In the News 2012

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Griffin J Jessica L. Griffin, PsyD, assistant professor of psychiatry and pediatrics, Department of Psychiatry, was interviewed for a Worcester Telegram & Gazette story (Dec. 28, 2012) about the new Children’s Trauma Training Center. Griffin, a clinical and forensic psychologist, is the CTTC’s principal investigator. Read the article at
Rothschild Anthony J. Rothschild, MD, the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Professor of Psychiatry and director of the Center for Psychopharmacologic Research and Treatment, has been appointed to an initial three-year term on the editorial board of Comprehensive Psychiatry, the prestigious journal of the American Psychopathological Association.
Sun Kim Research Success: Sun Kim, PhD, RN, assistant professor of psychiatry and Graduate School of Nursing, has completed a study that among other findings sheds light on how Korean women differ from Korean men in smoking and quitting behaviors, according to the American Lung Association.Read more...
Coffman On the occasion of the Great American Smokeout, the UMMS Department of Psychiatry’s Greg Seward, MSHCA, and Ryan Coffman (pictured), MPH, joined radio host Jim Polito on Worcester’s WTAG this morning (Nov. 15, 2012) for a discussion about quitting smoking, complete with tips and information on getting help. Listen to the broadcast at
David Smelson David Smelson, PsyD, professor of psychiatry and vice chair of clinical research, was interviewed byThe Boston Globe for a Nov. 12, 2012 story on the Commonwealth’s leading the way nationally in veterans’ services. Read the article at

Kristina M. Deligiannidis, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology, was recently invited to join the trainee advisory board (junior editorial board) of the Scandinavian peer-reviewed Journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2013, her three-year term involves editorial training activities and participation in the journal’s annual editorial board meeting in Denmark.


Assistant Professor Nanyin Zhang, PhD, Center for Comparative Neuroimaging, is quoted in a Nov. 5, 2012 article in The Scientist titled “The Brain on Anesthetics.” Read the article at

Segment: “’In fact, rat studies using different anesthetics have also found slow oscillation, but found that some longer-range brain communication is still possible during unconsciousness,’ noted neuroscientist Nanyin Zhang, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, who was not involved in the study. That said, ‘The slow oscillation correlated well with the loss of consciousness,’ Zhang said, suggesting the pattern could be used as a marker of unconsciousness induced by propofol.”


The Sunday Business section of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Nov. 4, 2012) features an interview of Dr. Gerardo Gonzalez on the non-medical use of analgesic opioids (pain killers) – particularly among adolescents – and his research in that area. Read the article at Sunday Business section of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Nov. 4, 2012) features an interview of Dr. Gerardo Gonzalez on the non-medical use of analgesic opioids (pain killers) – particularly among adolescents – and his research in that area. Read the article

BeheshtiNegar Beheshti, MD, assistant professor, psychiatry and pediatrics, and assistant director of the Division of Child Psychiatry, is widely quoted in a feature article about discussing politics with youngsters as they mature – in the November 2012 issue of baystateparent Magazine.


“You can make political discussions fun and help them (teenagers) foster the ability to make decisions without repercussions,” she tells the magazine. “A political discussion does not need to end in a heated argument.”

The article is on page 16 of the issue, which is online at

Dr. Beheshti directs the Child Psychiatry Consultation and Liaison Service and Child Emergency Mental Health Services.

Distributed free to more than over 1,000 locations across more than 200 communities in Massachusetts,baystateparent says it reaches 100,000 parents through its print and online publication and is, “one of the most celebrated regional parenting publications in the country.”


The Department of Psychiatry’s Wellness Initiative is reminding smokers – especially those who are thinking of quitting – that the Great American Smoke Out on Nov. 15 is an ideal target day for kicking the habit or making a plan to stop.

Barbara Grimes-Smith, MPH, program director for the Wellness Initiative and the Central Massachusetts Tobacco-Free Community Partnership, says there are a host of reasons to quit, from the practical (saving a lot of money) to the profound.

“The U.S. Surgeon General has said that smoking cessation represents ‘the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.’”

Quitting can also help family members; research shows that a child living in a smoke-free environment is less likely to develop asthma, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, or lower respiratory tract infections. And decreased exposure to secondhand smoke lowers the risk of heart disease and lung cancer for nonsmokers in the family.

