Year in Review 2018: Writing the Future

June 13, 2019

This past year, McLean Hospital has seen a number of great achievements thanks to our dedicated faculty, staff, strategic partners, generous donors, and friends.

McLean’s Year in Review highlights some of the significant milestones we have recently celebrated, including the launch of exciting national trauma initiatives, a first-of-its kind educational collaboration between McLean and organizations in India, and the expanded use of technology to advance clinical care, research, and education.

McLean continues to be a leader in the field of mental health, while the influence of our world-renowned faculty is felt both in our own backyards and around the world. As a community, we are proud to share McLean’s vision with you.

We envision a world in which every person will have access to the knowledge, care, and support they need to achieve and sustain behavioral and mental health.

McLean will be the recognized leader in psychiatry, bringing together the best of science, innovation, and compassion to provide specialized, person-centered clinical care and conduct transformational, state-of-the-art scientific investigation. We will disseminate our knowledge broadly in order to alleviate psychiatric illness, advance the field toward realizing prevention and cures, and eradicate stigma.

In pursuit of our vision, we will strategically focus our efforts to:

  • Grow our clinical capacity while setting new standards for highest quality care and optimal patient experience
  • Expand access, enhance efficiency, and improve outcomes through technology and digital health
  • Extend our reach and amplify our impact globally—through consultation, education, and collaborative partnerships—leveraging external resources to scale growth without proportional expansion of our workforce
  • Accelerate translation of scientific discoveries into more effective practice

2018 Highlights

McLean was named the #1 place in the United States to receive psychiatric care (for the second year in a row) by U.S. News & World Report.

Our faculty and staff continue to be thought leaders, not only for our own institution but also for national and international organizations.

Brent P. Forester, MD, MSc, chief of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry at McLean, has been named president-elect of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, the largest organization dedicated to promoting the mental health and well-being of older people through professional education, public advocacy, and support of career development for clinicians, educators, and researchers in geriatric psychiatry and mental health.

Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, chief academic officer, chief of the Division of Women’s Mental Health, and the Kristine M. Trustey Endowed Chair in Psychiatry at McLean, is serving as the president of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP). As relentless advocates for individuals with substance use and mental health disorders, AAAP members are committed to transforming lives by using evidence-based practices to continually improve clinical approaches and outcomes for their patients.

Dost Öngür, MD, PhD, the William P. and Henry B. Test Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and chief of the Division of Psychotic Disorders at McLean Hospital, was recently named the editor in chief of JAMA Psychiatry, a leading journal in the field of psychiatry published by the JAMA Network.

Milissa Kaufman, MD, PhD, medical director of McLean’s Hill Center, was honored with the Cornelia B. Wilbur Award from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation for her work in the assessment and treatment of acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and dissociative disorders.

Justin T. Baker, MD, PhD, Mona Potter, MD, Laura Germine, PhD, and Ipsit Vahia, MD, are leading the McLean Institute for Technology and Psychiatry, where McLean is on the cutting edge of how technology can be used to improve the delivery of mental health care and accelerate research into clinical practice.

Adriana Bobinchock and Scott O’Brien of the McLean Office of Public Affairs launched the podcast Mindful Things as part of the hospital’s new public education initiative. This audio series explores mental health through frank, in-depth, personal, and sometimes difficult conversations about the many things that affect our mental well-being.

Staci Gruber, PhD, is an international leader in studying the therapeutic effects of medical marijuana and has recently begun a first-of-its-kind, double-blind, randomized clinical study—the gold standard of scientific investigations—looking at the effects of a cannabis-based product on people with anxiety to evaluate the long-term efficacy and safety of these treatments.

Looking Forward

Since the fall of 2017, the hospital has been engaged in strategic planning that will allow us to expand clinical services, fuel our groundbreaking research, and further disseminate education and training in support of our critical mental health imperative. We have ambitious aspirations for enhancing our ability to effect positive change through innovative consultations, public and professional education initiatives, collaborative industry partnerships, and the adoption and scaling of new technologies that enhance behavioral and mental health assessment and care.

