UCSF Psychiatry Update from Lowell Tong

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lowell Tong, MDTongGreetings psychiatry department colleagues,

My first three months as your interim department chair has been an extraordinary experience - I’ve deepened my understanding about our rich and successful clinical, education and research portfolios, as well as our campus, school and department governance and administrative operations; developed new relations with school, site and campus leadership; and met current and new department supporters. Many thanks to all who have met and advised me. I’ve asked quite a few of you to take on new roles and activities, and I greatly appreciate all who stepped up to help the department and school.

At year’s end I would like to acknowledge our volunteer faculty, whose teaching roles range from co-leading the women’s support group at the UCSF Medical Student Homeless Clinic and facilitating medical student small groups in our doctoring and neurosciences courses, to serving as clinical advisors and consultants to our many psychiatry and psychology graduate trainees, particularly in developing psychotherapy skills. Our volunteer faculty receive invitations to all eight of our departmental Grand Rounds series; which are also posted on our website http://psych.ucsf.edu/events.aspx . Our current Affiliate Faculty and Volunteer Clinical Faculty are now listed publicly on our website http://psych.ucsf.edu/ucsf-default.aspx?id=6923 .

Looking ahead to 2012, please mark your calendars for two events:

  • Department Education Retreat for paid and volunteer faculty: Friday, May 18, 2012, morning through mid-afternoon. The focus this year moves onwards from last year’s Professionalism theme to another core competency, Medical Knowledge.
  • Department Commencement: Friday morning, June 22, 2012.

And while not yet scheduled, be on the look-out for announcements of public-round meetings with and presentations by finalist candidates for our next department chair.

It was a pleasure to join many of you at the annual department holiday party, which this year was a Tuesday breakfast, to which many staff, trainees, faculty and friends came from our many sites and the community. It was so great to put faces to names. The timing of the event allowed us to greet colleagues at the end of their night shift, those on their way via shuttles to different sites, and the surprisingly many who like me are early birds.

Travel safely if you’re off to visit family, friends or a change in scenery. Many thanks to those who are staying, covering our administrative and building operations, patient and clinical activities, and research efforts (including caring for all everything from animals, biosamples, cell cultures to yellow lasers and zeptoseconds). Good Holidays and see you in 2012.

Lowell Tong, MD
Interim Chair

Scenes from the 2011
Department Holiday Breakfast

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Awards and Honors

Pat Arean, PhDArean

Pat Arean, PhD has received a mid-career K Award. This is the competing renewal (second five years) with the focus on integrating cognitive neuroscience and psychotherapy for treating depression in late life. She will be working with Drs. Adam Gazzaley and Judith Ford on two projects: one is to explore the functional cognitive predictors and mediators of problem solving treatment, and the second is to determine the effectiveness of a computer-based plasticity intervention in the treatment of late life depression. Pat also was awarded a research grant in Australia. The study is called Beyond Blue and is a $2.5 million grant to study the relative effectiveness of CBT and PST in the treatment of late life depression applied in the Australian health system. She will be looking at provider ability to sustain high quality treatment, the relative costs of the intervention, and depression and functional outcomes.

 NCIRE grants. Three VA Mental Health Service PIs have recently received grants:  
  • Deborah Barnes, PhD: Identification of key dementia risk factors in older veterans, $364,972, sponsor DOD, start date 10/1/11
  • Daniel Mathalon, PhD, MD: Tracking medication-related changes in clinical state with resting state fMRI, $138,936, sponsor Univ. of Mexico, start date 9/1/11
  • Thomas Neylan, MD: Mental health core–continuation, $600,000, sponsor DOD, start date 9/30/11
 Deborah Barnes, PhDBarnesDaniel Mathalon, PhD, MDMathalonThomas Neylan, MD Neylan

Constance Weisner, DrPH, MSWWeisner

Connie Weisner, DrPH, MSW received a four-year grant from NIH/NIAAA, "Screening for youth alcohol and drug use: A study of primary care providers.” The study randomizes pediatricians in a Kaiser Northern California clinic to different forms of providing screening, brief intervention, and referral to specialty treatment for adolescents.  