Importantly, says Grimes-Smith, the health benefits begin as soon as 20 minutes after quitting.

There are ways to make quitting less intense and improve the chances for success; medicines and simple counseling can more than double the chances of stopping for good. Many health insurance plans offer smoking cessation benefits to members and cover at least part of the costs associated with trying to quit. To find out about eligibility, call the member services number on your insurance card.

There are several quit-smoking numbers to call. For UMass employees: 508-856-1555. UMass Memorial Health Care patients can call the Psychiatry Outpatient Department at 508-334-5393 or the Ambulatory Care Center’s Cardiac Clinic at 508-334-3452.

The Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline provides free information, counseling and support at 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669). For Spanish, call 1- 800-833-5256; TTY: 1-800-833-1477. Or call the Quit Tips Line at 1-800-943-8284 or visit


Fleming-IvesKathryn S. Fleming-Ives, MD, assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School, UMass Memorial Health Care, has been selected to participate in the 2013 Psychoanalytic & Psychodynamic Teachers’ Academy of the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA).

The academy has the goal of nurturing and developing psychoanalytic educators of the future. It provides the opportunity for clinical teachers in psychiatry residency, and psychology graduate and social work graduate programs, to engage in a professional development program designed to facilitate interest in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy, and helps them increase their teaching effectiveness with trainees.

The program, which supports the attendance of six teachers each year (two each from psychiatry, psychology and social work) at APsaA’s national meeting, consists of specially-designed Academy programs, meetings with master teachers, individualized mentoring, and the opportunity to learn together to develop participants’ individual teaching work.

Dr. Fleming-Ives is associate training director, Adult Psychiatry Residency Program.



Thomas Grisso, PhD, professor of psychiatry, director of psychology, and director of the Law-Psychiatry Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, UMass Memorial Health Care, will receive the 2012 B.J. Anno Excellence in Communication Award from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care in Las Vegas on Oct. 23. The award honors people whose communications across time – including publications, speeches and media appearances, among others – have had a significant impact on developments in correctional health care. Grisso, nationally recognized and widely cited as an expert in his field, specializes in mental health services in juvenile detention centers and other correctional settings.

PhD, professor of psychiatry, director of psychology, and director of the Law-Psychiatry Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, UMass Memorial Health Care, will receive the 2012 B.J. Anno Excellence in Communication Award from the National Commission on Correctional Health Care in Las Vegas on Oct. 23. The award honors people whose communications across time – including publications, speeches and media appearances, among others – have had a significant impact on developments in correctional health care. Grisso, nationally recognized and widely cited as an expert in his field, specializes in mental health services in juvenile detention centers and other correctional settings.


Top Doctors

Three Department of Psychiatry faculty members are on the 2012 list of U.S. News & World Report’s Top Doctors: Sheldon BenjaminJean Frazier, and Gerardo Gonzalez.

The magazine, in conjunction with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., published the list of thousands of “best doctors” in 75 specialties based on peer nomination. The New-York based Connolly makes its Top Doctors selections based on nominations submitted by other doctors and reviewed by Connolly’s physician-led research team.

Doctors listed in U.S. News Top Doctors are determined to be in the top 10 percent in their region.



Dr. Jean A. Frazier, the Robert M. and Shirley S. Siff Chair in Autism and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is featured in an article on Page 4 of the latest issue of Spotlight, the Shriver Center’s newsletter. Frazier, co- director of the Child and Adolescent Neurodevelopment Initiative (CANDI), and others talk about their appreciation of growing up with siblings with developmental disabilities.

juvenile justice system

The Juvenile Justice and Assessment division at the Department of Psychiatry’s Center for Mental Health Services Research has received a third grant – this one for $450,000 – from the MacArthur Foundation to support the ongoing National Youth Screening and Assessment Project (NYSAP).Read more...

Feldman This week (Sept. 10-14, 2012) on the Hank Stolz Experience, Charter TV 3 Worcester, Mass., Barry Feldman, Ph.D., director of Psychiatry Programs in Public Safety and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, joins Hank and Dr. Cindy Graber to talk about the SHINE Initiative and Mental Illness Awareness Week, which is Oct. 7-13. That week is also recognized as World Suicide Prevention Week. The Hank Stolz Experience airs weeknights at 8:30 p.m. and weekdays at 6 a.m. and 12 p.m., and On Demand.


