MGH/McLean Alumni and Program Faculty Receives HMS Educator Award

Posted: April 11th, 2014

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.

Stoklosa, received his Bachelor of Science summa cum laude from the University of Rochester and attended medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed his psychiatry residency training at MGH/McLean where he was chief resident for the Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders Program. He has taught in the second year preclinical psychiatry course since 2009, in addition to teaching and supervising advanced elective students from HMS and visiting schools on the McLean Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders Unit. Stoklosa is also actively involved in the MGH/McLean Adult Residency Training Program where he co-chairs the Evaluation and Feedback Committee. He is working toward a Master Educator Certificate through the Association for Academic Psychiatry and has twice been uniquely recognized with the Ed Messner Teaching Award both as a chief resident and as an instructor.

Stoklosa’s devotion and effectiveness as an educator are underscored in excerpts from student nominations:

“He demonstrated the earnest compassion that all patients hope to find in their physicians…he exemplified the type of physician I hope to be.”

“He gave greatly helpful feedback in such a way that you wanted to come back immediately and practice again, having increased confidence in what you should continue doing and skill sets to further improve on things that are lacking. It was the most constructive feedback I have received from any tutor or preceptor at HMS….The momentum he generated continued far beyond the short time we had with him at McLean.”

“Every week we would send him write-ups which he would return promptly with incredibly detailed and specific comments. These comments reflected perhaps the most time I have ever seen a professor spend on editing notes. It was clear he cared a great deal about our growth in thinking critically about our patients."

If Joe’s respect for us – evidenced through his dedication to teaching – was profound, so was his respect for his patients…He demanded that we offer real empathy to our patients and put ourselves in their shoes, rather than merely sympathize from a distance. He demonstrated a belief that working for and with his patients was a genuine privilege.”

Content in this article from April 9, 2014 issue of McLean News.

Welcome to the Newly Matched Class of 2018!

Posted: March 21st, 2014

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.

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Unraveling the Genetic Factors Behind Schizophrenia

Posted: March 5th, 2014

Image courtesy of Alan Hoofring, Medical Arts Design Section, NIH

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.

Previous studies of schizophrenia have shown abnormalities in the brain’s white matter — wiring and insulation — but these studies could not definitively separate inherited from environmental causes. Previously discovered anomalies were used in this study to select likely assortments of genes that, as a group, might be highly determinative of the risk for schizophrenia. The choice of genes was based on convergent results of past studies conducted locally and around the world, and included genes that control the insulation of the nerve cells in the brain. The results of this study are important because they strongly suggest that the abnormalities of wiring and insulation are substantially determined by genes.

“There is abundant evidence from our center and from other laboratories that this insulation is compromised in schizophrenia,” said study co-author Cohen, director of the Shervert Frazier Research Institute at McLean Hospital. “Based on this lead, we tested whether the genes required for the activities of the cells that make this insulation (oligodendrocytes) were associated with schizophrenia. In a primary analysis, followed by three separate means of confirmatory analysis, we found strong evidence that genes for oligodendrocytes, as a group, were indeed associated with schizophrenia.”

The findings of this study suggest a concrete reason why insulation is disrupted in the brain in schizophrenia. This disruption, in turn may explain why thinking is altered in schizophrenia because nerve cells are unable to pass exact messages if they lack proper insulation. Further, the findings show that the abnormality in insulation is genetically determined. It is not due to years of treatment or to different life activities or exposure to toxins in the environment. Finally, the results identify a specific cell level abnormality, in oligodendrocytes, in schizophrenia. Similar findings, using different techniques, were recently reported by an independent group of investigators, working separately but contemporaneously with the authors of this study.

“Knowing that one of the pathways of risk for schizophrenia is in this set of genes and in these cells may help identify who is at risk and in what way they are at risk,” said Cohen. “The cells themselves will next be studied to define the problem and seek methods to prevent or reverse it. Thus, the findings can point us towards new ways to reduce the risk and burden of schizophrenia."

Click here for the full text PLOS One article.

