UCSF Psychiatry Update from Lowell Tong

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Lowell Tong, MDTongDear colleagues,

We're already one month into the year; I wish you all a successful 2012 in your professional and personal lives.

At the 1/13/2012 SOM Dean’s retreat, a new and profound national proposal on advancing medicine was presented. Described in a National Academies Press monograph titled Toward Precision Medicine, and summarized by Vice Chancellor Keith Yamamoto at the retreat as well as at other recent campus meetings, this involves taking advantage, in novel ways, of the explosion of molecular and biomedical data on humans, which we as investigators and clinicians can no longer capture and use adequately to improve health outcomes, given the limitations of our individual intellectual capacities, current professional networks and conventional disease classification. UCSF is at the center of this initiative, with our chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellman and Keith being the chairs of the two National Research Council committees which authored the proposal. Even more importantly, UCSF intends to develop a pioneering version of a knowledge network infrastructure connecting and utilizing research and clinical data with sophisticated, powerful search capacities, and the focus will be on what current taxonomies call the neurosciences. This has unprecedented potential for advances in psychiatry and mental health, and puts our department in a very exciting position. I highly recommend your taking a look at the monograph (it’s only about a hundred pages long, very readable, but get reading/magnifying glasses for the captions on some of the illustrations) which is available in various forms by searching “precision medicine knowledge network” and may be accessible depending on your computer/network at the following sites.



Lowell Tong, MD
Interim Chair

Here are some department news and updates:

Awards and Honors

Caitlin Hasser, MDHasser

Congratulations to Caitlin Hasser, MD and Gilbert Villela, MD for their acceptance to the 2012-2014 cycle of the Faculty Fellowship in Educational Scholarship (FFES). The FFES is a two-year fellowship designed for two paid faculty members starting each year, to promote educational research in a chosen area, such as direct teaching, curriculum innovation/development, advising/mentoring, and educational leadership. Fellows will receive personalized guidance in the development, completion and dissemination of their project. This fellowship is intended to develop a community of educators in our department who are actively involved in educational scholarship, and is sponsored by the Endowed Chair in Psychiatry Medical Student Education.


New Grants:

  • Patricia Arean, PhD: Renewal of K24 Mid-Career Investigator Award in Patient-Oriented Research on “Strategic and plasticity models for late life depression in community settings,” NIMH, 1st-year total award $177,687 (approximate average each year), 1/1/12-12/31/16

  • John Rubenstein, MD, PhD and Daniel Vogt, PhD: "A novel transplantation assay to study human PTEN ASD alleles in GABAergic interneurons," Autism Speaks, $120,000, 2/1/12-1/31/15

  • Laurence Tecott, MD, PhD: "Quantitative analysis of autism-related genes on behavioral regulation," Simons Foundation, $102,000, 1/1/12-12/31/12
 Arean, Pat - 2a - 100x133AreanJohn Rubenstein, MD, PhDRubensteinLaurence Tecott, MD, PhD Tecott

UCSF Psychiatry at Home

Samuel Barondes, MDBarondesSamuel  Barondes, MD was featured in the redOrbit article, “World’s Greatest Minds Answer: ‘What’s Your Favorite Theory?’” on January 18, 2012. He was also interviewed as part of An Oral History of Neuropsychopharmacology. The series was published in December 2011 and released at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP).
Steve Batki, MDBatki
Steve Batki, MD and David Kan, MD have been appointed by Sophia Vinogradov to new leadership positions in the Substance Abuse section at SFVAMC, following a selection process coinciding with the retirement of Peter Banys, MD. Steve assumes the critically important role of Section Chief for Substance Abuse Program. He will work with all of the substance abuse clinicians to determine the best ways to proceed forward with new clinical and research developments that will improve our ability to treat veterans with substance abuse, and to continue to be leaders in developing new knowledge about addictions. He will collaborate closely with David Kan and other leaders in the program to implement a shared vision for moving the program forward. David continues as Director of Opiate Replacement Therapy, and assumes a new role at the level of the MHS Leadership Group as the Associate Chief for Quality Management for Mental Health Service. In this role, he will help oversee and shepherd a number of activities that support the VA’s ability to continually deliver high-quality patient care and to continually improve our excellence as clinicians. This includes implementing the initiatives being developed by the Quality Improvement Team (Arnaldo Moreno and Chris Galloway), the Clinical Reminders and Performance Measures Team (Kew Lee and Mark Stalnaker), and the Provider Proficiency Team (Isabella Fernandez, John Straznickas, Russell Lemle).

David Kan, MDKan

Maguen, Shira (2011) - 100x133Maguen
Shira Maguen, PhD was featured in the UCSF News article, “Women Soldiers See More Combat Than In Prior Eras, Have Same PTSD Rate as Men, Study Says” on January 13, 2012.  
Vikass Sohal, MD, PhDSohal
Vikaas Sohal, MD, PhD discusses mapping brain circuits to understand schizophrenia on the International Mental Health Research Organization website, December 20, 2011. (video
Sophia Vinogradov, MDVinogradov  Sophia Vinogradov, MD was featured in the Psychiatric News article, “Computerized Brain Training Aids Cognition in Schizophrenia” on December 16, 2011.  

UCSF Psychiatry Published Contributions

Albert Gaw, MDGaw
Gaw, A. C., Lee, B., Gervacio-Domingo, G., Antzelevitch, C., Divinagracia, R., & Jocano, F. (2011) Unraveling the enigma of bangungut: Is Sudden Unexplained Nocturnal Death Syndrome (SUNDS) in the Philippines a disease allelic to the Brugada Syndrome? Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, 49(3):165-176.
Shira Maguen, PhDMaguen

Maguen, S., Luxton, D. D., Skopp, N. A., & Madden, E. (2011) Gender differences in traumatic experiences and mental health in active duty soldiers redeployed from Iraq and Afghanistan. Journal of Psychiatric Research 12/2011; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2011.11.007.

Kewchang Lee, MDLee  Chou, C. L., Johnston, C. B., Singh, B., Garber, J. D., Kaplan, E., Lee, K., & Teherani, A. (2011) A "safe space" for learning and reflection: One school's design for continuity with a peer group across clinical clerkships. Academic Medicine 86:1560-1565.
Craig Van Dyke, MDVan Dyke  Lowell Tong, MDTongKevin Mack, MD, MSMackVan Dyke, C., Tong, L., & Mack, K. (2011) Global mental health training for United States psychiatric residents. Academic Psychiatry 35:6:354-359.


Richard C. Coopersmith, MDCoopersmithRichard C. Coopersmith, MD passed away on January 10, 2012. He was 83. A graduate of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine psychiatry residency training program, Richard served for 35 years as a Volunteer Clinical Faculty member in our department. During his career he supervised residents at LPPI, Mount Zion Hospital, Children's Hospital, Presbyterian Hospital, California Pacific Medical Center, and San Francisco General Hospital, in addition to active staff service at Saint Francis Hospital and a private practice spanning 52 years in San Francisco and New York. Richard is remembered as someone who loved teaching, and also continually learning—he actively attended our department Grand Rounds up until the month before he passed away.



Leadership in research, education, psychiatric care and public service