Banys, Peter - 100x133Banys
Peter Banys, MD, Director of the Substance Abuse Program at the SF-VA, is retiring from the VA on January 14, 2012. Over the past 30 years, Peter has developed the substance abuse program to become one of the pre-eminent VA academic and clinical treatment programs for veterans with severe substance dependence. His clarity of vision, sophisticated analysis of systems issues, and firm grasp of the complexities of addiction treatment have been key strengths for the service. Peter is moving on to an exciting second career as a substance abuse expert for an international health NGO providing services in Viet Nam. He will move to Hanoi for the next two years, and will work with young faculty at the university there to develop treatment programs for patients with opiate addictions, an area of great need in Viet Nam. It is his plan to integrate aspects of this work with our department's Global Mental Health program, perhaps opening up exchange opportunities between our campus and the medical school in Hanoi. This next step that Peter is undertaking is incredibly inspiring for all of us. We will celebrate at Peter’s retirement party on January 6 from 11:30-1:30 in the VA Auditorium.

 Eileen Fox, LCSW, Mental Health Social Worker Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) Director, is retiring from the VA at the end of January 2012. Eileen came to the VA 8 years ago and has been a critical part of the service. She has participated in numerous mental health expansion projects and has been the consummate team player. She helped to develop and strengthen the relationship with the CBOCs, serving as an advocate for the wonderful service that occurs outside of the VA Medical Center. She served on countless committees and has been able to develop and maintain alliances with different disciplines in the service of strengthening the Mental Health Service. In addition to her administrative role, she provided top notch individual, family, and group psychotherapy to a variety of patients and was willing to take on the “tough” cases. She also provided excellent supervision to a number of residents rotating through the family therapy program. The residents truly love working with her. She is highly regarded for her ability to think systemically, her perseverance, an ability to stay even keeled, and her clinical formulations. There will be a goodbye party for Eileen on January 12th from 12-2 in the Teak Room.

UCSF Psychiatry at Home

Alliance Health ProjectAlliance Health Project
AHP launches new name mission and celebrates long-time supporters.

Alliance Health Project. To mark the expansion of its mission, the AIDS Health Project revealed its new agency name at a November 15 event. The pioneering HIV and mental health agency has broadened its focus to, as the new mission announces, “support the mental health and wellness of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and HIV-affected communities in constructing healthy and meaningful lives.” The new name is the UCSF Alliance Health Project: Services for the HIV and LGBTQ Communities. The mission includes the additional tagline: “Know Yourself, Know Your Status, Know Your Community,” which applies to both LGBTQ and HIV-related mental health and wellness, since the quest for self-knowledge and community is part of both the LGBTQ coming out process and the process of coming to terms with living with HIV. The event also honored the donors who have made AHP one of the oldest and most respected HIV service agencies in the country and included the unveiling of new “donor plaques” that featured the most generous and steadfast donors of the past 27 years. San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener presented a Proclamation from State Senator Mark Leno, expressing his appreciation for AHP's work. Other speakers included Jim Dilley, Chief of Psychiatry at SFGH and AHP founder; AHP Director, Lori Thoemmes; Jo Robinson from the San Francisco Department of Public Health; and Phil DeCarlo, Chair of AHP's Community Advisory Board. Warm feelings and enthusiastic support ensured that a good time was had by all, and AHP looks forward to facing the future with many friends and supporters as AHP embraces its new mission.

Amanto Marcotulli, JDMarcotulli

Amanto Marcotulli, JDis our new Director of Development for the Department of Psychiatry and will serve as the primary fundraiser for the department. Amanto was born in Rome and raised in Venezuela. He received a BA in English from the University of the Pacific and a law degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. Most of his professional career has been spent working in the nonprofit sector with students, at risk youth, and indigent clients. After graduating from law school, he worked as a public defender in Oregon, and most recently spent five years as an associate director of gift planning at University of California, Berkeley. Amanto has worked on outright gifts, estate plan gifts, life income gifts, and gifts of real estate, and he looks forward to working with the department and helping our loyal community of supporters as they contemplate their charitable giving options. Please feel free to contact him at amarcotulli@support.ucsf.edu or (415) 476-2278.

Jodi J. Prochaska, PhD, MPHProchaska
Judith J. Prochaska, PhD, MPHwas named 2011 Mentor of the Year at the Bay Area Clinical Research Symposium on November 4, 2011.
Kristin Yaffe, MD YaffeKristine Yaffe, MD received 22 applications for pilot project funding for basic, translational or clinical research from department faculty and postdocs. Funds for 2012 are provided by the Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, which Kristine holds. Awardees are:
  • Pierre-Marie Martin, PhD (Cheyette Lab): Massive parallel sequencing of 15 genes of the Wnt signaling pathway in major psychiatric disorders ($10,000)
  • Howard Newville, PhD (NIDA postdoc/Sorensen mentor): Determinants of HAART adherence in HIV+ active substance users ($2,785)
  • Anna Ordóñez, MD (NIDA postdoc/Mathews mentor): Resilience and psychotherapy in adolescents: A comparative study of high and low risk populations ($10,000)
  • Susan Voglmaier, MD, PhD (Assistant Professor): Variation in neuroligin expression and presynaptic functional development ($10,000)
  •  Joshua Woolley, MD, PhD (VA Advanced Neuroscience Research Fellow/Vinogradov mentor): Neural mechanisms of oxytocin's prosocial effects in patients with schizophrenia ($10,000)
  • Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, PhD, MS (Epidemilogy & Biostatistics and Psychiatry postdoc/Yaffe mentor): Arterial stiffening association in depressive symptoms and relationship with race/ethnicity ($9,978)

