Welcome to the Newly Matched Class of 2019!
Posted: March 20th, 2015
Join us in welcoming the sixteen new residents in the Class of 2019! The new class will begin their training on June 8th.(more...)
Join us in welcoming the sixteen new residents in the Class of 2019! The new class will begin their training on June 8th.(more...)
While the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency program provides a rigorous training environment, we make sure our residents have time to relax and explore our historic city. Click here to find out what our residents and faculty enjoy most about living in Boston.Click here for the complete set of MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency videos.
McLean Hospital researchers are reporting that xenon gas, used in humans for anesthesia and diagnostic imaging, has the potential to be a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other memory-related disorders.
“In our study, we found that xenon gas has the capability of reducing memories of traumatic events,” said Edward G. Meloni, PhD, assistant psychologist at McLean Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “It’s an exciting breakthrough, as this has the potential to be a new treatment for individuals suffering from PTSD.”
In the study, published in the a recent issue of PLOS ONE, Meloni, and Marc J. Kaufman, PhD, director of the McLean Hospital Translational Imaging Laboratory, examined whether a low concentration of xenon gas could interfere with a process called reconsolidation – a state in which reactivated memories become susceptible to modification. "We know from previous research that each time an emotional memory is recalled, the brain actually restores it as if it were a new memory. With this knowledge, we decided to see whether we could alter the process by introducing xenon gas immediately after a fear memory was reactivated,” explained Meloni.(more...)
Michael Rohan, a physicist at McLean Hospital’s Brain Imaging Center, demonstrated the low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) device he developed.
Individuals with major depressive disorder or bipolar disorder who receive low-field magnetic stimulation (LFMS) show immediate and substantial mood improvement, McLean Hospital researchers report in the Aug. 1 issue of Biological Psychiatry.
“LFMS is unlike any current treatment. It uses magnetic fields that are a fraction of the strength but at a higher frequency than the electromagnetic fields used in TMS [transcranial magnetic stimulation] and ECT [electroconvulsive therapy],” explained first author Harvard Medical School.
According to Rohan, although other brain stimulation treatments like ECT and TMS are often effective for the treatment of depression, they typically take longer to impact mood, and ECT is associated with side effects such as memory loss. Similarly, while antidepressant medications can be highly effective for treating depression, it can take between four to six weeks before mood changes are detected.
“Importantly, LFMS appears to have an immediate effect on mood and thus has the potential to provide relief in emergency situations,” explained Rohan, who first reported the potential use of LFMS to treat depression in a groundbreaking study in 2004. “In addition to providing quick relief from symptoms, the other exciting piece about LFMS is that no side effects have been observed.”(more...)
National Depression Screening Day has been taking place since 1991 and is designed to screen those who may be suffering from depression but not know it. Participants fill out an anonymous questionnaire and, depending on their answers, are referred to mental health professionals for follow-up.
The screenings are given at colleges, workplaces, community-based organizations and military installations and will be available on line at the organization’s special web site, www.HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org. The website also lists local sites where screenings will be given.
A study done in 2009 showed that depression screenings are effective in connecting at-risk individuals with treatment. It showed that 55 percent of those who completed the screening online and who agreed to take part in a follow-up survey sought depression treatment within three months.
While McLean has held screening events in the past, this is the first time the hospital will be co-sponsoring the national event and will publicizing it via social media, including Facebook and Twitter.
The questionnaire allows individuals to screen themselves, in an anonymous way, for mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders and alcohol use disorders. The online screenings provide an assessment of the user’s mental health, information on whether the user’s results are consistent with a mental health disorder, an overview of signs and symptoms of treatable disorders and help getting access to local treatment options.
More than 700 colleges and over 300 community-based organizations participate, resulting in more than 120,000 screenings each year.
If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255) or a mental health professional.
Article content sourced from a McLean Hospital press release. Image source: Recovery Friendly Taos.
A gene essential for normal brain development, and also linked to autism spectrum disorders, plays a critical role in addiction-related behaviors, according to Harvard Medical School investigators at McLean Hospital.
“Chronic exposure to drugs of abuse causes changes in the brain that could underlie the transition from casual drug use to addiction. By discovering the brain molecules that control the development of drug addiction, we hope to identify new treatment approaches,” Cowan said.
The Cowan lab team, led by Laura Smith, HMS research fellow in psychiatry at McLean, used animal models to show that the fragile X mental retardation protein, or FMRP, plays a critical role in the development of addiction-related behaviors.
[The findings were published in the latest issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron. (more...)
We are excited to announce a brand new program for residents interested in medical education – The Clinician Educator Program, or CEP.
The mission of this program is to prepare residents for careers as clinician educators by offering additional training and mentorship in this area, thus helping residents develop advanced teaching skills, and also pursue academic scholarship in the field of medical education.
The program consists of several components:
Click here for a more detailed description of the program components and instructions for how to apply. Feel free to contact the CEP Co-Directors, Heather Vestal, M.D., M.H.S., and Joseph Stoklosa, M.D., with any questions.
As part of a new WBUR's new WBUR weekly feature Brain Matters, Carey Goldberg interviewed Dr. Steve Hyman. Dr. Hyman, who currently serves as the Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute explained the current challenges faced by Neuroscientests and the new methodologies which promise to solve them.
