The MGH Leadership Council for Psychiatry’s Ninth Annual Seminar on Feb. 26, 2015 marked two special milestones: achieving the council’s membership goal of 100 members/member families and raising more than $28 million since 2007 to advance the mission of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.
The seminar highlighted the latest research advances and treatment innovations in mental health taking place at Mass General.
Joining the celebration was special guest Naomi Judd, herself a new council member. Judd, who gained fame as half of country music’s mother/daughter duo, The Judds, has sold 20 million records, scored 15 number one hits and won six Grammy Awards. She has also written several bestselling books, including “Naomi’s Breakthrough Guide: 20 Choices to Transform Your Life.” Judd spoke candidly to the council about her own struggles with depression, and the life-changing treatment she has received from the MGH Department of Psychiatry.
Psychiatry Research Advances
Hosted by Leadership Council Co-Chair Michele Kessler and her husband, Howard, at their home in Palm Beach, Florida, the seminar highlighted the latest research advances and treatment innovations in mental health taking place at Mass General. Jordan Smoller, MD, ScD, director of the Psychiatric & Neurodevelopmental Genetics Unit, discussed the roles of nature and nurture in mental illness. Sabine Wilhelm, PhD, director of the OCD Clinical and Research Program, presented on obsessive concerns about body image, while Janet Wozniak, MD, medical director of Child Psychiatry, explained the difference between normal and abnormal moodiness in teenagers. Jerrold Rosenbaum, MD, chief of Psychiatry, spoke movingly about the risk factors for and prevention of suicide.
The Leadership Council’s mission is to expand awareness of mental illness, diminish its stigma, and advance research and clinical care through the work of the department. Members are ambassadors for the department’s mission and provide annual philanthropic support.
Investment in Mental Health
“All healing takes place in the context of a therapeutic relationship, grounded in sophisticated understanding of the human mind, and anchored in empathy.”
“The Leadership Council is about encouraging people to stand up for mental illness, to focus on expanding awareness, erasing existing stigma, and opening communication within families and colleagues,” says Carroll Carpenter, Leadership Council co-chair. “Investment in mental health research and compassionate care is an investment in our society as ‘no family goes untouched.’”
In his remarks, Dr. Rosenbaum marveled at all MGH Psychiatry has achieved in recent years and the amazing opportunities on the horizon of psychiatric neuroscience such as implantable devices to treat brain dysfunction in post traumatic stress disorder and growing a version of a brain from a patient’s skin cells. He also reflected on the fundamental importance of the doctor-patient relationship, which remains at the center of all that MGH Psychiatry does.
“The old wisdom, the foundational training of psychiatrists 50 years ago, still remains true today,” Dr. Rosenbaum said. “All healing takes place in the context of a therapeutic relationship, grounded in sophisticated understanding of the human mind, and anchored in empathy. So there is much to be hopeful about during this time of tremendous discovery.”
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