UCSF Psychiatry Leading the Way

James Reich, MDReich
James Reich, MD will be chairing a symposium at the 2012 annual American Psychiatric Association meeting entitled, “Clinical and Administrative Aspects of the DSM-5 Personality Disorders.”

UCSF Psychiatry Published Contributions

Marc Jacobs, MDJacobs
Jacobs, M. (2011) Interpreting in the form of action. In Akhtar, S. (Ed.) Unusual Interventions: Alterations of the Frame, Method, and Relationship in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis (113-140). London: Karnac Books.
Danielle Ramo, PhDRamoRamo, D. E., Liu, H., & Prochaska, J. J. (in press). Tobacco and marijuana use among adolescents and young adults: A systematic review of their co-use. Clinical Psychology Review.
  • This systematic review demonstrated the high co-use of tobacco and marijuana among young people. Ethnicity, health, and school factors were consistently associated with co-use, while the only consistent consequence of co-use was exacerbation of psychiatric symptoms. Few studies examined prevention or cessation interventions for TOB and MJ co-use.
Ramo, D. E., Prince, M .A., Roesch, S. C., & Brown, S. A. (in press). Variation in substance use relapse episodes among adolescents: A longitudinal investigation. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.
  • This study evaluated the relapse precursors of adolescents after substance abuse treatment and found two major categories of precursors, including Aversive-Social situations and Positive-Social situations which were stable in structure over time. Findings highlight the dynamic nature of relapse for youth and have important clinical implications.

Constance Weisner, DrPH, MSWWeisnerKevin Delucchi, PhDDelucchiBond, J. C.,Weisner, C. M., & Delucchi, K. L. (2011). Alcohol screening and changes in problem drinking behaviors in medical care settings: A longitudinal perspective. J Stud Alcohol Drugs 72(3):471-9. PMCID: PMC3084362.

Chi, F. W., Parthasarathy, S., Mertens, J. R., & Weisner, C. M. (2011). Continuing care and long-term substance use outcomes in managed care: Initial evidence for a primary care based model. Psychiatr Serv 62(10):1194–2000.

Derek Satre, PhDSatreScott Mackin, PhDMackinSilverberg, M. J., Ray, G. T., Saunders, K., Rutter, C. M., Campbell, C. I., Merrill, J. O., Sullivan, M. D., Banta-Green, C. J., Von Korff, M., & Weisner, C. (2011). Prescription long-term opioid use in HIV-infected patients. Clin J Pain Jun 14. [Epub ahead of print]. PMCID: PMC3175344.

Satre, D. D., Sterling, S., Mackin, R. S., & Weisner, C. (2011). Patterns of alcohol and drug use among depressed older adults seeking outpatient psychiatric services. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry 19(8):695-703.

Von Korff, M., Merrill, J. O., Rutter, C. M., Sullivan, M., Campbell, C. I., & Weisner, C. (2011). Time-scheduled versus pain-contingent opioid dosing in chronic opioid therapy. Pain 152(6):1256-62. PMCID: PMC3098951.

Weisner, C. (2011). Innovative policy strategies need empirical evaluation. Addiction 106(12):2069-70.


Kevin Mack, MD, MSMackA ceremony was held at SFGH on Tuesday, November 22, 2011, in remembrance of Kevin Mack, MD, MS. Members of the SFGH Department of Psychiatry contributed to a Japanese maple tree and several other plants now standing in an area in the “Comfort Garden” outside of building 80/90, where Kevin first worked when he started at SFGH in 2000. David Elkin read a poem entitled, “Kindnesses”, Susan Scheidt dedicated a song called, “Here’s to Life”, and other attendees participated in a ceremony of placing rocks into a rock stream and saying words and phrases that signified Kevin’s continued influence on his colleagues, students, and patients.
Remembering Kevin MackRemembering Kevin Mack


Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service