Yale created a new mental and mental health center


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Joey Lean, staff illustrator

Clinical and translational neuroscience research at Yale will now have a new home at the Center for Brain & Mind Health, or CBMH.

Led by Yale School of Medicine, CBMH is led by a team of five co-directors whose work spans many different areas of clinical and translational neuroscience. The center focuses on supporting public health research with the hope of directly promoting better patient outcomes for mental and psychiatric conditions. The center conducts various educational activities with its mission to improve mental and physical health among the community.

“We hope to facilitate diagnosis, treatment and recovery of neurological and psychiatric conditions,” said Kevin Sheath, associate director of CBMH. We envision active participation from faculty from all academic departments in the medical school and schools around campus. Finally, what a great opportunity to partner with Yale Medicine and the Yale New Haven Health System. We have a real opportunity to connect where patients are, to demonstrate and develop innovation as a partner.

The co-directors team consists of Eyiyemisi Damisah MED ’11, James McPartland, Christopher Pittenger ’94, Sheth and Serena Spudich. Sheth emphasized the importance of teamwork and said, “Bring[ing] The diversity of our individual experiences and backgrounds.”

The center does not focus on any one disease or condition, but instead approaches mental and mental health as a cross-disciplinary issue.

“Depression and anxiety hinder productivity and health in every domain,” Sheth writes. “Dementia and stroke are the leading causes of disability in our nation. Our goal is for Yale to play a leading role in finding solutions to these issues.”

The group was formed by Yale School of Medicine Dean Nancy Brown to discuss ways to strengthen her contributions to clinical and translational neuroscience research.

The directors have been working to bring their vision for the center to life since early 2021, Pittenger said.

We met with stakeholders during the 2021 process. [the] Society – both chairs and other leaders in relevant departments and centers, and many faculty working in basic, translational and clinical neuroscience,” Pittenger wrote.

This vision of the university’s future in the field of neuroscience was further discussed at the Clinical Translational Neuroscience Retreat in November 2021. More than 150 Yale faculty and members of the Yale New Haven Health System attended the event.

“We’ve had conversations with a large and diverse group of thought leaders across multiple schools at Yale and across the health system and held a large retreat to discuss ideas and priorities,” said McPartland, one of CBMH’s co-directors.

CBMH plans to take an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to its research. Pittenger emphasizes that there can often be a disconnect between basic science and clinical research, but CBMH aims to help bridge this gap by “facilitating new insights from the laboratory to the clinic (and vice versa).”

CBMH directors hope to establish relationships outside of Yale with the VA Connecticut Health Care System as well as the Connecticut Mental Health Center.

“Collaboration and inclusivity are among the founding ideals, and the center works to foster innovative models in the spirit of improving neurological and mental health, some of the most important aspects of public health,” Sheth said.

CBMH offers internal pilot grants to support research that fosters collaboration across departments and disciplines across the university, emphasizing coordinated projects involving multiple principal investigators. The Center will soon announce postdoctoral positions and research grants for impactful clinical and translational neuroscience projects.

In addition, CBMH leads educational initiatives consistent with its goal of improving neurological and mental health among the larger patient population. The center hopes to host lectures, symposiums, workshops and seminars in the near future.

Yale School of Medicine was founded in 1810.


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