Ipsit Vahia, MD, Takes on New Roles in Geriatric Psychiatry and Digital Psychiatry Translation

October 25, 2021

On October 1, Ipsit Vahia, MD, took on the newly created roles of associate chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and director of Digital Psychiatry Translation at McLean Hospital. Previously, Vahia had been medical director for both McLean’s Geriatric Psychiatry Outpatient Services and Institute for Technology in Psychiatry.

“In these new roles, I hope to realize the full potential of the work we’ve been doing both within the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and more broadly across McLean,” Vahia said. “They represent a great opportunity, and I am incredibly excited.”

According to Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc, McLean’s geriatric psychiatry division chief, as associate chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry, Vahia will co-lead strategic planning efforts for the clinical, research, and education/training priorities for the division. Focusing on outpatient care, hospital-wide inpatient consulting services, and care within assisted living environments, he will also develop opportunities for expanding clinical services.

Dr. Ipsit Vahia with a patient

Dr. Ipsit Vahia

In addition, Vahia will oversee standardized data collection and digital engagement and work to develop best practices and guidelines for geriatric telecare. Guiding the development of an integrated dementia clinical care and research program and engaging with dementia and aging care initiatives across the Massachusetts General Brigham system (MGB) will also be part of Vahia’s new responsibilities.

Forester said he is looking forward to seeing Vahia take on this new role. “Ipsit has a strong presence here at McLean and across the MGB system. He’s also a nationally recognized leader in geriatric psychiatry and digital psychiatry. I am very excited to see our work move forward in new ways as we continue to integrate our clinical, training, and research work together.”

In his other new role as director of Digital Psychiatry Translation, Vahia plans to build on work that he has been doing at the Institute for Technology in Psychiatry for the past five years. “We are at the forefront of understanding how digital tools can reshape mental health care, but for digital psychiatry to reach its full potential, we really need to carefully study exactly how these tools can improve patient care and outcomes. That is what we will be focusing on.”

Specifically, Vahia plans to work on understanding which types of data are most impactful in clinical decision making, and why. He also expects to work closely with clinicians across McLean to develop ways in which mental health care can be optimized with technology for all individuals and all clinical conditions.

Remarking on this work, Vahia stressed the need to fulfill the promise of digital psychiatry “without compromising the principles of care equity, empathy, privacy, and autonomy. He also stressed need to “closely focus on the ways in which digital health can improve both access to and quality of care.”

“While we aim to increase digitalization, we also want to make sure that we are simplifying and not complicating the process of care for our patients and clinicians,” he stated.

Kerry J. Ressler, MD, PhD, McLean’s chief scientific officer said, “We are tremendously excited to work with Dr. Vahia, beginning this next stage of integrating digital technology, translation, and return of results to clinicians and patients—further expanding McLean’s role as a national leader and ‘living laboratory’ for the next generation of discovery and clinical care in psychiatry.”

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