on Zoom all faculty and residents encouraged to attend), an integrated R2 rotation experience pilot and standardizing reporting of the R3 project. Thank you for this amazing work!
Courtesy Faculty Appreciation Event – May 5
Our Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Courtesy Faculty Appreciation Event will be held this year on Thursday, May 5 from 5:30-9:00 PM at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture. The focus of this educational activity is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our education community. We will begin with a review of novel research on the psychiatric impacts of COVID-19 on health care providers followed by an overview of how the pandemic profoundly altered medical student and resident education. We will also have table discussions about how the pandemic has impacted your respective practices. We will finish by considering what lessons we learned from the pandemic and what best practices we should maintain as the pandemic recedes. The presenters will be Rebecca Hendrickson, MD, PhD, Paul Borghesani, MD, PhD, and Anna Ratzliff, MD, PhD. Free CE provided. Learn more and RSVP.
University of Washington
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 356560
Seattle, WA 98195
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