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Anonymous $2.5M Gift Launches Trauma Initiative at McLean

June 8, 2017 Print

McLean Hospital has received a $2.5M anonymous gift to launch a new initiative aimed at accelerating the hospital’s clinical, research, and professional training activities in trauma-related disorders. The Initiative for Integrated Trauma Research, Care, and Training will create a platform on which to leverage McLean’s expertise and advance its leadership nationally and internationally in the field of trauma-related disorders.

The initiative will be led by Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD, McLean’s chief scientific officer and James and Patricia Poitras Chair in Psychiatry, in conjunction with a steering committee made up of clinical and research experts from across the hospital.

Treatment at McLean
Treatment programs like the Hill Center for Women help individuals suffering from the effects of trauma

“We are so grateful for the donors’ vision and generosity as demonstrated through this magnificent gift,” said Scott L. Rauch, MD, president and psychiatrist in chief of McLean and Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Chair of Psychiatry. “With their tremendous philanthropic support and Dr. Ressler’s leadership, McLean is poised to make significant advances in our understanding as well as treatment and prevention approaches for trauma-related disorders.”

The gift includes $500,000 to fund an array of projects, including pilot research studies (in particular, patient-oriented and translational research), post-doctoral research fellowships, clinician training, and educational efforts, that do not have federal or private sources of funding. A $2 million endowment will support this work in an ongoing way.

The gift was inspired by the excellence embodied by numerous clinicians and clinician-researchers at McLean and by the unique expertise Dr. Ressler brings through his multifaceted, translational research.

“Our overarching goals are to understand the role of trauma in increasing risk for psychiatric illness, to improve our understanding of factors that enhance resilience, and to use this knowledge to develop better treatments that improve the lives of individuals affected by trauma,” said Ressler. “The work fueled by this remarkable gift will generate insights into the neurobiology, psychophysiology, and biomarkers of trauma-related disorders, pointing toward better-integrated care, improved skills and training of clinicians, and decreased stigma.”

Trauma-related disorders are increasingly prevalent in our world today, with people being exposed to trauma on an individual, community, and global scale. Up to ten percent of the population worldwide will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder at some point in their lives. An experience of trauma carries a high risk for other psychiatric issues, such as mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, as well as suicide.

“There could not be a better time for this gift,” said Rauch. “It creates opportunity to harness the unparalleled potential for neuroscience to foster progress at a time when the need to alleviate human suffering from trauma is greater than ever.”