Goldberg: The Obama BRAIN initiative. We’ve had a ‘decade of the brain’ before, in the 1990s —
Dr.Hyman: It accomplished nothing. Because it was a media blitz, it wasn’t based on new science.
Goldberg: So — Why this? Why now? What’s different?
Dr. Hyman: Part of the growing public interest in the brain, and certainly much media attention, is a little bit unfortunate because it focuses on people applying tools, such as brain imaging, in ways that are untutored and underpowered but yield interesting — if not really scientifically valid — ideas about say, why a certain person is liberal or conservative, or why a certain person takes risks or is very self-protective. A subset of those may be scientifically addressable questions, but we’re a long way from understanding them deeply. Nonetheless they’re irresistible to the public and then of course it’s given rise to a new generation of debunkers — fair enough. So maybe we can set aside this false interest, this prurient interest in the brain and focus on the serious matters at hand.
The bottom line is the brain is well recognized to be the linchpin of being human in the sense that it is the substrate of thought, emotion, control of behavior, and therefore, undergirds our life trajectories, our actions, our morality. And when the brain gets sick in any way we realize that it exacts an extraordinarily severe toll on the sufferer, on families, on society. Just think about Alzheimer’s disease, heroin addiction, major depression, schizophrenia, autism, intellectual disability — these are common conditions in which people can no longer exert reliable, effective agency on their own behalf and therefore society often has to step in for them at great cost and often really great pain.
Tragically, for the longest time there wasn’t so much we could do about it. Using medications that were really discovered by luck, by prepared serendipity; using, in more recent years, the few psychotherapies, especially Cognitive Behavioral Therapies, which have been empirically tested, we have been able to help a lot of people manage their symptoms, in some cases to become better stoics. With imaging technologies we began some decades ago — though at really still very relatively poor resolution — to get spatial maps of what’s happening in the brain. But we were really stymied in terms of getting a deeper understanding, a better picture, for several reasons:...
For the full WBUR interview and links to the full Brain Matters series, click here.
As any student approaches graduation, there is always the anxiety and uncertainty around the question, "What do I do know?" The MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency program has two new fellowships, one clinical and one for research, for residents to consider when planning their post residency lives.
The MGH Fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry is a clinical fellowship linking academic medicine with community care. The new fellowship will provide advanced training at the PGY-5 level for psychiatrists who want to pursue a career in public sector psychiatry. Consistent with the mission of, and sponsored by Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, the fellowship is sited in the Erich Lindemann Mental Health Center, a community mental health center whose emphasis is rehabilitation and recovery. Click here for more details about this fellowship.
Contact Oliver Freudenreich, MD, Director, MGH Fellowship in Public and Community Psychiatry for additional information about the fellowship.
Interested in a career in research? The new Stanley Center Psychiatric Genetics and Neuroscience Fellowship may be the answer for you. This fellowship is intended to create opportunities for advanced study and research in Neuroscience, and to serve as a bridge between clinical training and the development of a research career. The Stanley Center fellowship provides a fellowship stipend for one to two years following residency training. This fellowship is only available to members or graduates of the MGH/McLean Research Concentration Program or Brigham and Women's Hospital Harvard Longwood Residency Program. Additionally, applicants must establish collaboration with a participating mentor prior to the award date. Click here for the full list of application requirements.
Contact Jennifer Moran for for additional information about the Stanley Center Psychiatry Fellowship.
In their Annual “America’s Best Hospitals” list, U.S. News & World Report MGH was ranked as the top hospital for psychiatry in the U.S., a distinction it has earned 17 times in the last 19 years. McLean was ranked as the top freestanding psychiatric hospital in the country , a distinction it has held for 18 years, and fourth overall. For the complete list please see the U.S. News & World Report website here.
Fonda with McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott Rauch, MD (left), and director David O. Russell (right).
McLean Hospital recently hosted a gala event to honor actress, author and mental health advocate Jane Fonda for her exceptional efforts to educate the public about mental health issues.
Director David O. Russell, who was honored by the hospital last year, actress Catherine Keener and actress/comedian Maya Rudolph, were among the 500 guests to show support for Fonda as she was presented with the coveted McLean Award –the hospital’s highest honor--at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston on Friday, June 20.
“I am grateful for the compassion that McLean brings to its work,” said Fonda, who eloquently and openly spoke about her mother’s suicide when Jane was just 12 years old and about her own struggle with an eating disorder.
In fitting Hollywood fashion, the evening concluded with a surprise ending when McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch and Board Chairman David S. Barlow presented Fonda with a portrait created by world-renowned Brazilian neo-pop artist Romero Britto.(more...)
June of every year is a significant time for PGY4 residents, and not just because it brings warmer weather. June is the time when PGY4 residents give their Senior Talk, a brief presentation what each resident has learned during their residency before the start their post residency careers. The subject of each talk varies, from an exploration of how shame affects both the patient and the psychiatrist to how creating a genetically modified mouse can help further our understanding of eating disorders. For a complete list of the speakers and their topics, please refer to the bottom of the article.
Additionally, each June the MGH/McLean recognizes some of our residents for their outstanding work in the clinic as well as in the lab. Please see below for the full list of award recipients.
