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Leading Beyond McLean: Faculty Sit at the Helm of National Organizations

April 15, 2012 Print

Thinking big is a common theme at McLean, with many faculty and staff serving as leaders of national and international psychiatric associations—from those that promote bench and translational research to those that emphasize clinical studies and advocate for patients and providers.

For example, McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, was recently elected president of the Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP), a prominent organization that promotes excellence in scientific research and education related to the nature, causes, mechanisms, and treatments of psychiatric disorders. Rauch is serving a one-year term, which began in May 2012, to be followed by a five-year term as councilor. Rauch said he looks forward to his new role in SOBP and emphasizes the importance of fostering “the exchange of information in order to nurture and encourage progress in psychiatric neuroscience.”

For Scott Lukas, PhD, director of the McLean Imaging Center, Behavioral Psychopharmacology Research Laboratory, and currently the president of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), being at the helm of a major professional society is all about “nurturing junior scientists and building bridges among bench researchers and clinicians in different fields.” Lukas, who has held leadership positions at CPDD for many years, including service on the Program Committee, has been influential at CPDD by encouraging collaboration between psychiatry and substance abuse—fields that truly go hand in hand.

Mary Zanarini, EdD, director of McLean’s Laboratory for the Study of Adult Development, is also forging connections among researchers and clinicians as well as advocates and family members. “As president of the North American Society for the Study of Personality Disorders, I have emphasized inviting psychologists, social workers, nurse practitioners, and families to join,” Zanarini said. “We are on the cusp of major advances in how we understand and treat those with personality disorders, but those advances will take a great deal of effort and more substantial resources.”

Providing better clinical care is also on the mind of Michele Gougeon, MSS, MSc, who was recently appointed board chair-elect of the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems. McLean’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gougeon has broad experience in health policy and the complex interactions among patients, providers, and the health care system. She said she is “honored to have been elected board chair of this organization, whose mission is to advocate for patients and behavioral health providers.”

McLean’s senior staff are having an important impact on research, training, and clinical care in psychiatry and beyond. “By attracting those from a wider range of professional disciplines and younger people, we can further promote cutting-edge research and quality clinical care on a national and international platform,” said Zanarini.