SewardGreg Seward, MSHCA, left, recently told a gathering at the 25th annual Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders (Sept. 6, 2012) that integrating tobacco treatment into recovery programs could help some individuals with their co-occurring struggles against alcohol and other drugs.

Seward, pictured here at the meeting with Four-Star U.S. Army Gen. (Ret.) Barry McCaffrey, also said smoking cessation programs work and are increasingly in demand among people who are interested in quitting. He urged recovery organizations and treatment facilities to “catch up” by focusing more attention on tobacco addiction and tapping the skills of smoking cessation specialists.

Seward directs the Tobacco-Free Implementation program at UMass Memorial Medical Center and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He is a licensed Independent alcohol and drug counselor, licensed social worker, master-level tobacco treatment specialist, and DOT-qualified substance abuse professional.

WRCWalter Bird Jr.’s cover story in the Aug. 30-Sept. 5, 2012 issue of Worcester Magazine is a sweeping survey of the state of mental health care in Greater Worcester. The article includes many positive references to the Department of Psychiatry, such as, “Throw into the mix a widely regarded psychiatric department at UMass Medical School and the city is cooking up a recipe it wants to share with as many people as possible.” Read the article.


Wendy Marsh

Can Vitamin D help chase away depression? Wendy K. Marsh, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of psychiatry, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care, is trying to find out, using a new prestigious Young Investigator Grant from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. Read more...

Yael Dvir

Yael Dvir, M.D., Department of Psychiatry assistant professor, says her 2012 Faculty Scholar Award will allow her to launch a clinical study involving 8-to-12 year olds with a history of personal trauma, such as abuse and neglect, and bipolar disorder. Read more...


Lisa FortunaLisa Fortuna, MD, MPH, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of Child and Adolescent Multicultural Health Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is the lead author on a new paper examining smoking among adolescents with other addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. She also recently co-authored a paper on gender differences in adolescent drug use.

Both papers – based on Fortuna’s UMMS study titled Gender, Social Learning and Adversity: Factors in Adolescent Development of Substance Use – were presented at the 120th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in August.

In the gender differences paper, Fortuna and Michelle Porche of the Wellesley College Center for Women reported that socialization for boys regarding masculinity may increase susceptibility to peer pressure on substance use, and expectations about femininity may be a risk factor for girls for substance abuse disorders, particularly when strategies for control of difficult circumstances also involve cutting and disordered eating.

Governor PatrickStaff and faculty members from the UMass Department of Psychiatry, UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care joined state and local officials Thursday (Aug. 16) to mark the opening of the Worcester Recovery Center and Hospital – a facility described by one of the event’s speakers as, “a beautiful beacon of hope.” 

The WRCH is designed to allow patients to be active in programs and activities on its campus. Officials said the facility’s programs will stress physical well-being through exercise, movement, nutrition, fresh air and exposure to sunlight. 

Read the Worcester Telegram’s coverage of the ceremony at

ØstergaardDr. Søren Dinesen Østergaard, a visiting professor from the Aalborg Psychiatric Hospital and Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark, recently spoke to a UMMS Psychiatry audience about the evolving study of psychotic depression and the diagnoses and treatment of the disorder.

Østergaard said that in the United States and abroad many who suffer from the affliction – manifested by severe depression and delusions of doom – are misdiagnosed and aren’t getting the medications they probably need. Østergaard, who is working on a clinical study to construct a rating scale for all of the symptoms of psychotic depression, said there is evidence that severe depression has “specific heritability” – meaning that it is passed down through generations of families.

Østergaard spoke at the Biological Psychiatry Seminar Aug. 16 at the invitation of Dr. Anthony Rothschild, whom Østergaard described as, “one of the most famous researchers in the field.” Rothschild, who holds the Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Endowed Chair of Psychiatry at UMMS, directs the UMass Medical Depression Center. He also serves as Program Director for the Mood Disorders Comprehensive Consultation Clinic at UMass Memorial Medical Center, and directs the Center for Psychopharmacologic Research and Treatment.

Tom GrissoDr. Thomas Grisso, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Law-Psychiatry Program at UMass Medical School, recently told a writer for the International Juvenile Justice Observatory that diversion and restorative justice appear to be more successful in rehabilitating youth than placing young people in detention and corrections programs.  

