Chair's Update March 2011

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


Susan M. Meffert, MD Meffert Susan Meffert, MDreceived a $30,000 grant from UCSF’s Research Evaluation and Allocation Committee (REAC), one of the Pilot Research Awards for Junior Investigators in Basic and Clinical/Translational Sciences.  Her project title is “Randomized controlled clinical trial of interpersonal psychotherapy for survivors of the Sichuan earthquake:  Addition of the composite international diagnostic interview.

NIHNIH Rankings.  According to newly released 2010 NIH rankings, UCSF Psychiatry is in the top 10 of all departments of psychiatry nationally in NIH funding.  This reflects the hard work of all of the members of our department and we should feel proud of this accomplishment.  We are consistently moving forward in strengthening our already outstanding department’s research programs.


Ellen Haller, MDHallerHaas, A. P., Eliason, E., Mays, V. M., Mathy, R. M., Cochran, S. D., D'Augelli, A. R., Silverman, M. M., Fisher, P. W., Hughes, T., Rosario, M., Russell, S. T., Malley. E., Reed, J., Litts, D. A., Haller, E., Sell, R. L., Remafedi, G., Bradford, J.,  Beautrais, A. L., Brown, G. K., Diamond, G. M., Friedman, M. S., Garofalo, R., Turner, M. S., Hollibaugh, A., & Clayton, P. J.  (2011)  Suicide and suicide risk in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations: Review and recommendations. Journal of Homosexuality, 58, 10-51.    

Ng, R. C., Hirata, C. K., Yeung, W., Haller, E., & Finley, P. R. (2010)  Pharmacologic treatment for postpartum depression: A systematic review. Pharmacotherapy, 30(9), 928-41.

R. Scott Mackin, PhDMackin Kevin L. Delucchi, PhDDelucchiPatricia A. Arean, PhDAreanCarol A. Mathews, MDMathews

Mackin, R. S. , Delucchi, K., Bennett, B., & Arean, P. A. (2011)  The effect of cognitive impairment on mental healthcare costs for individuals with severe psychiatric illness.  American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, 2(19), 176-184.

Mackin, R. S. , Mathews, C., Delucchi, K., & Arean, P. A. (2011)  Cognitive functioning in older adults with depression and severe compulsive hoarding behaviors.  International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, in press.

Dale McNiel, PhD McNiel  Erick Hung, MD Hung Stephen E. Hall, MD Hall Renée L. Binder, MD Binder 

McNiel, D. E. , Hung, E. K., Cramer, R. J., Hall, S. E., & Binder, R. L. (2011)  An approach to evaluating competence in assessing and managing violence risk.  Psychiatric Services, 62(1), 90-92.

Jodi J. Prochaska, PhD, MPHProchaskaProchaska, J. J.   (2010)  Integrating tobacco treatment into mental health settings.  Journal of the American Medical Association, 304, 2534-2535.
John L. R. Rubenstein, MD, PhDRubensteinA few recent John Rubenstein publications:

Chao, H. T., Chen, H., Samaco, R. C., Xue, M., Chahrour, M., Yoo, J., Neul, J. L., Gong, S., Lu, H. C., Heintz, N., Ekker, M., Rubenstein, J. L., Noebels, J. L., Rosenmund, C., & Zoghbi, H. Y. (2010)  Dysfunction in GABA signaling mediates autism-like stereotypes and Rett syndrome phenotypes. Nature, 468(7321), 263-269.

Lek, M., Dias, J. M., Marklund, U., Uhde, C. W., Kurdija, S., Lei, Q., Sussel, L., Rubenstein, J. L., Matise, M. P., Arnold, H. H., Jessell, T. M., & Ericson, J.  (2010)  A homeodomain feedback circuit underlies step-function interpretation of a Shh morphogen gradient during ventral neural patterning. Development, 137(23), 4051-4060.

McKenna, W. L., Betancourt, J., Larkin, K. A., Abrams, B., Guo, C., Rubenstein, J. L., & Chen, B. (2011)  Tbr1 and Fezf2 regulate alternate corticofugal neuronal identities during neocortical development. Journal of Neuroscience, 31(2), 549-564.

Rubenstein, J. L.  (2010)  Development of the cerebral cortex:  Implications for neurodevelopmental disorders.   Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 2010 Aug 24. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2010.02307.x. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 20735793.

Sajan, S. A., Rubenstein, J. L., Warchol, M. E., & Lovett, M.  (2011)  Identification of direct downstream targets of Dlx5 during early inner ear development.  Human Molecular Genetics (in press) PMID: 21227998.

Wang, Y., Li, G., Stanco, A., Long, J. E., Crawford, D., Potter, G. B., Pleasure, S. J., Behrens, T., & Rubenstein, J. L.  (2011)  CXCR4 and CXCR7 have distinct functions in regulating interneuron migration.   Neuron, 69(1), 61-76.