Joan Camprodon, MD, MPH, PhD (Class of 2012), demonstrates the use of TMS on Amanda Arulpragasam, MGH Research Assistant
For patients suffering from depression, the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Psychiatry now offers another treatment option – a new clinic based in Charlestown that uses transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The clinic is part of a broader effort that includes a research enterprise program, both led by Joan Camprodon, MD, MPH, PhD, (Class of 2012) director of the Laboratory for Neuropsychiatry and Neuromodulation at Mass General. Dr. Camprodon’s team aims to understand how the brain’s structure and function affect disease and how interventions such as TMS can change the mechanisms that contribute to disease.
During a TMS procedure, focused magnetic impulses are directed to the brain. The electrical currents produced stimulate nerve cells involved in mood regulation that may be underactive in diseases such as depression. By restoring the equilibrium, TMS helps reset this imbalance of chemicals. from a diseased brain to a healthy one.(more...)
A meta-analysis of studies that investigated measures designed to improve health professionals’ interactions with patients confirms that such efforts can produce health effects just as beneficial as taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart attack. In contrast to previous such reviews, the current report from the Empathy and Relational Science Program at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) only included randomized, controlled trials with more reliable results than those included in earlier studies. While it has long been believed that a good patient-clinician relationship can improve health outcomes, objective evidence to support that belief has been hard to come by.
“Although the effect we found was small, this is the first analysis of the combined results of previous studies to show that relationship factors really do make a difference in patients’ health outcomes,” says Helen Riess, MD, (pictured above) Director of the Empathy and Relational Science Program in the MGH Department of Psychiatry, senior author of the report in the open-access journal PLOS ONE.(more...)
The Jonathan F. Borus Outstanding Early Career Educator Award in medical student education has been awarded since 2011 to a junior faculty member at Harvard Medical School who has demonstrated exceptional promise, initiative and commitment in the area of psychiatric education. The award is named in honor of Jonathan F. Borus MD, the Stanley Cobb Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus Chair of Psychiatry at the Brigham and Women’s and Faulkner Hospitals, Director of Medical Education at BWH and Co-Chair of the Partners Education Committee, who has exerted a major and lasting impact on psychiatric undergraduate and graduate education. In addition to being a master educator and educational leader, Borus is known widely for his generous mentorship and outspoken advocacy for generations of trainees who themselves have made important contributions to medical education.
Joseph Stoklosa (pictured above, Class of 2011), psychiatrist in charge of McLean’s Psychotic Disorders Unit, has been selected by the Harvard Medical School (HMS) Psychiatry Executive Committee as the 2014 co-recipient of the Jonathan F. Borus Early Outstanding Early Educator Award.(more...)
The seventeen new residents, with one joining the Class of 2017 as a PGY2, will arrive on June 5th, representing a diverse set of backgrounds and interests.(more...)
Oligodendrocytes (green) wrap electrical insulation called myelin around axons (purple). Image courtesy of Alan Hoofring, Medical Arts Design Section, NIH.
Schizophrenia is one of the most disabling of all psychiatric illnesses. Sadly, it affects is about 1% of the global population and often strikes early in life.
Many studies have looked into causes and potential interventions, and it has been long known that genetic factors play a role in determining the risk of developing schizophrenia. However, recent work has shown that there no single gene or small number of genes explains much of the risk for illness. Instead, groups of genes interact to create the illness.
In a new paper published in PLOS ONE (DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089441), MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency Program faculty Bruce M. Cohen, MD, PhD, Dost Ongur, MD, PhD (Class of 2004), and Jordan W. Smoller, MD, ScD, report promising evidence on what one of those important groups of genes may be.(more...)
President Obama's announcement of the BRAIN Initiative earlier this year brought public attention to key the questions of cognitive neuroscience, understand how brain activity leads to perception, decision making and behavior; and ultimately, use this knowledge to provide more effective treatments for debilitating diseases.
A new paper published in the current issue of Neuron, McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School researchers report that increased activity in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of the brain is linked to decreased activity in the amygdala, the portion of the brain used in the creation of memories of events that scared those exposed.
According to author Vadim Bolshakov, PhD, director of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory at McLean and professor at Harvard Medical School, this finding is significant in that it could lead to better methods to prevent PTSD.
"A single exposure to something traumatic or scary can be enough to create a fear memory--causing someone to expect and be afraid in similar situations in the future," said Bolshakov. "What we're seeing is that we may one day be able to prevent those fear memories."
Bolshakov and his colleagues tested their theory using animal models. Dividing the mice into two groups, some were taught to fear an auditory stimulus while in others fear memory was extinguished Increased activation of mPFC in extinguished animals led to inhibition of the amygdala and significant decreases in fear responses.
"For example, if a sound ended with an extremely loud shriek, a subject would come to expect that scary noise at the end of the sound," explained Bolshakov. "What we found was when we suppressed the fear memory by decreasing activity in the amygdala, the subjects were not afraid of the end of the auditory stimulus any longer."
Bolshakov notes that this work could have serious implications for the treatment of a number of conditions including PTSD.
"While there is still a great deal of research that needs to be done before our work can be translated to clinical trials, what we are showing has the potential to ensure that individuals exposed to trauma were not haunted by the conditions surrounding their initial stressor."
Adapted from a McLean Hospital news release.
The MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency is committed to fostering the research aspirations of promising psychiatric scientists. While our NIMH-funded Research Concentration Program provides support to residents during clinical training, a critical time for a researcher's career is immediately following their residency, before they have received extramural funding (e.g. a NIH Career Development, or K, Award). But as a newly announced fellowship shows, this crucial "bridge" period is increasingly well-supported by a range of opportunities for MGH/McLean residents.
On November 18th, the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research, which is part of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, announced a new post-graduate residency research fellowship exclusively available to MGH/McLean residents. The Stanley Center Fellowship for Psychiatric Genetics and Neuroscience will provide one to two years of post-residency salary support, representing at least 70% effort, for recently graduated residents beginning careers in psychiatric research. The effort represents a new partnership between the residency and the Stanley Center, which is directed by Steve Hyman, MD, a former McLean resident who later served as head of NIMH and then Harvard Provost, before taking on the Stanley Center post. Read the full announcement for this award here.
This new fellowship joins a host of other research opportunities available to MGH/McLean residents during their PGY5 and PGY6 years. (more...)
It took the Red Sox 6 games to beat the St. Louis Cardinals, a very successful baseball franchise in their own right. After an emotional championship run, fans are looking back on the moments that define what these Red Sox mean to Boston.
Fans got swept up in the moment after the Red Sox victory in Game 6 of the World Series. Light poles were climbed, “Let’s Go, Red Sox” and “Yankees Suck” were a chanted alternately. All in all it was a great moment for a city which has a difficult year. For more in depth coverage of the Red Sox's championship run, and what this season meant for the city, click here.
Joseph T. Coyle, MD, will assume the role of Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) for McLean Hospital, effective immediately. In this newly created position, Dr. Coyle will play the principal leadership role with regard to McLean’s research mission. Dr. Coyle’s leadership experience and extensive academic accomplishments make him a superb choice to serve as the CSO. His leadership will help to provide critical support and mentorship for young researchers, and enable us to even more effectively recruit and retain tomorrow’s leaders in psychiatry and neuroscience research. Importantly, the CSO will also oversee research administration at McLean, working closely with Director, Raquel Espinosa, and play a critical role at the interface with Partners Health Care and Harvard Medical School, along with McLean's CAO, Shelly Greenfield, MD, MPH.(more...)
The annual Boston Book Festival is fast becoming a favorite tradition among Boston locals. The festival, held in Copley Square on October 17-19, will feature more than 40 free adult activity sessions. These sessions include workshops and flash fiction open mike events, in which attendees can perform three-minute short stories for the audience. In addition, there will be plenty activities for kids including scavenger hunts, workshops, and craft projects. All daytime events at the book festival are free.(more...)
On September 16th 2013, a celebration was held at MGH to honor the establishment of the Michele and Howard J. Kessler Chair in Public and Community Psychiatry, with the appointment of Derri L. Shtasel, MD, MPH, as the inaugural incumbent. This chair, generously funded by the Kessler family, will help expand services for those suffering from severe and persistent mental illness, who also depend upon government and community-based agencies for their care. These illnesses are often compounded by substance use disorders, poverty, homelessness, immigration status and multiple trauma.(more...)
A recently published study by Dost Ongur, MD, PhD, Co-Director for the Research Concentration Program, Clinical Director of the Psychotic Disorders Division at McLean Hospital, and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, has found abnormalities in the myelin in the brain's white matter.
The research used two types of brain imaging: magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which measures the levels of particular chemicals in the brain; and magnetization transfer imaging, which detects changes in the level of myelin in the brain's white matter. Using these techniques, Dr. Ongur found evidence of abnormalities in both myelin and axons (nerve cell projections) in patients with schizophrenia, a serious psychiatric disorder. More specifically, they found reduced myelination of white matter pathways in people with schizophrenia, and also abnormal spread of a type of small molecule (called N-acetylaspartate) thought to be mainly contained within nerve cells.
"The notion that the brain in schizophrenia is characterized by abnormalities in connections between distant brain regions is not new, and imaging studies using diffusion tensor imaging have long suggested that the white matter where these connections travel is abnormal in this condition," Dr. Dost Ongur said in a journal news release. "However, we have not had the tools to determine whether the abnormalities are in axons, or the myelin sheath around the axons, or both."
According to the annual U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” list, McLean Hospital was ranked the top hospital for psychiatry, and Mass General was ranked the #2 best hospital in the nation overall. McLean also continues to be ranked as the nation’s top free-standing psychiatric hospital—a distinction it has held for 17 years. Joining McLean at the top of this year’s list are John’s Hopkins at number two and MassGeneral at number three.
Harvard researcher David Ludwig has linked low blood glucose levels with high activation of the nucleus accumbens, a brain region specifically involved in reward and craving, known addictive behaviors. Using fMRI analysis, his team found that the glycemic load of foods, not caloric intake, significantly alters brain function, promoting hunger and overeating, behaviors related to substance abuse and dependence.Read the full article on the Harvard Medical School website.
Sixteen new residents are gracing the halls of MGH and McLean Hospital. They are excited to begin their journey from medical student to independent clinician with the expert guidance of our faculty and senior residents.