Grisso, featured in a Q & A article in the IJJO’s July/August 2012 electronic newsletter, also addressed the associations between mental health orders and juvenile crime, and said he is working on ways to improve screening in juvenile justice for young people with diverse cultural backgrounds. 

The full interview is accessible at

Andrew R. Tapper, Ph.D., has been named Interim Director of the UMass Department of Psychiatry’s Irving S. and Betty Brudnick Neuropsychiatric Research Institute (BNRI). 

Dr. Tapper is an Associate Professor who joined the Department of Psychiatry in 2006 and has been “extremely productive as a researcher, mentor, teacher, and leader in his BNRI laboratory,” according to Dr. Douglas Ziedonis, department Chairman. 

Tapper’s research focuses on the molecular basis of nicotine addiction, with an emphasis on neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in addiction and neurological disease. Tapper and Dr. Paul Gardner co-lead their merged laboratories. 

Gardner will continue to serve as the Associate Director of the BNRI. Tapper will report directly to Dr. Jean King, who will continue to provide oversight for the BNRI / CCNI in her role as vice chair of research for the Department of Psychiatry.

Drs. Zhifeng LiangJean King, and Nanyin Zhang surmounted a technical obstacle to imaging neural networks in rodents by making the first map of the intrinsic functional organization of the rat brain. Read the article, "Investigators Map Functional Networks in the Rat Brain" in the June 2012 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Maryann Davis, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry (CMHSR), and Director of the Transitions Research and Training Center (Transitions RTC), was interviewed by Kim Bissett, EdD, host of “Picking up the Pieces, Dare to Persevere” cable show. This was taped on May 9th in recognition of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Marcia Fowler, Commissioner, Massachusetts Department of Mental Health, PPAL and the Home for Little Wanderers was also featured. Dr. Davis discussed the specific needs of transition age youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions and why they are a unique population in need of age-appropriate services. Mental health services that are tailored to transition age youth and young adults will help bridge the gap between child and adult mental health systems. Watch it here.

The program, “Be Mentally Well: Managing the Impact of Alzheimer's Disease,” was presented by the University of Massachusetts Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care's Department of Psychiatry on March 28. It featured speakers who addressed the latest in genetic testing, treatment options and caregiving support. Read about the event which was covered in a recent Telegram & Gazette article and also in UMassMed Now.

CoverA paper written by BNRI’s Liwang Liu, Rubing Zhao-Shea, Paul D. Gardner, and Andrew R. Tapper, "Nicotine Persistently Activates Ventral Tegmental Area Dopaminergic Neurons via Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptors Containing α4 and α6 Subunits", was published in the April issue ofMolecular Pharmacology. An image from the paper was also selected as the issue’s cover. Read the paper.

Anthony Rothschild, MD, quoted in Mar. 2nd Worcester Telegram & Gazette, gives information about a clinical trial on deep brain stimulation, in which an electrode is implanted into the brain and connected to a pacemaker in the shoulder. The trial is about to start at UMass Medical School, one of just 20 sites in North America, and the only New England site. Read the story.

Amy Wachholtz, PhD, director of health psychology, was interviewed today by Worcester News Tonight/NECN for a story about coping with disappointment…such as a Super Bowl loss by the home team. Watch it here.

Anthony Rothschild, MD is leading a clinical trial for deep brain stimulation, a state-of-the-art approach that has shown great promise in previous small studies of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Read the article, New hope for treatment-resistant depression, in the Feb. 3 UMassMed Now.

Greg Seward, MSHCA, LADC-I, CTTS-M, CADC, LSW, Director of the Tobacco-Free Initiative, Ryan Coffman, MPH, CHES, CTTS-M, and Dr. Geoffrey Graeber were interviewed Nov. 14 on WTAG's The Jim Polito Show regarding November 17th's Great American Smokeout and give helpful tips and information on quitting smoking. Listen to the audio...

Community Healthlink, Inc. featured in a WBUR story on Monday, Oct. 31. The CHL programs embed primary care in its outpatient behavioral health clinic. The project is one of approximately 55 nation- wide focused on integration of behavioral and primary care that is funded by a grant from SAMHSA.