Message From The Interim Chair

Daniel Yohanna, M.D.
Associate Professor,

Interim Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience

I have had the pleasure of overseeing the Clinical Mission in the Department for over 10 years and now I have the distinct honor to be the steward for overseeing the continued growth and development of the Department until a permanent chair can be named. 

Over the years under the leadership of Dr. Emil Coccaro, M.D., Ellen C Manning Professor of Psychiatry and immediate past Chair, we have transformed this Department so as to enhance all of our clinical, educational, and research programs and have also reorganized along “mission lines” for clinical, educational, and research affairs to highlight our commitment to each of these critical areas.  There is a very positive spirit in the Department and there is optimism and opportunity in each of the many areas in which we are active.

Prior to my being named Interim Chair, under Dr. Coccaro, we have successfully recruited several new members to the Department.   These include new psychiatrists, new clinical psychologists, new basic scientists and new social workers.  These new departmental members are focusing in a variety of areas and strategic initiatives of the hospital including, but not limited to, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Supportive Psycho-oncology, Consultation Psychiatry, Palliative Care, Eating Disorders, Geriatrics, Woman’s Health and general psychotherapy for adults, adolescents and children.  In addition, we are recruiting for new Inpatient Hospitalist and several initiatives in oncology and pediatrics.   

Organization of the Department

The Department has is organized along “Mission Lines” and, accordingly, there are Directors for each of our core Missions (Clinical, Education, and Research).  Acting in concert with the Mission Directors are two Clinical Sections (General Psychiatry and Child & Adolescent Psychiatry) and one Research Section.

Mission Directors:

Director of the Clinical Mission:  TBA

Director of the Education Mission: Deborah Spitz, M.D.  Dr. Spitz has had a distinguished career in medical education, including Director of Residency Training at Tufts University and Director of Medical Student Training here at the University of Chicago.  In addition, Dr. Spitz has received many honors for her work in the field education including Outstanding Teacher of the Year by both Medical Students and Psychiatric Residents at Tufts University and by Psychiatric Residents here at the University of Chicago.  Dr. Spitz is board certified in General Psychiatry and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.  Dr. Spitz is also on the Editorial Board of the leading peer-reviewed journal for Psychiatric Education, Academic Psychiatry.  Dr. Spitz won the Chair’s Award for Most Outstanding Faculty Member in 2006 and, again, in 2009.

Director of the Research Mission: Andrea King, Ph.D. Dr. King has had a distinguished career in biological and behavioral factors related to risk for substance use disorders and their treatment.  She has been on faculty at the University of Chicago since 1997 and has received numerous NIH and Foundation Grant Awards for her clinical research program.  She has a secondary appointment in the Committee on Neurobiology, and is Co-Program Leader of the Cancer Prevention and Control program in the University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center. She has served as elected Secretary and Executive Board Member of the Research Society on Alcoholism and member of the Clinical, Treatment, and Health Services Review Subcommittee at NIAAA .  Dr. King is actively involved in all missions of the department, including scientific research, education and training, and clinical activities.  She is also a licensed clinical psychologist and is Co-Director of the Addictive, Compulsive, and Impulsive Disorders Clinic.  Dr. King received the Chair’s Award for Outstanding Overall Faculty Member in 2008 and 2010, Outstanding Citizenship in 2006 and 2014, and Outstanding Research and Scholarship in 2015.

Section Chiefs:

Adult Psychiatry: TBA

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Karam Radwan, M.D. (Interim) Dr. Radwan is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at The University of Chicago. He is the interim section chief and has been the director of training of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry since 2009. Dr. Radwan specialized in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and neurodevelopmental disorders. He serves as a consultant psychiatrist in global mental health organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Dr. Radwan is board certified in Adult Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Among Dr. Radwan’s research interests are increasing public awareness of childhood mental health. Dr. Radwan is an accomplished speaker in the areas of childhood mood disorders and complementary and integrative medicine approaches. He won the Chair’s Award for Most Outstanding Scholarship Faculty Member in 2011 and the Chair’s Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Faculty Member in 2010, 2014 and 2015.