In June, 2013, some of our senior residents were honored for their outstanding work:
Matthew K. Nock is the director of the Laboratory for Clinical and Developmental Research at Harvard. As suicide rates rise higher than murder and warfare, researchers are searching for clues and ways of predicting risk in individuals. "Last year, more active-duty U.S. soldiers killed themselves than died in combat; their suicide rate has been rising since 2004." Nock, a clinical psychologist and recipient of a MacArthur genius award, is interviewing soldiers who have recently attempted suicide. He hopes to glean patterns from these data, and use that knowledge as a path to prevention. He hopes to develop a predictive test and is currently investigating the use of the Implicit Association Test, developed by Mahzarin Banaji at Harvard.
In June, the Class of 2013 presented their work in the annual Senior Talks Symposium at McLean and MGH. At McLean, residents discussed the process of disruption and repair, identifying with patients, and the importance of screening and intervention for public health. Two complementary talks addressed the importance of peer education, and the value of peer support during residency. The talks in the Ether Dome at MGH ranged from a philosophical analysis of autonomy to neuroimaging in mouse models. Residents presented on complicating factors such as sociocultural issues, comorbidity, and trauma and their impact on public health.
Speakers are listed below.
Padihershef, originally a stonecutter from the Necropolis in Thebes, now resides in the Bulfinch Ether Dome at MGH. In June, 2013, he underwent some protective refurbishing by professional conservators. The process, viewable by the public, corrected salt deposits on his face and wardrobe inaccuracies. MGH received the mummy as a gift from the city of Boston in 1823. The mummy will now remain on display in a custom-made, climate-controlled case.
On Friday, June 21, 2013 McLean Hospital recognized Academy Award-nominated director David O. Russell for his work to raise public awareness of mental illness. Russell toured McLean Hospital, which he called the "gold standard" of mental health care facilities. Russell has personal insight to offer the character development, as his son is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. "There's a whole population of people who need something that is as caring and thoughtful and experienced as McLean is," said Russell.
The McLean Hospital Admissions Building was built in 1987.
On Wednesday, June 12, 2013 McLean Hospital won approval from the Public Health Council to build a three-story expansion of the Admissions Building on the Belmont campus. This will significantly expand inpatient units, which will enhance care and research in areas such as the psychotic disorders program. In addition, the hospital will expand interpreter services for patients.
“NIMH will be re-orienting its research away from DSM categories,” stated NIMH director Thomas Insel in April, 2013. He supports an effort to re-categorize mental-health disorders according to their biological bases. To this end, the NIMH is developing a framework called the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC). Many scientists protest that the DSM categories do not allow for effective clinical treatment. Some researchers also have concerns that the RDoC focus on biological mechanisms will detract from research on clinical symptoms.
Read the full article here. Source: Nature, Wednesday, May 10, 2013
"Brainbow," originally developed by researchers at Harvard University in 2007, is getting an upgrade. This system creates colorful images of brain tissue by activating multiple fluorescent proteins in neurons. Brainbow has the resolution to visualize individual neurons, which has enhanced researchers' ability to chart the circuitry of the brain and nervous system.
In 2013 Brainbow is getting significant technical improvements. The colors will be brighter, more variable, more persistent, and therefore more usable. These enhancements will enable researchers to better target certain parts of the brain and visualize the neuronal connections between different regions of the brain.
Read the full article in the Harvard Gazette. Source: Harvard Gazette, Wednesday, May 15, 2013
The loss of a loved one is an especially painful and disruptive event. A study by Harvard researchers shows that, for a small number of people, the sorrow that comes with the death of a spouse or partner can lead to problems not only in remembering the past, but also in imagining the future.
As described in a paper published last month in Clinical Psychological Science, Professor of Psychology Richard McNally and clinical psychology graduate student Don Robinaugh found that while people suffering from complicated grief — a syndrome marked by intense, debilitating emotional distress and yearning for a lost loved one — had difficulty envisioning specific future events, those problems disappeared when they were asked to imagine an alternate future that included their lost loved one.
The full story available at here.Source: Harvard Gazette, May 10, 2013
Does religious belief have anything to do with psychiatric treatment outcomes? Recent research by David Rosmarin of McLean Hospital suggests that the level of a patient's belief in God may have influence on the likelihood of treatment response.
By asking 159 patients in a day-treatment program the question "To what extent do you believe in God or a Higher Power?" Rosmarin found that those who answered "Very" or "Moderately" were more likely to respond to treatment than patients who expressed lesser religious belief. This relationship is believed to be mediated by a greater expectancy of treatment success: greater belief in God was correlated to greater belief in credibility of treatment and expectation of treatment efficacy.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have identified two pairs of dopaminergic neurons with links to the fly brain's central complex, suggesting that important components of aggression-related behaviors may be processed there."This is the first research to identify single dopaminergic neurons that modulate a complex behavior—aggression—in fruit flies,” said Edward Kravitz, George Packer Berry Professor of Neurobiology at HMS and lead author of the study.
Read the full story here. Source: HMS News, April 18, 2013
As Boston recovers from Monday's bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, mental health specialists from around the city are advocating attention be paid to the psychological, as well as the physical trauma of this event. Children in particular are at risk, and may need help from parents and teachers in processing the events.
