Summer 2018 Issue


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VCU Health System Update

By Susan J. Waller, MD, DFAPA
Associate Professor

VCU’s most exciting news this year is undoubtedly the April 2018 opening of their brand new two-story, 190,000 square foot Virginia Treatment Center for Children (VTCC) located on Sherwood Avenue in Richmond. This state-of-the-art outpatient and inpatient facility is transformational for children's mental healthcare, bringing VTCC services out of a 50-year-old institutional space and into a modern facility with an inspirational design that incorporates natural light, green space and unique safety features important to moderate mental healthcare.  Based on research and the particular profile of the child psychiatric patient, the facility design features a soothing aesthetic, warm and bright color palate and comforting, home-like furnishings.  VTCC’s clinical expertise ranges from anxiety and mood disorders to autism and mental health needs related to gender and sexuality.  The new facility will enable VTCC to develop new programs and services to better meet the needs of Virginia’s children, including increased capacity. The new VTCC spans 4.5 acres and includes 32 private inpatient rooms with accommodations for a parent to spend the night, 20 outpatient consult rooms, occupational, recreational, art, music and play therapy, inpatient school programs, a gym and recreational areas, gardens and green space, a Children's Mental Health Resource Center and the Commonwealth Institute for Child and Family Studies, the research arm of VTCC.  The building is the first L.E.E.D. accredited children's psychiatric facility in the Commonwealth and has already been recognized for its safe and healing environment with an Award of Merit in Behavioral Healthcare’s 2016 Design Showcase competition.

Dr. Kenneth Kendler was recently recognized by the American Psychopathological Association for the 2018 Joseph Zubin Award, which is granted to researchers “who have made seminal contributions to  psychopathology.”  Dr. Kendler will be presenting the invited Keynote Speech on the 'Interactions of Genetics and Psychosocial Factors in Mental Illness' on June 14 at the 2018 Commonwealth’s Annual Mental Health Symposium:  Developing a Seamless System of Care.  Dr. Kendler and a team of Swedish research collaborators recently published a study in JAMA Psychiatry titled, 'Sources of Parent-Offspring Resemblance for Major Depression in the National Swedish Extended Adoption Study.'  This study found that parent/offspring resemblance for treated major depression arises from genetic factors and rearing experiences to approximately equal extent.

Dr. Aradhana Bela Sood, senior professor of Child Mental Health Policy, was honored by the American India Foundation (AIF) at the annual Virginia Gala at the Science Museum of Virginia, which raised over $60,000 for the organization’s poverty alleviation work in India. Dr. Sood has a busy outpatient practice and consults with youth in the juvenile justice system.  She has been on Richmond Magazine’s “Best Doctors” list since 1996 and has received VCU’s highest Distinguished Award for Service.  The focus of her current work is promoting resilience and prevention strategies in child mental health from a public health and collective impact perspective through inner city programs.

Dr. Christopher Kogut, a past secretary on PSV’s Executive Board, was the recipient of the VCU/VCUHS Leadership in Graduate Medical Education Award as Residency Program Director. The award recognizes one who “constantly strives to improve their program and serve as exemplary role models.”

On May 21, 2018, with the support of Governor Northam, VCU was awarded a $21.5 M federal grant for their Clinical Translational Science Award (CTSA).  Addiction psychiatrist, Dr. Gerry Moeller, Principal Investigator for the CTSA (called the Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research; CCTR) was recognized for his visionary leadership and patience during the lengthy review process. To put the significance of this award in context, there are over 50 institutions nationally with CTSAs and of those, there are only 20 public institutions like VCU that have both a CTSA and a NCI-designated Cancer Center. VCU is currently the only CTSA in the Commonwealth of Virginia. This award will enable VCU to support early career investigators in their efforts to pursue translational research.  It will also enable and encourage VCU further in their collaborations with research intensive universities and healthcare systems in Virginia and beyond. This collaborative work will advance discoveries and knowledge so as to improve human health and well being.

Dr. Michael Clark was recently appointed Chair of VCU Psychiatry at INOVA, having come from a distinguished career at Johns Hopkins. Graduating from the Washington University School of Medicine, he completed his psychiatry residency at Johns Hopkins and then took a psychosomatic fellowship at the University of Washington. At Johns Hopkins, he developed a chronic pain program, an area for which he is nationally recognized.

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