Psychiatry Research and Behavioral Neuroscience: Andrea King, Ph.D.   In addition to Mission Director for Research, Dr. King is also Chief of the Research Section, currently consisting of funded investigators with a research budget of over $5 Million/Year in total funding from all extramural sources.

Clinical Programs:

General Adult Psychiatry.  The section of General Psychiatry includes both Hospital-Related Services and Outpatient Services.  Hospital-Related services include a 12-Bed Inpatient Teaching Service at Lakeshore Hospital and an outpatient ECT Service at the University of Chicago Medicine’s new Hospital (CCD). The outpatient service is staffed by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical neuropsychologists, a nurse and social worker.  The outpatient service provides mental health assessment and treatment services that include state-of-the-art psychopharmacology and a variety of psychotherapies, including cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy,.  The program includes a variety of clinics in mood, anxiety and personality disorders, schizophrenia, geropsychiatry, neuropsychiatry, and others.

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.  The section on Child & Adolescent (C&A) Psychiatry, focuses on outpatient and consultative services for children and adolescents.  The section is staffed by C&A psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, clinical neuropsychologists a nurse and social worker.  The clinical service provides mental health assessment and treatment services that include state-of-the-art psychopharmacology and a variety of psychotherapies including parent-child interactive therapy (PCIT).  The program includes a variety of clinics in mood and anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior disorders, attention deficit disorders, eating disorders, and developmental disorders.  Clinical research in the section includes active NIH funded programs and (T#@) training grants.      

Research Programs:

Psychiatry Research and Behavioral Neuroscience.  This research section conducts NIH funded research in clinical, translational, and basic science.  Within the section are nine (9) laboratory groups including six (6) clinically-oriented research groups and three (3) basic and biobehavioral science research groups.  The clinically-oriented groups focus on addictive disorders, personality/aggression disorders, mood and anxiety disorders and eating disorders. The basic science groups focus on human and animal behavioral psychopharmacology and molecular genetics of psychiatric disorders.

Opportunities for Residents in Research.  Opportunities exist for psychiatry residents, particularly in the latter years of the residency, as well as psychology interns and externs  to work with investigators in any of these groups.  In the last few years, more than thirty residents and interns have worked with faculty in research on a variety of research projects.  Of this group, more than seventeen peer-review papers and numerous abstracts have been published with residents or interns as authors. 

Commitment to Teaching

We are investing considerable resources in our training programs.  Education has been elevated up to Mission Status and has its own Mission Director, Deborah Spitz, M.D.  As such Dr. Spitz oversees all education activities in the Department with specific education directors (e.g., Medical Student Education) under her.  Another training program in the Department is an Internship in Clinical Psychology.  We also train post-doctoral psychologists and fellows in Psychosomatic Medicine and Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Clinical Excellence

We believe that clinical excellence follows from broad experience, good teaching, and scientific inquiry.  The scientific basis of clinical excellence will be central to our teaching program.  This is essential for graduates, because they must, over the four or five decades they practice, be familiar with and critically evaluate developments and therapies.  Beyond that, our faculty is committed to providing an example of the highest moral and “the secret of the care of the patient is found in caring for the patient.”

Academic Excellence

Clinical excellence and academic excellence go hand-in-hand as one informs the other.  However, beyond training excellent clinicians or goal is to train researchers who are able to make academic contributions to our field.  Trainees are afforded intellectual and scientific stimulation to develop their critical skills and the depth and breadth of their academic knowledge.  While we have provided research opportunities for all residents, the department now can support at least one full year of research as part of a research-track.

The Coming Years

Among others things, new initiatives have been created to increase the strength of the junior faculty through the creation of mentorship committees that work to guide the development of this most important group within our faculty.  In addition to our diverse Grand Rounds Program, which include outside speakers and clinical case presentations, the Department has bi-annual retreats  assembled to keep faculty  up to date on the clinical programs, training, and the research currently taking place in the Department to build working groups and new collaborative initiatives.