In The News 2011

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Wendy Marsh MD MS and her co-authors awarded a top 2011 Poster Prize at the 22nd Annual North American Menopause Society (NAMS) Meeting in Washington DC, Sep. 24. Using the SWAN (Study of Women's health Across the Nation) database, Dr. Marsh and colleagues' study found that a longer duration of estradiol exposure, measured by years from menarche to menopause, prior to entering the menopausal transition was protective against depression during the menopausal transition. Read what Dr. Marsh says in the Reuters Health article, Oct. 4.

"The clinician with a patient in their office has to weigh the benefits vs the risks for that individual person…. So clinicians have to make a judgment, and it's a complicated decision." Anthony Rothschild, MD commented on off-label use of atypical antipsychotics on Medscape Medical News, Sep. 27.

Representatives from the department met with visitors from the Sichuan University, China. The delegation was led by Dr. Jian Shi, senior vice president of Sichuan University, who was accompanied by Professor Ping Guan, deputy director of international exchange at Sichuan University. Sichuan University is located close to Wenchuan, Sichuan Province, the epicenter of the 2008 deadly earthquake that measured at 8.0 Ms and killed more than 60,000 people. The two parties had some profound and meaningful discussions around the topic of post-natural disaster counseling for k-12 students and college freshmen. Various forms of collaboration were also discussed.

Sichuan Visit2
Shi, Ziedonis, and Guan

Sichuan Visit
An engaging discussion


UMass Medical School and clinical partner UMass Memorial Health Care have been invited to join the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) as a Center of Excellence. The NNDC brings together researchers and clinicians at academic health science centers nationwide to improve the quality, effectiveness and availability of diagnosis, treatment and prevention for depression and related mood disorders. Read the article in the August 5UMass Med Now.

Roxanne Anderson, a 2010 participant from the department’s Neuroscience and Mental Health Summer Internship Program, is featured in a article, Aug. 3. She speaks highly of the program and her internship with the Tobacco Consultation Service and the Wellness Initiative. When asked about her involvement in the program, she said: “I … developed a brochure featuring different cessation medicines, questions to ask your doctor, and questions to ask your health insurance provider. The brochure was later sent to different health offices in Central Massachusetts. This work got me thinking about what I hope to do in the future and furthered my interests in psychology, addiction studies and public health.”

"An Act Relative to Insurance Coverage for Autism" (ARICA), signed into law by the Massachusetts state legislature in August 2010, requires that private health insurance companies cover the diagnosis and treatment of autism in Massachusetts. To help families and care providers realize the full potential of the benefits ARICA provides, the UMass Medical School Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center for Developmental Disabilities’ Colloquium Series recently hosted “We Got Insurance! What Happens Next? The New Autism Insurance Law in Massachusetts and the New Autism Insurance Resource Center.” Read more…

Amy Wachholtz, PhD, MDiv, director of health psychology at UMass Memorial Medical Center and assistant professor of psychiatry at UMass Medical School, was interviewed recently by the New York Times for a story about prayer and health care. According to research done by Dr. Wachholtz and published by the American Psychological Association, praying about health issues dramatically increased among American adults over the past three decades. “We’re seeing a wide variety of prayer use among people with good income and access to medical care,” Wachholtz said. “People are not exchanging health insurance for prayer.” 
American Psychological Association: More Americans Praying About Health, Study Says, May 23. More Americans praying for their health, May 24.
My Health News Daily: Americans Pray for Health Now More Than Ever, May 24. 
Huffpost Religion: Americans Are Increasingly Praying For Their Health: Study, May 26.

Dr. Schahram Akbarian has accepted an invitation from National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a member of the Developmental Brain Disorders Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, for the term beginning July 1, 2011 and ending June 30, 2013. Members are selected on the basis of their demonstrated competence and achievement in their scientific discipline as evidenced by the quality of research accomplishments, publications in scientific journals, and other significant scientific activities, achievements and honors. Service on a study section also requires mature judgment and objectivity as well as the ability to work effectively in a group. Dr. Akbarian will bring all these qualities to this important task. Congratulations!

Amy Wachholtz, PhD, MDiv heavily quoted in an article about student athletes and lousy spring weather. They are less likely to be susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder than the rest of the population, said Dr. Wachholtz. Curious why? Read more… Dr. Wachholtz is assistant professor of psychiatry, director of Health Psychology, and health psychologist at the Psychosomatic Medicine Service at UMass.

Drs. Jean Frazier and David Kennedy on MRI brain imaging and young mental health patients last week at the kickoff of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Month. Read the T&G article Children’s mental health focus of awareness event.