Drs. Eugene Beresin of the MGH and Michael Leslie of McLean Hospital were both quoted in a recent article in the Boston Globe. Speaking of the need for witnesses and victims of the bombing to regain a sense of safety and security in their lives, Leslie advocates “Activities which are grounding, which they are able to participate in in a mindful way, which help them realize they are currently safe, and they don’t need to be in a constant state of dread.”
Our hearts go out to all of the victims of this tragedy. We hope that MGH, McLean, and all of Boston's hospitals can continue to provide the exceptional care that will help the victims and this city to heal.
Read the full article in the Globe hereSource: Boston Globe, April 17, 2013
The sixteen new residents will arrive on June 6th, representing a diverse set of backgrounds and interests.(more...)
George Church, the Robert Winthrop Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, is one of the key researchers behind the next big project in neuroscience: The Brain Activity Map. The project, which has been compared in scope to that of the Human Genome Project, aims to provide scientists with a full map of the brain's functions and connections.
Church sat recently for an interview on the project, its applications, and his own role. The full interview can be found here. Source: HMS News February 20, 2013.
The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has awarded Harvard Medical School a $100 million grant to create a transformative 10-year initiative — Harvard Integrated Program to Protect and Improve the Health of NFLPA Members. The program will marshal the intellectual, scientific, and medical expertise throughout Harvard University to discover new approaches to diagnose, treat, and prevent injuries and illnesses found in both active and retired players.
“We are honored to work with the NFLPA to address the health challenges faced by NFL players and so many of America’s athletes,” said Jeffrey S. Flier, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard University. “We will harness the vast expertise of Harvard Medical School, its world-class affiliated hospitals, and Harvard University’s 10 Schools to ensure that we make a meaningful difference in the lives of these players through advances in medicine, science, and technology. We are committed to going beyond our walls. We will reach out to other institutions when necessary, in order to access the resources needed to solve the most pressing medical issues identified by the NFLPA.”
Read the full story here.Source: Harvard Gazette, January 29, 2013
Milissa Kaufman, MD, PhD, will begin her role as Associate Training Directors of the MGH/McLean Psychiatry Residency later this month. Kaufman, who currently serves as the director of the Hill Center for Women at McLean Hospital, will continue to fulfill both roles.----- (more...)
The December 12th event featured talks from leaders in psychiatry and neuroscience research, including a keynote presentation from Steve Hyman, former head of the National Institute for Mental Health, and currently Director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT).
A poster session featured work from current RCP residents and allow faculty, residents, and visiting applicants to share their thoughts and experience with the wide ranging possibilities for research in the Boston neuroscience and psychiatric communities.
On November 1, Felicia Smith stepped into her new role as Program Director for the Adult Psychiatry Residency Program.
Felicia, a 2004 graduate of the MGH/McLean residency program, currently serves as Associate Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine and the MGH Psychosomatic Fellowship. She previously performed the role of Associate Residency Training Director for the residency from 2004 to 2007, and became the Director of the Acute Psychiatry Service in 2008. Dr. Smith will continue as the Associate Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine, in addition to fulfilling her new duties with the residency.
Felicia’s appointment, which was announced on October 4, comes as no surprise to many in the residency program. Says MGH Chief of Psychiatry Jerry Rosenbaum, “Felicia is an ideal person to take the residency helm going forward. We could not have been happier to learn that she was enthusiastic about accepting the position.” In a statement to the residency community, McLean Hospital President Scott Rauch also expressed his excitement about the recent announcement. “Felicia is an expert clinician, a master teacher, a respected and admired colleague and leader, and will be a terrific training director.”
Over the past month, Felicia has been working closely with the outgoing Director of Residency Training, Kathy Sanders, who has accepted an appointment as Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As Felicia takes on this new challenge, please join us in extending a warm welcome and wishing her luck as our new Director of Residency Training!
After 12 years of service as Program Director, Kathy Sanders announced this month that she is stepping up as Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Department of Mental Health for Massachusetts oversees mental health care and policy for the entire Commonwealth. In her new role, Kathy will work closely with state Commissioner Marcia Fowler, who stepped up as head of the Department of Mental Health in February. As Deputy Commissioner, Kathy will be responsible for the standards and regulation of all state and contracted mental health inpatient and community-based programs, as well as training and research grants, which serve over 21,000 citizens suffering from severe and chronic mental illness.
The announcement comes as a great honor to the MGH/McLean Psychiatry community. “We are very proud of Kathy’s achievement,” says Justin Baker, Associate Director of the Research Concentration Program. “It is an expression both of her talents as a clinician, educator, and communicator. We are thrilled about this opportunity to extend our potential impact, and are pleased that Kathy will be able to put her expertise to use ensuring the quality of mental health care in Massachusetts.” Kathy Sanders has been a vital presence in the MGH Department of Psychiatry since she arrived in 1988 for a psychosomatic fellowship. While distinguishing herself as an attending physician in the inpatient psychiatry unit and as Director of the Acute Psychiatry Service, Kathy also served as Associate Residency Training Director for 9 years. In 2001, she took on the role of Director of the MGH McLean Residency Training, overseeing the early years of the combined residency program. Throughout her distinguished career, she has served as a primary mentor to scores of psychiatry trainees, and has launched the careers of psychiatrists who are now spread across the country and the globe.
