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The integration of patient care and clinical research has been a hallmark of the Department of Psychiatry for more than 30 years.
Over the years, there has been an enormous expansion in the overall volume of research in the department and associated research funding—with more than $50 million in research programs last year alone—as well as a gradual shift in funding from pharmaceutical sponsorship to federal and foundation funding. The department has cultivated highly productive clinical and research programs focused on each of the major domains of mental health and psychopathology:
- Pediatric psychiatry
- Bipolar disorder
- Psychotic disorders
- Anxiety and traumatic stress disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Disorders of aging
- Eating disorders
- Women’s mental health
- General hospital psychiatry
Each program is staffed by expert clinical researchers and clinicians working together to care for patients and conduct cutting-edge clinical research. In addition, our neuroscience, neuroimaging and genetic research programs include clinical and translational researchers whose work is informed and motivated by the unmet needs of our patient populations.
This research is making it possible to pinpoint affected areas of the brain; understand inherited risk factors and the role of environmental stress; develop more effective psychotherapies, medications and neurotherapeutic treatments; and ultimately to prevent these illnesses from occurring by intervening early.
Our Research Activities
Pre-clinical and Translational Research
Our neuroscience, neuroimaging and genetic research programs include clinical and translational researchers whose work is informed and motivated by the unmet needs of our patient populations. Our programs include:
- Health Promotion & Resiliency Intervention Research Program
- Psychiatric Neuroimaging Division
- Center for Quantitative Health
- Psychiatric & Neurodevelopment Genetics Unit (PNGU)
- Neural Systems Group
- Neurochemistry Laboratory
The model of integrating clinical work and research is evident even in the names of the department’s major programs, such as the “Depression Clinical and Research Program,” the “Bipolar Clinic and Research Program,” and the “Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Clinic and Research Unit.” Our programs include:
- Behavioral Medicine Program
- Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine
- Cardiac Psychiatry Research Program
- Center for Addiction Medicine
- Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders and Complicated Grief Program
- Center for Women's Mental Health
- Center for Cross-Cultural Student Emotional Wellness
- Center of Excellence for Psychosocial and Systemic Research
- Center for Law, Brain & Behavior
- Center for OCD and Related Disorders
- Center for Precision Psychiatry
- Center for Suicide Research and Prevention
- Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry
- Clinical Neuroscience Laboratory of Sex Differences in the Brain
- Community Psychiatry Program for Research in Implementation and Dissemination of Evidence-based Treatments
- Dauten Family Center for Bipolar Treatment Innovation
- Depression Clinical and Research Program
- Division of Neurotherapeutics
- Eating Disorders Clinical and Research Program
- Empathy and Relational Science Program
- Epidemiology Research Unit
- Gerontology Research Unit
- Home Base Program
- Integrated Brain Health Clinical and Research Program
- Lurie Center for Autism
- Laboratory of Adult Development
- Laboratory for Youth Behavior
- Neurotherapeutics Program
- Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Research Lab
- Refugee Trauma
- Recovery Research Institute
- Schizophrenia Clinical and Research Program
- Sleep Disorders Clinical Research Program
Participation in Major National Studies
Clinical researchers in our department have had leadership roles in landmark national studies of the course, genetics and treatment of major psychiatric disorders. This includes a series of federally funded treatment studies begun in the late 1990s and a wide variety of other national programs.
Future of Psychiatry Research at Mass General
The breadth and depth of our psychiatric research continues to grow despite the challenges of an uncertain funding environment. From its roots as a department known for its contributions in consultation-liaison psychiatry and psychopharmacology with little external funding, the Department of Psychiatry now has 60 active research programs and laboratories. In particular, the department has established highly productive research programs in three cross-cutting domains:
- Neuroimaging and neuroscience
- Genetics and genomics
- Clinical trials
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Election to the NAM is considered one of the highest honors in health and medicine and recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding professional achievement and commitment to service.