Source content for this article is from McLean News, published March 4, 2014.

A New Post-Residency Fellowship for the Psychiatric Scientist

Posted: November 26th, 2013

Stanley Center Fellowship in Psychiatric Genetics and Neuroscience

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...)

Boston Stronger

Posted: November 1st, 2013

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.

Source, Boston.com

Announcing McLean’s Chief Scientific Officer

Posted: October 3rd, 2013

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.

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Over 150 Literary Celebrities Set to Speak at the Fifth Annual Boston Book Festival

Posted: October 2nd, 2013

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.

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Spotlight on Underserved Populations through an Endowed Chair of Public and Community Psychiatry

Posted: October 1st, 2013

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.

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Novel imaging approach shows both myelin and axonal changes in schizophrenia

Posted: September 23rd, 2013

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."

Click here to read the full article in U.S. News and World Report.
Click here for the abstract of the article in Biological Psychiatry.

McLean and MGH Ranked Top Hospitals in Country

Posted: July 16th, 2013

MGH and McLean are among the nation's best hospitals for Psychiatry

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.

Brain Imaging and Food Addiction

Posted: July 11th, 2013

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.

Class of 2017 has Arrived

Posted: July 1st, 2013

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.

Get to know the Current Residents in the entire MGH/McLean program. A few of our new residents are also engaged in research. Learn about the residents in our Research Concentration Program.

Award-Winning Residents @ MGH/McLean

Posted: July 1st, 2013

In June, 2013, some of our senior residents were honored for their outstanding work:

  • Hackett Award – Avi Gerstenblith, MD
  • Joyce Tedlow Award – Justin Chen, MD
  • Paul Howard Award – Leah Bauer, MD
  • Ed Messner Award – Justin Chen, MD
  • Anne Alonso Award – Oriana Vesga Lopez, MD
  • Mel Kayce Award – Benjamin Herbstman, MD, MHS
  • Laughlin Award – John Taylor, M.D., M.B.A.
  • Outstanding Contribution to Neuroscience Award – Mike Halassa, MD, PhD

Evidence-Based Research about Suicide

Posted: June 27th, 2013

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.

Read the full article on the New York Times website.

Imbalance, Healing and Transformation during Residency

Posted: June 26th, 2013

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.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013 McLean, de Marneffe, Room 132
  • Benjamin Herbstman, M.D., M.H.S. - "Healing through Disruption and Repair"
  • Christopher Keary, M.D. - "The Resident as Teacher: Experiences designing a resident teaching curriculum"
  • Brian Hurley, M.D., M.B.A. - "Transforming the World by Providing Care to Patients who Use Substances"
  • Ying Wang, M.D. - "Parallel Journeys - Learning and Growing Alongside My Patients"
  • Lazaro Zayas, M.D. and Jonathan Moran, M.D., M.B.A. - "Are we all imbalanced? Attempting to achieve well-being in residency: Getting by with a little help from our friends"
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 MGH, Ether Dome
  • John Taylor, M.D., M.B.A. - "The Burden of Psychiatric Illness in High Utilizers of Healthcare Resources"
  • Justin Chen, M.D. - "Toward suicide prevention in East Asia: A sociocultural, historical, and legal perspective"
  • Avi Gerstenblith, M.D. - "Reflections"
  • Michael Halassa, M.D., Ph.D. - "Why Psychiatry?"
  • Amanda Green, M.D. - "Autonomy"
  • Oriana Vesga Lopez, M.D. - "Remembering and working through"
  • Elizabeth Levey, M.D. - "From the Ashes of Disaster: Growing up in Liberia"
  • Leah Bauer, M.D. - "Three Extraordinary Women and What They’ve Taught Me about Life and Doctoring"

Restoration of 2,500 Year-Old Mummy at MGH

Posted: June 26th, 2013

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.

Read the full Boston Globe article here.


Silver Linings’ director calls McLean “Gold Standard”

Posted: June 24th, 2013

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.

Read the full article in the Boston Globe here.

$12.5 million expansion of McLean Hospital

Posted: June 13th, 2013


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.

