Yale is creating a new Center for Brain and Mind Health

Yale School of Medicine is establishing a new Center for Brain and Mind Health to foster cross-departmental collaborative efforts in both clinical and translational neuroscience.

Arshnoor Kaur

09:35, 09 September 2022

Contributing reporter

Joy Lian, staff illustrator

Clinical and translational neuroscience research at Yale will now have a new home at the Center for Brain and Mind Health, or CBMH.

Led by Yale School of Medicine, CBMH is led by a group of five co-directors whose work spans many different areas of clinical and translational neuroscience. The center will focus on sponsoring public health-oriented research with the hope of directly promoting better patient outcomes for conditions of the brain and mind through an emphasis on the diagnosis, management and treatment of real patients. The center will also work on various educational initiatives in its mission to improve brain and mind health among the public.

“We hope to facilitate investigation into the prevention, treatment and recovery of neurological and psychiatric conditions,” wrote Kevin Sheth, CBMH co-director. “We also envision active faculty involvement in all departments within the School of Medicine and in schools around campus. Finally, what a great opportunity to collaborate with Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health System. We have a real opportunity to meet patients where they are, to demonstrate and develop innovation as partners.”

The group of co-directors consists of Eyiyemisi Damisah MED ’11, James McPartland, Christopher Pittenger ’94, Sheth and Serena Spudich. Sheth stressed the importance of working together as a team and “bringing[ing] the diversity of our individual experiences and backgrounds.’

The center does not focus on any one disease or condition, but rather approaches brain and mind health as an interdisciplinary matter.

“Depression and anxiety interfere with productivity and health in almost every area,” writes Sheth. “Dementia and stroke are the leading causes of disability in our nation. Our goal is for Yale to play a leading role in finding solutions to problems like these.”

The team was formed by Nancy Brown, dean of the Yale School of Medicine, in hopes of discussing ways to strengthen Yale’s contributions to clinical and translational neuroscience research.

Directors have been working on realizing their vision for this center since early 2021, according to Pittenger.

“In 2021, we met with stakeholders everywhere [the] community – both chairs and other leaders in relevant departments and centers, as well as many faculty members working in basic, translational, and clinical neuroscience,” Pittenger wrote.

This vision for the University’s future in neuroscience was further discussed at a Clinical Translational Neuroscience Retreat held in November 2021. Over 150 Yale and Yale New Haven Health System faculty members attended the event.

“We had conversations with a large and diverse group of thought leaders spanning multiple schools at Yale and the health system, and held a large retreat to discuss ideas and priorities,” explained McPartland, one of CBMH’s co-directors.

CBMH plans to adopt an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to its research. Pittenger emphasized that there can often be a disconnect between basic science and clinical research, but the CBMH aims to help bridge that gap by “facilitating the translation of new insights from the lab to the clinic (and vice versa).”

CBMH directors also hope to cultivate relationships beyond Yale with the Virginia Connecticut Health System as well as the Connecticut Mental Health Center.

“Collaboration and inclusion are among the founding ideals, and the center will foster new models of collaborative work, all in the spirit of improving neurological and psychiatric health, which are some of the most important areas in public health today,” Sheth said.

CBMH will offer internal pilot grants to support research that fosters collaboration across departments and disciplines across the university, emphasizing synergistic projects involving multiple principal investigators. The Center will soon make announcements regarding postdoctoral positions and research fellowships that will be available for impactful clinical and translational neuroscience projects.

In addition to this, CBMH will also lead educational initiatives in line with its aim to improve neurological and psychiatric health among the larger patient population. The center hopes to see lectures, symposia, workshops and seminars in the near future.

Yale School of Medicine was founded in 1810.

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