James L. Sorensen, PhDSorensenJames Sorensen’s  work was written up in the Clinical Trials Network Bulletin:  “The December 2010 issue of NIDA NOTES features a discussion on a recent NIDA-funded study, headed by Dr. James Sorensen, Co-PI of the Western States Node, which showed that methadone patients fare as well as drug-free patients in a therapeutic community setting.  Historically, these two treatment options – methadone maintenance and therapeutic communities – have rarely been combined:  therapeutic communities typically require abstinence and can be concerned that the presence of those on methadone maintenance could have an effect on the abstinence of others.  Dr. Sorensen and colleagues, however, were able to show that while these issues may be significant, they do not necessarily have an effect on participants’ success.  For this study, a total of 231 opioid-dependent participants were recruited at the time of their admission to Walden House, a San Francisco therapeutic community that has been accommodating methadone patients for over two decades; approximately half were receiving methadone. Participants were tested at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months, with the results showing no statistically significant difference in outcomes between the two groups.  Dr. Sorensen’s work has had an influence on the growing tendency to integrate different medical treatment approaches within therapeutic communities.”

Kristine Yaffe, MDYaffeWhitmer, R. A., Quesenberry Jr., C. P., Zhou, J., & Yaffe, K.  (2011)  Timing of hormone therapy and dementia:  The critical window theory revisited. Annals of Neurology, 69(1), 163-169. 

Awards and Honors

Chris Daley, MDDaley  Elizabeth Stuart, MDStuartChris Daley, MD  and Elizabeth Stuart, MD have been awarded Department of Psychiatry Faculty Fellowship in Educational Scholarships.  Chris will focus on primary care skills curriculum development for trainee and attending psychiatrists in community psychiatry settings.  Elizabeth will focus on studying efficacy of a psychiatry inpatient-based EBM curriculum.  The two-year fellowship is supported by funds from the UCSF Endowed Chair in Medical Student Education, which was founded by the Department of Psychiatry and the UCSF Academy of Medical Educators and is currently held by Lowell Tong, MD.

Rachel Loewy, PhDLoewy

Rachel Loewy, PhD was interviewed for a PBS NewsHour segment on “Group aims to catch, treat mental illnesses early,” which aired on February 9, 2011.  The feature on identifying schizophrenic patients early before major symptoms develop and treating the disease as manageable and chronic was in relation to the aftermath of the Tucson shootings and emphasized the importance of mental health advocacy at a time when state budgets for mental health are being cut.

Scott Mackin, PhDMackin Scott Mackin, PhD has been named as the recipient of the 2011 American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry (AAGP) “Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award”.  This award is presented for Scott’s overall contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry and his recent work evaluating patterns of reduced cortical thickness in late-life depression and the impact of reduced cortical thickness on psychotherapy response.  Scott will receive this award on March 19, 2011 at the annual AAGP meeting in San Antonio, Texas.
Wendy Berry Mendes, PhDMendesWendy Berry Mendes, PhD is the recipient of the 2011 “Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions” from the Association for Psychological Science. This award recognizes the significant impact work by early career psychological scientists is already having in the field of psychological science.  APS Executive Director Alan Kraut commented, “What a wonderful signal you and your work send about the very bright future of psychological science.”
Vikaas Sohal, MD, PhDSohalVikaas Sohal, MD, PhD has been selected as a 2011 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow for his work as a mathematician who uses geometry to model how the brain represents stimuli. The fellowships are given to early-career scientists and scholars in recognition of achievement and the potential to contribute substantially to their fields.  There are 118 fellows each year, only 16 of whom are in neurosciences.

News from Clinical Faculty 


James Reich, MDReichReich, J.  Avoidant personality disorder and its relationship to social phobia.  In Social Anxiety:  Clinical, Developmental, and Social Perspectives.  (Hofmann, S. G. & DiBartolo, P. M., eds.)  Elsevier, New York, 2010, pp 207-223.
George Silberschatz, PhDSilberschatzGeorge Silberschatz, PhD was recently elected President of the Society for Psychotherapy Research, an international organization of psychotherapy researchers representing 30 countries.  For the past 2 years, he has been president of the North American Chapter and will begin his term as president of the international organization next year.  Also, he has been appointed to the editorial board of the journal, Psychotherapy Research.
Lenore Terr, MDTerrLenore Terr, MD will be awarded the American Psychiatric Association’s 2011 “Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for Distinguished Career Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry” at the Annual Meeting of the APA in May in Hawaii.  This award recognizes a whole career of outstanding contributions to the advancement of child and adolescent psychiatry through teaching, research, writing, clinical care, advocacy, and policy development for children and adolescents.


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service