Read the article on BostonGlobe.com

DSM-5 Controversy and its Impact on Research

Posted: May 22nd, 2013

“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

Breakthrough system for producing images of brain, nervous system

Posted: May 20th, 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 GazetteSource: Harvard Gazette, Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Envisioning the future with complicated grief

Posted: May 14th, 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

Faith in treatment; faith in God

Posted: May 9th, 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.

Further reading available here. The published journal article can be found here.

Investigating the roots of aggression

Posted: April 24th, 2013

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

Healing a city’s psyche

Posted: April 18th, 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

Welcome to the Newly Matched Class of 2017!

Posted: March 15th, 2013

The sixteen new residents will arrive on June 6th, representing a diverse set of backgrounds and interests.

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HMS Professor George Church on the Brain Activity Map

Posted: February 25th, 2013

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.

HMS to launch $100M project with NFL Players Association

Posted: February 5th, 2013

Harvard Medical School has received $100M from the NFL Players Association to conduct a ten-year study on health risks for active and retired players

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

MGH and McLean researchers on marijuana legalization

Posted: January 19th, 2013



A. Edin Evins, MD, Director of Center for Addiction Medicine at MGH and Staci Gruber, PhD, Director of the Cognitive and Clinical Neuroimaging Core at McLean Hospital, were quoted in a recent New York Times article concerning recent changes in the legality of marijuana.

Speaking about the potential risks involved in Washington and Colorado's recent legalization of marijuana for public use, Dr. Evins warned that “Before we unleash the powers of the marketplace to woo people to use this addictive substance, we need to better understand who is at risk. Once moneyed interests are involved, this trend will be difficult to reverse."

Dr. Gruber addressed the dangers of marijuana use in teens and young adults, whose brains are still developing. “The frontal cortex is the last part of the brain to come online, and the most important,” said Dr. Gruber. “Early exposure perhaps changes the trajectory of brain development, such that ability to perform complex executive function tasks is compromised.”

The full story, which appeared in the January 8, 2013 edition of the NY Times, is available here.

Milissa Kaufman to serve as Associate Training Director

Posted: January 1st, 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.

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Steve Hyman keynotes RCP symposium: “The Future of the Psychiatric Scientist”

Posted: November 14th, 2012

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.


Schedule
  • 10:30 - 11:00 | Coffee & Pastries
  • 11:00 - 11:15 | Introductory remarks – Jerrold Rosenbaum & Scott Rauch
  • 11:15 - 11:30 | Overview of the RCP – Justin Baker, Dost Ongur, and John Denninger
  • 11:30 - 12:00 | Keynote Presentation – Steve Hyman
  • 12:00 - 12:15 | Lunch Buffet
  • 12:15 - 01:45 | Selected Scientific Presentations - Faculty
  • 01:45 - 02:00 | Closing Remarks - Maurizio Fava & Shelly Greenfield
  • 02:00 - 03:00 | Poster Session - Residents of the MGH/McLean RCP

MGH/McLean congratulates new Director of Residency Training

Posted: November 6th, 2012

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!

Kathy Sanders to serve as Deputy Commissioner, Department of Mental Health, Massachusetts

Posted: October 15th, 2012

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!

Introducing the class of 2016

Posted: August 10th, 2012

The sixteen new residents arrived on June 8th, representing a diverse set of backgrounds and interests, from global health and political advocacy to mind-body medicine and the neuroscience of sleep. They began their clinical rotations on June 21st, and here we introduce them.
 Brittany Albright 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
Blythe Rose 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 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 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 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 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 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.

MGH and McLean remain top-ranked hospitals for psychiatry

Posted: July 23rd, 2012

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.

Class of 2012 graduates

Posted: June 24th, 2012

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!


