Message from the Interim Chair
Daniel Yohanna, M.D.
Interim Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience
I have had the distinct honor as interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience to be the steward for overseeing our continued growth and development over the past six years.
You may wonder why so many years as interim chair? Although in these last six years we have made many strides to meet our goals of expanding mental health programs into clinical work, research and training, a new chair offers a unique opportunity for new resources and expansion into research areas we do not currently have. It will provide a stepwise increase in our size and research portfolio with an outside recruitment for chair. It is also an opportunity to expand the diversity of our department to better serve our community and the overall goal of improving health care to the Southside of Chicago. Frankly, had the COVID epidemic not stopped us, this could already have been achieved. We will continue anew our search for the next chair of the Department and expect this will be completed within the next academic year.
In the last six years we have not been idle. We have expanded our programs in psycho-oncology, transplant psychiatry, women’s mental health, trauma services and health psychology. We have participated in improving the mental health of our faculty, staff, and employees during these most difficult years of the COVID-19 epidemic. We have expanded our faculty and staff numbers.
Our current research group have been granted over $24 million since 2021; $5 million this year (2022). In fact, we are one of the highest funded departments on a per capita basis in the university. Our research spans drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, health disparities, affective disorders, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, OCD, aggression, child development, and is conducted via cutting edge methods spanning basic human studies and as well as clinical trials. Additionally, our clinical programs are busier every year. This year we provided over 1500 consults in the hospital and 34,000 outpatient visits. In collaboration with the State of Illinois, we have also opened a unique inpatient unit at Ingalls Memorial Hospital treating those with serious mental illness who have been found unfit to stand trial. On the unit, we restore people to be able complete their process with the criminal justice system.
Additionally, our training programs have had many years now of very successful recruitment of top-notch residents, child, and adolescent fellows, consultation-liaison fellows, psychology interns, fellows, and externs. Our psychiatry residents have gone on to further their careers in fellowships, academic programs, and clinical care. Our psychology internship program was recently reviewed, and the feedback has been outstanding, and we were among the first internship programs to obtain a recertification to last for 10 years.
There remains a very positive spirit in the Department and there is optimism and opportunity in each of the many areas in which we are active to improve the lives of the patients we serve. I look forward to another excellent year and welcome new leadership to meet our goals in research, education, and patient care.
Contact the Chairman's office with any Chair related issues at: (773) 834-4100
Organization of the Department
The Department 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.
Current Mission Directors:
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: Sarah Keedy, Ph.D. Dr. Keedy is a clinical neuropsychologist by training and has a research-focused career. Since obtaining a K23 Career Development award from NIMH, she has been continuously funded by the National Institute of Health and by foundation grants. Her longstanding emphasis has been on the neurobiology of psychotic disorders, and she collaborates extensively with colleagues in via her expertise in neuroimaging. She is an Associate Professor in the department and was promoted to this rank on the basis of a “team scientist” identity. She has over 80 peer-reviewed publications as of mid-2022. She is a member of the University of Chicago’s Committee on Neurobiology and the Neuroscience Institute. She mentors both clinical and research-oriented trainees from the undergraduate to postdoctoral levels across a range of training programs (MD, PhD, others). Dr. Keedy has a strong track record of mentoring trainees in competitive programs aimed at increasing diversity in the biomedical research workforce, including the University of Chicago’s Post-Baccalaureate Research Training Program, the Neuroscience Early State Scientist Training Program, and NIH Supplements to Promote Diversity on Health-Related Research.
Adult Psychiatry: Marie Tobin, M.D. Dr. Tobin is a Professor of Psychiatry in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago. Clinically she is Adult Clinical Section Chief and also directs Consult-Liaison Services for the Adult hospitals. Dr. Tobin is actively engaged in the Program in Psych-Oncology which spans the treatment spectrum for patients with cancer treated at the medical center. She works closely with colleagues involved in running programs in Transplant Psychiatry and Women’s Mental Health. Educationally, she is the founding Director of the Fellowship in Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and is actively involved in medical student, intern and resident training in Psychiatry. Administratively, she is involved in many committees. Dr. Tobin sits on the Departmental and Divisional promotion committees and the academic promotions committee for the medical school. She participates actively in regional and national professional organizations. Her scholarship focuses on psychiatric issues in medically ill patients especially in patients with cancer. She has successful ongoing scholarship collaborations with other Departments in the Medical Center.
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry: Karam Radwan, M.D. Dr. Radwan is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at The University of Chicago. He is the 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.
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 (T32) training grants.
Psychiatry Research and Behavioral Neuroscience. This research section conducts NIH funded research in clinical, translational, and basic science. Within the section are several laboratory groups with clinically oriented research as well as basic and biobehavioral science approaches. The clinically oriented work focuses on addictive disorders, serious mental illness including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, eating disorders, and compulsive and impulsive disorders, and trauma. The basic science groups focus on human behavior, psychopharmacology, and developmental factors contributing to risk for psychopathology. There are also experts conducting work addressing 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 educational 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
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.”
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 other 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 includes 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.