Joanne Nicholson, PhD, professor of psychiatry and family medicine at UMass Medical School, will be honored on May 3 by the YWCA of Central Massachusetts as a Katharine F. Erskine Award winner. Dr. Nicholson has pioneered research and treatment connecting mental health to parenting. Her efforts have launched community-based intervention programs for families living with mental illness. The YWCA honors extraordinary women in Central Massachusetts who have reached exemplary levels of achievement in their professions and communities.

Jean King, PhD, professor and vice chair of the department of psychiatry, has been named a fellow of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. Read more about Dr. King and this prestigious program in the April 19 UMass Med Now.

Aaron Lazare, MD, internationally renowned expert on shame, humiliation and apology, and professor of psychiatry and chancellor and dean emeritus at UMass Medical School, had his commentary published in the April 2011 edition of Chest, the journal of the American College of Chest Physicians. In his commentary, Dr. Lazare suggested that doctors who apologize for behavior that offends other care team members can further benefit patients with improved quality of care. Read the full story in the April 15 UMass Med Now.

Yael Dvir, MD and Jean A. Frazier, MD’s paper Autism and Schizophrenia was published in the Psychiatric Times, March 15. The article highlights the biological and clinical links between autism and schizophrenia.

Gina M. Vincent, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, recently received a National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) grant for her proposed project, "Neuroimaging Youth with Callous-Unemotional Conduct Disorder & Comorbid Substance Abuse". The project is a training grant which will teach Dr. Vincent how to conduct neuroimaging research that examines brain function, particularly as it relates to substance abuse. Read more...

The International Center for Clubhouse Development (ICCD) Clubhouse Model was recently accepted for inclusion on the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence Based Practices and Programs (NREPP). The model was submitted by The Program for Clubhouse Research in the UMass Medical School Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Mental Health Services ResearchLearn more.

Congratulations to 12 UMass Department of Psychiatry doctors who were named to the 2010 list of Best Doctors! Read the listing of UMass Memorial doctors named to this prestigious list…

People interested in the underlying psychology behind criminal behavior (as in television programs like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) often wonder, what exactly does forensic psychology involve? For Thomas Grisso, PhD, professor of psychiatry, director of psychology and director of the law-psychiatry program at UMass Medical School, "There has to be an understanding in specific developmental changes in capacities and decision-making, executive function. This is an important part of the logic in working with kids," he says. Read more in the March 2011 New England Psychologist article, “Forensic psychology: working within the legal justice system.”

It’s still winter! Are you or someone you know experiencing sadness, loss of pleasure, irritability, excessive sleepiness day and night, along with increased appetite? Do you regain good cheer in the spring? Listen to Kristina Deligiannidis, MD in the Expert’s Corner on Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Center for Mental Health Services Research in the Department of Psychiatry at UMass Medical School has created the Transitions Research and Training Center to help young people with serious mental health conditions transition from school to the workplace. Read more about it in the Jan. 19 UMass Med Now article.

"Mindful Practice and Quality of Care" is the topic of Ronald Epstein, MD's lecture at the Psychiatry Grand Rounds on Thursday, March 3, 12-1pm in the Medical School's Lazare Auditorium, S1-607. “We especially think that physicians, faculty and staff from other departments could benefit from this talk and encourage them to attend,” statesDouglas Ziedonis, MD, MPH, chair and professor of psychiatry. Read more about Dr. Epstein and about UMass Medical School's Center for Mindfulness in the March 2nd UMass Med Now.

The Fifth Annual Central Massachusetts Regional Brain Bee was successfully held on Saturday, February 12th, 2011. Congratulations to the winner, Raashika Goyal, Junior from Advanced Math and Sciences Academy Charter School in Marlborough, MA. Raashika will be representing UMass in the national competition on March 18th and 19th in Baltimore, MD.

In the wake of the Arizona shootings, an op-ed in USA Today by Jeffrey L. Geller, MD, MPH, professor of psychiatry, calls for mandatory reporting laws for people suffering from psychosis. Dr. Geller was also interviewed on WOR Radio in New York City regarding this editorial. Jan. 17.

Jeffrey L. Geller, MD, MPH comments in Fire Starters, a T&G article about firefighters, Jan. 10.

“To me the criminalization concept has always been something of a ‘black box’ that links a person’s status as an individual with a psychiatric disorder to elevated risk of arrest…,” says William Fisher, PhD, professor of psychiatry, in the article Study Examines Relationship of Arrests, Mental Illness in Psychiatric News, January 7, 2011.

Joanne Nicholson, PhD, professor of psychiatry and family medicine & community health, was interviewed recently in several publications and speaks on topics of interest such as: Should You Tell Your Kids About Your Mental Illness? (PsychCentral, Jan. 4), 11 Healthy Resolutions for 2011 (Boston Globe, Jan. 3), and Resolutions Resolve (T&G, Jan 2).

Have you made a New Year's resolutionDr. Amy Wachholtz gives tips on making them healthy & reachable.