Immediate post-graduate plans of the MGH / McLean Class of 2012
  • Karen Adler, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, Women’s Treatment Program at Hill Center, Family Therapist for Borderline Center, McLean
  • Claire Brickell, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Hannah Brown, M.D. MGH Schizophrenia Fellowship
  • Argyro Caminis, M.D., M.P.H. Attending Psychiatrist, Short Term Unit, McLean
  • Joan Camprodon, M.D., Ph.D. Director, Laboratory for Neuropsychiatry & Neuromodulation at MGH Director of Translational Research, Division of Neurotherapeutics at MGH; Neuropsychiatry & Behavioral Neurology Fellowship at MGH; Dupont -Warren Fellowship Award, MGH
  • Nicole Christian, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Jeffrey DeVido, M.D., M.T.S. Partners Healthcare Addiction Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Amelia Dubovsky, M.D. Psychosomatics Fellowship, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Sharmin Ghaznavi, M.D., Ph.D. Dupont-Warren Fellowship Award; MGH Bipolar Clinical and Research Program; Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Fellowship, Newton, MA
  • Ellen House, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Kelly Irwin, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, MGH Cancer Center in Psychiatric Oncology and MGH Schizophrenia Program
  • William Ruzicka, M.D., Ph.D. Attending Psychiatrist, McLean; Dupont-Warren Fellowship Award; APA/Pfizer MD/PhD Psychiatric Research Fellowship, McLean
  • Brian Schulman, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, MGH Bipolar Clinical and Research Program; MGH Center for Addiction Medicine. Advanced Training Program at Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute, Newton, MA
  • Andrea Spencer, M.D. MGH/McLean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship
  • Christopher Tangren, M.D. Attending Psychiatrist, Dissociative Disorders and Trauma Program, McLean; Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Fellowship, Newton, MA

Free will; Good & Evil; Nature & Nurture

Posted: June 14th, 2012

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

  • 1:00 – Jeff DeVido, M.D. – The Question of Evil
  • 1:30 – Karen Adler, M.D. – From object to subject: The role of the patient's experience of the therapist's subjectivity as a catalyst for change
  • 2:00 – Ellen House, M.D. – A Safe Arena: Group Psychotherapy and Psychosis
  • 2:30 – Chris Tangren, M.D. – The Couch and the Anchor: The Use of Metaphors in Psychotherapy
  • 3:30 – Brad Ruzicka, M.D. Ph.D. – Nature, Nurture, and Chromatin Structure
  • 4:00 – Claire Brickell, M.D. – Psychotherapy and Free Will
  • 4:30 – Sharmin Ghaznavi, M.D., Ph.D. – Neural Evidence for the Struggle To Feel Good in Major Depression

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 MGH, Haber Auditorium

  • 1:00 – Brian Schulman, M.D. – The Psychodynamics of Psychopharmacology
  • 1:30 – Amelia Dubovsky, M.D. – A Brief History of Graduate Medical Education: the Birth of Duty Hours
  • 2:00 – Hannah Brown, M.D. –Bath Salts: The Rise of a New Drug
  • 2:30 – Joan Camprodon, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D. – Simultaneous combination of TMS and fMRI: a window into mechanisms of neuropsychiatric disease and recovery
  • 3:15 – Argo Caminis, M.D. – At the Couch-side: Teaching for Medical Students and Junior Residents in Inpatient Psychiatry
  • 3:45 – Nicole Christian, M.D. – Traditional Mental Health Care in a Post-Conflict Society
  • 4:15 – Kelly Irwin, M.D. – Is everyone having a baby? Or is it just me?

The power of belief

Posted: May 24th, 2012

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.

Teaching awards go to our faculty and residents

Posted: May 24th, 2012

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.

MGH/McLean goes global

Posted: May 19th, 2012

Photo by Jason Judy from Flickr.

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.

A leader among leaders

Posted: April 25th, 2012

Dr. Kathy Sanders was recently inaugurated as the 2012-2013 President of the American Association of Directors of Psychiatry Residency Training (AADPRT).

Focus on psychodynamics

Posted: February 13th, 2012

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).

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Controlling sleep spindles with light; K99/R00 awarded

Posted: November 13th, 2011

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.

Fostering research education and mentorship during residency

Posted: October 13th, 2011

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.