It is striking to reflect on what a very different summer this is than 2020. McLean has come through this pandemic deeply grounded in our mission. The stories in this edition of Horizons feature some of the most vibrant aspects of our work, such as personal connections, innovation, and diversity.
Our first piece tells of a generous gift that celebrates leadership and innovation. It is the culmination of a long and trusted relationship with a family who has chosen McLean as the recipient of years of philanthropy. Their recent gift will serve to both sustain and advance emerging leaders in neuroscience research for years to come.
Next, you’ll read about a couple that has chosen to support young researchers probing better treatments for obsessive compulsive disorder. Hope, determination, and innovation are the defining features of their efforts.
As McLean, in conjunction with our parent organization Mass General Brigham, continues its strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, several donors helped us launch an innovative new internship this summer. The initiative enabled seven promising college students of color to work in McLean labs as research fellows while they receive professional support, mentorship, and assistance in developing the skills they will need to pursue careers in the neuroscience field.
Finally, after a year-long hiatus, members of the McLean Board of Visitors gathered in the virtual realm to reconnect and hear research, clinical, and educational updates from McLean leadership. And the annual Ride for Mental Health came back in person in June with record attendance and some much-needed social connection.
Rappaport Gift Is Culmination of Two Decades of Basic Neuroscience Support
Phyllis and Jerry Rappaport take two things very seriously: McLean Hospital’s leadership in neuroscience research and the importance of emerging leaders in advancing the field of psychiatry. As evidence, and a capstone to a 20-year relationship with the hospital, the couple has endowed both McLean’s division of basic neuroscience—now called the Jerry and Phyllis Rappaport Center of Excellence in Basic Neuroscience Research—and established the Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport Endowed Chair in Psychiatry.
Family Supports Young OCD Researchers Discovering Ways to Better Tailor Treatment
Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is the gold standard therapy for people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). But for some reason, it wasn’t effective for Anne and Andy Heller’s family member. So, the couple, who are members of McLean’s National Council and generous donors to OCD research at McLean, are pleased to be supporting a promising young researcher who is looking into why the therapy doesn’t work well for some patients.
New Summer Research Program Welcomes Undergraduates of Color
“Racial and ethnic diversity in science is essential to delivering excellence and superior innovations,” said Stephanie Pinder-Amaker, PhD, McLean’s chief diversity, equity, and inclusion officer. McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, along with Pinder-Amaker and other members of McLean leadership have championed this concept and are working together to develop a variety of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives across the hospital. McLean’s new Mental Health Research Summer Program (MMHRSP), directed by Nigerian-born neuroscientist Oluwarotimi Folorunso, PhD, is one of the hospital’s newest efforts in this arena.
Board of Visitors Convenes Using a Virtual Platform
The McLean Board of Visitors (BoV) gathers annually to connect and learn about current innovations in research, clinical care, and training at McLean. Sally Lee is a longtime member of the group and a former patient at McLean. She credits the hospital for saving her life and now pays it forward through advocacy, philanthropy, and enthusiastic involvement in the BoV.
Read more in the full issue:
McLean Opens OCD Program in Houston
McLean is now offering its acclaimed OCD expertise in Texas. The McLean OCD Institute at Houston is a result of a new partnership between McLean and the former Houston OCD Program founded by Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, in 2009. Björgvinsson is also on the McLean Hospital staff and is serving as a senior advisor to the new institute. The merger became effective in March 2020.
The Houston program offers residential and outpatient treatment for adults as well as intensive outpatient treatment for adolescents. Elizabeth McIngvale, PhD, LCSW, a renowned expert on OCD, is program director of the McLean OCD Institute at Houston. The new program has done joint trainings with the Belmont-based program and the hope is that eventually they’ll collaborate on research as well, according to OCD Institute Program Director Diane Davey, RN, MBA.
“Our program in Massachusetts is in great demand and currently over-subscribed, so being able to offer treatment to more people in a different region of the country is another important way we’re fulfilling our mission,” said Davey.
2021 Ride for Mental Health Successfully Returns in Person
Mac Dorris has done it again. After pivoting to a virtual ride in 2020, Mac invited cyclists back in person June 19-20 to the annual Ride for Mental Health in New Paltz, New York. Mac founded the event in 2017 as a way to honor and remember his son Eric who died from a drug overdose while in treatment for borderline personality disorder. To date, the Ride has raised $800,000 for research, training, and clinical care at McLean Hospital.
To Mac’s delight, 437 cyclists participated this year, 70 of whom rode virtually. “This is the best turnout yet,” said Mac. “It proves that we have a growing community of people who want to raise awareness—and funding—for mental health issues.”
The New Paltz course is visually stunning with routes of varying lengths and difficulty that wend their way through the gorgeous scenery of the Hudson Valley. This year, Mac asked cyclists to wear their Ride for Mental Health jerseys (sponsored by JIS Orthopedics). The image of hundreds of cyclists in identical jerseys created a spectacular sea of blue. “It was wonderful,” said Mac. “A visual symbol of everyone riding to support the same cause.”
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