Mclean Hospital

From Adolescents to Adults: Everything You Need to Know About Brain Health

March 27-29, 2019 – Quito, Ecuador

Stock photo

Join us for the First Mental Health Congress hosted by McLean Hospital and Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).

USFQ, in collaboration with McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is proud to present a multi-day conference focused on providing mental health clinicians with a review of best practices, opportunities to learn from case studies, and in-depth trainings on some of today’s most advanced clinical treatments for depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and self-harm.


Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Avenue Diego de Robles and Interoceanic Highway, Quito, Ecuador

Course Registration

Register before February 18: $420
Register after February 18: $500
Group discount: $450/each
Community Meet the Experts Dinner (March 27): $30


Course Leadership

Program Directors

Philip G. Levendusky, PhD, ABPP, McLean Hospital
Mariel Paz Y Miño Maya, PhD, USFQ
Ana F. Trueba, PhD, USFQ

Congress Developers

Scott O’Brien, McLean Hospital
Adriana Bobinchock, McLean Hospital
Jaime Ocampo, MD, PhD, USFQ
Maria Sol Graces Espinosa, MA, USFQ

International Faculty

Blaise Aguirre, MD, McLean Hospital
Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, McLean Hospital
R. Katharyn McHugh, PhD, McLean Hospital
Stephen J. Seiner, MD, McLean Hospital
Jeffrey Szymanski, PhD, International OCD Foundation
Ipsit Vahia, MD, McLean Hospital

National Faculty

Esteban Toledo, MD, USFQ
Esteban Utreras, PsyD, USFQ

Program Schedule

Day One: March 27, 2019

8am – Welcoming Remarks

9:15am – Session I: Understanding and Treating Different Forms of Anxiety in Adolescents and Adults

In this session, participants will gain a greater understanding of anxiety and how it presents in both adolescents and in adults. Hearing from two of the top experts in the field, we will discuss best practice models for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), while also exploring the practical uses of technology in the treatment of anxiety, as well as providing insight into cognitive behavior therapy (CBT).


  • Jeff Szymanski, PhD, Executive Director, International OCD Foundation
  • Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP, Program Director, Behavioral Health Partial Hospital Program, McLean Hospital
  • Mariel Paz Y Miño Maya, PhD, USFQ

12:15pm – Lunch

Join us for lunch, where we hear from Lisa B., who will be interviewed about her experience with late-in-life debilitating depression.

1:45pm – Session II: Crisis of the 21st Century: Addiction

With an estimated 300 million individuals living with some form of addiction worldwide and a reported more than 200,000 Ecuadorians reportedly using opiates, cocaine, cannabis, and amphetamine-type drugs, it is clear that addiction affects every nation and most families. In this presentation, we will discuss the latest approaches to treating addiction and how each clinician can partner with their patients to improve outcomes.


4:30pm – Session III: The Crossroads of Psychiatry and Ecuadorian Culture: A Panel Discussion

  • Local presenters to be announced

6pm – Networking Reception

7:30pm – Meet the Experts: An Evening for the Quito Community

Mental health experts from USFQ, McLean Hospital, and Harvard Medical School will host a light dinner reception for educators, parents, students, and others who are interested in learning more about mental health.

Day Two: March 28, 2019

9am – Session I: Best Practices and the Latest Advances in Treating Depression

Despite being the most highly effective method to treat depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is not used as often as it could be due to stigma. In this presentation, we will discuss ECT, as well as two newer methods of treating depression—TMS and ketamine. Participants will also learn how older generations are addressing depression and other psychiatric disorders with the aid of technology.


  • Stephen J. Seiner, MD, Medical Director, ECT Service, McLean Hospital
  • Ipsit Vahia, MD, Medical Director, Older Adult Outpatient Services, McLean Hospital
  • Esteban Utreras, PsyD, USFQ

12:30pm – Lunch

Shame is the greatest barrier to seeking mental health care. During our lunch session, you will hear from our colleagues at McLean Hospital about how they are working to reduce the shame that surrounds mental illness.

2pm – Session II: Caring for a Patient Struggling With Suicidal Thoughts and Self-Harm

Suicide affects people from different backgrounds, ethnic groups, socioeconomic statuses, and geographical locations. In Latin America—particularly in Ecuador—there has been a sharp increase in individuals attempting and dying by suicide. In this presentation, we will explore working with patients who injure themselves and have persistent suicidal ideations. Participants will also learn the basic tenets of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).


  • Blaise Aguirre, MD, Medical Director, Adolescent DBT Services, McLean Hospital
  • Ana F. Trueba, PhD, USFQ

4:45pm – Session III: Living with Mental Illness: My Personal Journey – Geronimo Burneo

6pm – Congress Closing Remarks

Dinner will be accompanied by a keynote address from Thröstur Björgvinsson, PhD, ABPP.

Day 3: March 29, 2019 (Optional)

For clinicians who would like an in-depth understanding of the innovative treatment models discussed during the conference, we will offer a half-day course on the following topics. All workshops will be held from 9am to 1pm.

  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – Blaise Aguirre, MD
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy, TMS, and Ketamine Treatment for Depression – Stephen J. Seiner, MD
  • Use of Technology in Caring for Older Adults – Ipsit Vahia, MD
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – Jeff Szymanski, PhD
  • Starting Effective Support Groups in the Community – James Holsomback
  • Use of Social Media to Address Mental Illness and Shame – Adriana Bobinchock and Scott O’Brien