At this year APA’s annual meeting in New York in May, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) will sponsor a three-day symposium and a day of plenary lectures to ensure that attendees are aware of the latest advancements in mental health research and how they could advance the field.
“This year there is not a single focus [of the presentations]. The track is generally an overview of research that is being highlighted by NIMH. If there is any focus at all, it’s on interesting research that we are funding, as well as themes that we think are intriguing to the public,” Joyce Chung, M.D., deputy clinical director of NIMH, told Psychiatric News.
The NIMH research track will begin Saturday, May 3, with NIMH Director Thomas Insel, M.D., who will present the lecture “Psychiatry to Clinical Neuroscience,” followed by Steven Hyman, M.D., director of the Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, and Gregory Simon, M.D., M.P.H., a senior scientific investigator at the University of Washington, who will discuss psychiatric genetics and the creation of a “learning” mental health care system, respectively.
“We have an incredible lineup,” Chung stated. “We chose investigators who are great speakers and who will give a great overview of what’s going on in the field.”
Monday, May 5, is the start date for the three-day symposium. “Clinical Risk for Psychosis and Early Serious Mental Illness” is the first topic of discussion, chaired by Robert Heinssen, Ph.D., director of the NIMH Division of Services and Intervention Research.
“There are several divisions at NIMH that fund research,” Chung explained. “Each symposium is being chaired by one division director at NIMH and is a highlight of some of the different kinds of research that are being funded by that particular division.”
Linda Brady, M.D., director of the Division of Neuroscience and Basic Behavioral Science, will chair the session on Tuesday , May 6, titled “Novel Therapeutics for Psychiatric Disorders: Discovery Through Development,” which will feature NIMH researcher Carlos Zarate, M.D., discussing the development of rapid-acting antidepressants, such as ketamine.
On Wednesday, May 7, speakers will discuss new ways of classifying psychopathology based on dimensions of observable behavior and neurobiological measures in the symposium titled “Research Domain Criteria (RDoC): New Approaches to Diagnostics.” It will be chaired by Bruce Cuthbert, Ph.D., director of the Division of Adult Translational Research and Treatment Development.
Joyce Chung, M.D., deputy clinical director at the National Institute of Mental Health, is inviting all attendees to attend the NIMH research track symposia.
Chung said that symposia participants will walk away with important insights about research advances that will be useful in their careers.
“On Monday, symposium attendees will see how some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, could be developmental brain disorders,...so the earlier we identify the underlying factors, the more likely we will be to achieve positive long-term outcomes. At Tuesday’s symposium, participants will become aware of new psychotherapies and technologies that they may use in their own practice in the future. As it relates to RDoC, many people are unaware what the criteria entail, but at the end of the symposium [on Wednesday] people will know about research that uses RDoC as a framework for understanding mental illness.”
Chung emphasized that NIMH hopes that this year’s annual meeting attendees will be able to dedicate three hours of their time to at least one session sponsored by the institute to learn about the top priorities at NIMH. ■