As Kathy prepares to begin her new role on November 1, we thank her for her years of dedicated leadership and wish her well in her new position!
|Brittany Albright was awarded a Bachelors in Science from Emory University in 2007, and holds an MPH and MD from the University of New Mexico. Her interests include public health and healthcare policy, as well as treatments for addiction in pregnant women. While in Boston, she hopes to take advantage of opportunities at MGH and Mclean to pursue her interests in addiction medicine and alternative therapies.|
|David Beckmann holds a BS degree from Duke University and studied for his MD at the University of Pennsylvania. While at Penn he also completed a Masters in Public Health, working with Philadelphia’s Child Welfare system, examining ways to improve quality and access to mental health care. He looks forward to working with community outreach programs at MGH, exploring ways to bring mental health care to disadvantaged children and adolescents.|
|Deanna Chaukos studied community health and immunology at Brown University, where she became interested in the bio-psycho-social impact of HIV in North America. She attended medical school at the University of Toronto, where she was drawn to psychiatry and inner city mental health. She hopes that MGH and McLean will enable her to aid in the promotion of mental health among disadvantaged communities in the Boston area.|
|Kevin Donnelly-Boylen holds a BA from University of Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied political science. After several years working as an EMT in Boston, Kevin pursued his medical degree at Georgetown University. He is thrilled to spend the next four years at Mass General and Mclean exploring the intersection between HIV and psychiatry, as well as issues of LGBTQ health.|
|Adrienne Gerken did her undergraduate training at Harvard University, and spent three years working as an editor for travel guides before heading to medical school. She holds an MD from Columbia University, where she won a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellowship to work on projects in pediatric endocrinology. Adrienne hopes that the diversity of resources at MGH and McLean will allow her to explore her wide range of interests.|
|Kavitha Kolappa graduated with a BA in International Studies from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2005, before pursuing an MD from Johns Hopkins, followed by an MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. Kavitha is learning from Dr. Greg Fricchione at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine to further her understanding of mind body medical approaches and the relationship between depression and chronic illness.|
|Hermioni Lokko grew up in Ghana before moving to Indiana to study for her undergraduate degree at Purdue University. Hermioni came to Boston to study for both her MD and a Master’s in Public Policy at Harvard. She is interested in bringing her training to the domains of global health and health policy, and during her residency hopes to evaluate the structure for psychiatry training in Global settings and explore the relationship between child welfare and mental health.|
|David Marcovitz studied Russian literature at Princeton, and spent a year working on public health projects on a Fulbright in Russia before heading south and undergoing his medical training at Vanderbilt University. He decided to attend the psychiatry residency program at MGH and McLean in order to gain further experience with both bipolar disorder and addictions, as well as pursue interests in mental health advocacy and medical education.|
|Thomas McCoy completed his undergrad at Dartmouth College, where he studied philosophy and neuroscience. He pursued his MD at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, where he took a year to research external fixation biomechanics. Tom has arrived in Boston eager to utilize the resources of MGH and McLean to continue his research in medical informatics.|
|Michael Murphy studied at the University of Wisconsin for over a decade, earning his BS, MD, and a PhD in neuroscience. Michael is excited to move to Boston to continue his research into the differential sleep patterns of those with psychiatric illness. As a member of the MGH/McLean psychiatry residency’s Research Concentration Program, he intends to work in a lab using EEG and functional connectivity MRI techniques to study sleep behavior.|
|A. Blythe Rose graduated from Brown in 2002, and spent several years conducting research in child psychiatry, brain imaging, and genetics at the NIMH. Blythe then studied medical anthropology in Guatemala and Costa Rica before pursuing an MPH in International Health at BU and an MD at the Harvard Medical School. She is interested in determinants of childhood resilience, and plans to work within the Division of Global Psychiatry at MGH during residency|
|Alex Sidelnik grew up in Kansas City before attending Duke University, where he swam competitively and majored in Biology. He completed his MD at the Tufts University School of Medicine, and is excited to remain in Boston, where he has plans to work clinically with psychotic and bipolar disorders, as well as continue his pursuit of interests related to health care policy.|
|Michael Soule studied International Relations at Brown before attending medical school at Yale and pursuing research in Ukraine on the intersection between injection opiate use, HIV, and public policy. Michael has a developing interest in medical education, and has conducted research on the place of substance abuse treatment in the U.S. correctional system. He is excited to train in psychiatry with a faculty of such unparalleled depth and breadth.|
|David Van Norstrand grew up in Minnesota and attended Calvin College in Michigan, where he studied physics. He completed the MD PhD program at the Mayo Medical School, investigating the genetics of sudden infant death in a cardiac arrhythmias lab. David hopes to apply his training in genetics to the etiology of psychiatric diseases during the next four years of his residency.|
|James Wilkins majored in Biochemistry at Bowdoin College, where he won a Marshall Scholarship to pursue a DPhil in Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. After earning his DPhil, he attended Harvard Medical School, and has remained in Boston since. James is interested in geriatric psychiatry and Medicare/Medicaid, and is eager to gain experience developing behavioral treatment modules.|
|Anna Wiste studied neuroscience and behavior at Columbia University, and graduated with an MD PhD from Emory University in 2010. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research investigated genetic associations with mood disorders, and she is excited to pursue research into genetic risk prediction for both mood disorders and other psychiatric conditions while at MGH and McLean.|
Mass General was ranked the #1 hospital in the nation, according to the annual U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Hospitals” list released Tuesday, a first for the hospital in the 22-year history of the survey. McLean Hospital received its highest ranking since 1994, placing second among all psychiatric services nationwide. McLean also continues to be ranked as the nation’s top free-standing psychiatric hospital—a distinction it has held for more than a decade. Joining McLean at the top of this year’s list are John’s Hopkins at number one and MassGeneral at number three.