There is great excitement about all that we have accomplished and greater anticipation of achievements to come. With enormous enthusiasm, we go forward from our #1 position to continue to provide the highest-quality care while conducting research that is truly revolutionizing the field.

We hope that you will join us as we work together locally, nationally, and globally to improve the lives of people, families, and communities affected by psychiatric illness.

Year in Review 2018 Cover

Leveraging Digital Data to Examine Individual Trajectories of Severe Mental Illness
McLean Hospital researchers are set to commence work on a study that will leverage extensive digital data to evaluate, at the individual level, the biological, environmental, and social factors that trigger dangerous mental states, particularly mania and psychosis, in people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Thousands Attend Mental Health Exhibit in Mumbai
While people around the world may speak different languages and have cultures that are vastly different, there is one thing that affects every community: mental illness and the impact it has on individuals and families.

Deconstructing Stigma: Finding Strength Through Writing
“I think the biggest problem in my culture is that mental illness is not thought of like cancer or diabetes or any other serious illness. It’s considered to be ‘all in your head.’ Of course, we know that’s not true. Beyond that, so many people are more concerned with their reputations and social standing. They don’t realize that if you don’t help somebody with a mental illness, they could very well die.”

Advancing the Understanding of PTSD
Perhaps one of the most misused words in modern society, “trauma” is used in daily language to describe all sorts of unpleasant or uncomfortable situations. But for 5-10% of the population, trauma and the accompanying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very precise condition with very real impacts on daily life. And that precision is what also makes it one of the best understood psychiatric conditions and one with the best potential for effective treatments.

Peer Counseling’s Critical Role in Psychosis Treatment
If a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, what is better than having someone along with whom to share it? That is the philosophy behind the peer counseling program at McLean Hospital’s Division of Psychotic Disorders. “A lot of people with these conditions have difficulty working outside the house, living independently. This isn’t because the person is into doing their own thing. It’s because the help that’s available hasn’t really been enough, it hasn’t been up to the task.”

Yale Hicks: His Journey to Becoming a Peer Specialist
Yale Hicks told his college friends in New Orleans that he cut short his junior year abroad in Ghana because of malaria. “I lied to everybody, including myself,” said Hicks, who was experiencing hallucinations associated with what was eventually diagnosed as bipolar disorder. “I was about 21, and it altered my life forever, because as soon as that happened, and I was diagnosed, I started to have self-shame, self-stigma, as far as what I thought of myself in relation to this label that was put on me.”

Bringing the 21st Century Classroom Experience to the Arlington School
Today, students and their parents expect to have the latest technology,” said Suzanne Loughlin, APRN, BC, director of McLean Hospital’s Arlington School. “And in the past year, we’ve taken additional steps to bring the 21st-century classroom experience to the Arlington School.” With the help of a $50,000 donation from a parent of a former Arlington School student, the school has purchased five new smartboards and launched a comprehensive, state-of-the-art learning management system (LMS).

Ride for Mental Health Founder Mac Dorris Wants to Expand the Conversation Around Mental Health
The difference between writing a check for an important cause and riding a bike for one is Mac Dorris. In founding the Ride for Mental Health in 2017, Dorris has created an opportunity for people to do both. The event’s scenic course, stellar logistics, and excellent vibe have attracted both serious and recreational cyclists from New York to Boston. Its purpose: to raise money for McLean Hospital and inspire more people to talk about mental health issues.

Martin Richard Foundation: Helping Those Who Help Others
They did what they were trained to do: ran toward the explosions to shield and tend to the injured and comforted the frightened as they were transported to waiting ambulances. The first responders were among the biggest heroes of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Deconstructing Stigma: It Doesn’t Matter How Tough You Are
“The first responder world is made of tough-as-nails, tight-lipped individuals who live a life where nothing seems to bother them. It’s gotten better in recent years, but mental illness is still very much a taboo subject.”

Read more in the full issue

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