August 18, 2016
This week I’d like to shine the spotlight on our Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. We have a wonderful department led by Dr. Jair Soares, professor of psychiatry and the Pat R. Rutherford, Jr. Chair in Psychiatry. Together with a superb faculty and staff, Dr. Soares is working very hard to provide needed services to our community. In addition, the department has excellent training, research, and advocacy programs.
The Department of Psychiatry has 77 faculty and expects to have 94 by the start of FY17 – incredible growth of more than 100 percent over the last four years. In addition, the department employs 75 clinical and research staff. The department has four faculty vice chairs – Dr. Andrew Harper, education; Dr. Scott Lane, research; Dr. Elizabeth Newlin, child and adolescent psychiatry; and Dr. Bobby Nix, clinical affairs, ad interim. Mary Battaglia is the department’s DMO.
Areas of research are carved out into centers and specialized programs: the Center of Excellence on Mood Disorders, the Center for Neurobehavioral Research on Addiction, the Trauma and Grief Center, the Translational Psychiatry Program, and the Integrated Clinical Neuroscience and Treatment Program. Total research funding for the department this past year was $4.7M, and department faculty authored more than 100 papers published in scientific journals and books in the last year.
The department is actively engaged in education of residents and fellows. The residency training director is Dr. Iram Kazimi. Dr. Cynthia Santos directs the fellowship in child psychiatry, and Dr. Katherine Loveland directs the psychology internship. These programs accept 12 adult psychiatry residents per year, four child psychiatry fellows per year, six psychology interns per year, and currently have 17 postdoctoral research fellows.
The department runs the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center (HCPC). The center has 250 beds and saw 8,800 inpatient admissions in FY15, making HCPC the second-largest academic psychiatric hospital in the country. Stephen Glazier, chief operating officer of HCPC, is a wonderful partner to the department. Outpatient locations, with nearly 43,000 patient visits per year, include the Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Building, UT Physicians, and Harris Health. Additional consult liaison hospital services are offered at Memorial Hermann, LBJ, and TIRR Memorial Hermann. New locations for outpatient psychiatry services include UT Physicians Health and Wellness Centers in Beaumont, Rosenberg, Southwest, Victory, and the Sickle Cell Clinic.
The work of some of our psychiatry faculty also have been in the news lately – Dr. Julie Kaplow recently received $1.55M from the New York Life Foundation to establish the Grief-Informed Foundations of Treatment Network, and Dr. Margaret Wardle received a K08 award from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to support training and career development related to her research on the neurobehavioral dysfunction called anhedonia.
The department will be hosting a Mood Disorders Conference Sept. 16-17 at Memorial Hermann Conference Center focused on depression.
Looking to the future Dr. Soares says he wants to continue to grow research, clinical services, and education/training offerings.
“Our humble vision is to be the largest academic psychiatric institute in the United States and a national leader in integration of clinical research and service delivery.”
This is far from a humble vision. I am confident that the department is well on its way to becoming one of the very best in the country.