“Each year we have been both honored and humbled to be recognized among the nation’s highest achieving hospitals, and this year it is especially gratifying to be ranked number one,” said Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president.
The special occasion was celebrated at the Harvard Club on Saturday June 16th. The sixteen graduating residents of the MGH/McLean Adult Psychiatry Class of 2012, including the first three graduates of the Research Concentration Program, will move on to the next stage of their careers, transitioning to a broad array of exciting positions as psychiatry fellows, attendings, researchers, and outpatient practitioners.
All but one resident of the graduating class has elected to remain within the MGH and McLean communities following residency (see below). Amelia Dubovsky, who served as the 2011-2012 MGH Chief Resident, will be sorely missed as she moves on to a psychosomatics fellowship in Seattle, Washington.
Best of luck to all! We will follow your careers with pride and enthusiasm!
Pictured: Claire Brickell discusses the topic of free will in the context of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Over the past two weeks, the Class of 2012 presented their work in the annual Senior Talks Symposium at McLean and MGH. Topics during week one covered a wide range and included a discussion of evil and psychopathy, group psychotherapy for patients with psychotic disorders, the neural correlates of emotional experiences in depression, and the epigenetics of schizophrenia. Week two featured a discussion of combined neuromodulation and neuroimaging, the psychodynamics of psychopharmacology, and the rise of "Bath Salts" as a new illicit drug. The full schedule is listed below.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012 McLean, de Marneffe, Room 132
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 MGH, Haber Auditorium
In a study of responses to St. John's wort, sertraline, and placebo, Justin Chen, Class of 2013, and colleagues showed that patients who believed they were receiving active therapy rather than placebo obtained greater improvement, independent of treatment. They found that patient beliefs regarding treatment may have a stronger association with clinical outcome than the actual medication received, and the strength of this association may depend upon the particular combination of treatment guessed and treatment received.
Chen JA, Papakostas GI, Youn SJ, Baer L, Clain AJ, Fava M, Mischoulon D. (2011) Association between patient beliefs regarding assigned treatment and clinical response: reanalysis of data from the Hypericum Depression Trial Study Group. J Clin Psychiatry. 2011 Dec;72(12):1669-76.
Steve Seiner, MD, Associate Director of the Residency Program, won the APA Nancy C.A. Roeske Certificate of Excellence in Medical Student Teaching presented at the 2012 APA Meeting and again during the 2012 Harvard Medical School Psychiatry Medical Student Education Awards Ceremony. Oriana Vesga-Lopez, Class of 2013, was awarded one of the Harvard Medical School Resident Teaching Awards from the HMS Class of 2012.
The MGH Division of Global Psychiatry, under the leadership of Dr. David Henderson, has partnered with the MGH/McLean residency (under the leadership of Maithri Amereskere from the Class of 2015) to build a new Global Psychiatry concentration program, which will be available to interested residents during the PGY2 and PGY3 years with particular interest in global mental health. The Global Psychiatry division also recently received a T32 grant to support residents with global psychiatry interests following graduation from residency.
Dr. Kathy Sanders was recently inaugurated as the 2012-2013 President of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatry Residency Training (AADPRT).
The Program in Psychodynamics will be led by Robert Waldinger MD (MGH Director of Psychotherapy Research and Training, pictured) and Richard Schwartz MD (McLean and BPSI).(more...)
Michael Halassa, Class of 2013, recently published a first author paper in Nature Neuroscience, describing work he carried out at MIT in the lab of Christopher Moore, now at Brown University. By selective optical control of thalamic activity, Mike and colleagues demonstrated that sleep spindles can be causally generated with millisecond precision to understand their role in physiology and behavior. The work was carried out while Mike was a PGY1 and PGY2 in the Research Concentration Program.
Mike was also recently awarded a NIH pathway to independence career award (K99/R00) through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the first time such an award has been obtained by a current MGH/McLean resident.
In Spring 2011, the residency program was awarded an Institutional Research Education Grant (R25) from the National Institute for Mental Health. Under the leadership of Maurizio Fava MD and Shelly Greenfield MD, MPH and with support from over fifty junior and senior research faculty across our two campuses, this five-year, $250K education grant is designed to foster research training and mentorship for all residents in our program. In addition, the grant allows the residency to further develop the Research Concentration Program, a program established in 2007 to optimize clinical and research training for residents with substantial research experience who plan to embark on psychiatric research careers. John Denninger, MD, PhD, and Dost Ongur, MD, PhD will serve as co-director of the RCP, with recent graduate Justin Baker MD, PhD, serving as Associate Director.Pictured, from left: John Denninger, Co-Director of the RCP; Shelly Greenfield, co-PI; Maurizio Fava, co-PI; Kathy Sanders, Training Director; Justin Baker, Associate Director of the RCP; Joy Littlefield.