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New Initiative for McLean and Chinese Researchers to Help Foster Advances in Mental Health Care; Conference Set for October 4

October 1, 2015 Print

Researchers from McLean Hospital-Harvard Medical School and the Chinese Society of Psychiatry will convene October 4-6 on McLean’s Belmont campus, launching the first conference of the McLean Hospital-Chinese Society of Psychiatry Initiative in Psychiatry (MCIP).

The MCIP was established to foster collaborations among clinician investigators specializing in major psychotic and mood disorders and the neurodevelopmental aspects of mental illness. The focus will specifically be on bipolar and psychotic disorders and child and adolescent psychiatry, according to Dost Öngür, MD, PhD, chief of McLean's Psychotic Disorders Division, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and co-director of the MCIP.

The conference will include presentations and discussions on youth mental health, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

“The idea of the MCIP arose out of the recognition that psychiatric research is rapidly evolving and, with it, are new opportunities to improve the lives of our patients and their families,” said Öngür. “China and the US both have vibrant research communities and the idea is that if we work more closely together, we can increase opportunities to make meaningful advances in our field.”

“Although some collaborations exist between the two communities,” he said, “they have so far been sporadic and project-based. With the MCIP, we aim to create a platform for systematic and detailed discussions that can lead to new collaborations, monitoring and support for ongoing projects. We are excited about the conference in October and expect this to be the first in a series, supported by webinars and other online communications via our new MCIP webpage.”

Öngür pointed out the MCIP was made possible by an anonymous donor who is interested in fostering collaborations between the two countries. “We are grateful for such a generous philanthropic donation, as this will be the starting point for what we expect to be a successful initiative in advancing mental health care between China and the US,” he added. “Working together, we will be more effective in identifying causes and developing treatments for psychiatric illness in an effort to have a positive global impact.”

The conference will host leading investigators from each organization, according to Christopher M. Palmer, MD, McLean’s director of Postgraduate and Continuing Education and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, who serves as administrative director for the MCIP and is helping to organize the conference.

“Each of the presenters will give a 15 to 20 minute talk on their current research projects so that everybody can get an overview of the work being done in their field and then look for opportunities in which they might want to collaborate,” said Palmer. “There will also be cultural exchanges and tours of Harvard and McLean, but the biggest goal of the conference is to start the process of collaboration.”