The core values and priorities of the UW Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences reflect the influences of the Northwest, a still emerging section of the country that is blessed with remarkable beauty, tremendous natural and cultural resources, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a highly educated populace. These basic ingredients have produced advances in aerospace, computer technology, biotechnology and, most recently, global health and have brought us Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, and Pearl Jam. In its relatively short history (established in 1945), the UW School of Medicine (SOM) has emerged as the leading public medical school in NIH research funding while simultaneously ranking as the number one rated medical school in primary care training. This is a highly unusual juxtaposition of achievements, due in large part to the energy and talent of the faculty but also because, as the one medical school serving five Northwest states, the SOM has responsibility for the health care and health care workforce needs of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI).
The Department is pursuing a balanced commitment to knowledge discovery, teaching excellence, and high-quality clinical care by capitalizing on the resources of our vibrant academic and regional community. As would be expected, our research portfolio is on a trajectory of progressive growth, even in this challenging funding climate. The Department’s research priorities are reflected in our divisions and major programs, as illustrated on this website. For example, our mature research centers include the UW Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center (GRECC); its sister program at the VA, the Mental Illness Research Education and Clinical Center (MIRECC), the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit; and the VA Center of Excellence in Substance Abuse Treatment and Education (CESATE). Three emphasis areas are expanding rapidly. Addictions research now spans a range that includes laboratory based behavioral studies of sub-second release of dopamine in freely moving rats, intervention studies aimed at decreasing alcohol use among college students, dual diagnosis treatment research, community-partnered treatment trials, and national dissemination initiatives aimed at alcohol screening and evidence-based treatment among trauma survivors. We are also enjoying substantial growth in Autism research and related treatment programs based in our Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Our longstanding research interest in health services research is rapidly advancing beyond randomized trials of innovative models of mental health care delivery such as the IMPACT program to disseminating and implementing these models in diverse health care settings including primary care, home health care, and schools, in urban and rural / frontier areas throughout the country and abroad. These efforts are complemented by the Center on Healthcare Improvement for Addictions, Mental Illness and Medically Vulnerable Populations (CHAMMP) that has the goal to improve and track mental health care of these vulnerable individuals across the currently fragmented regional delivery systems.
Our psychiatry residency and psychology internship programs, specialty fellowship programs, and post-doctoral research fellowships attract exceptionally talented individuals who are among the most academically competitive applicants in the country. The scale and diversity of our faculty and clinical sites, coupled with the richness of the UW academic community, the emphasis on evidenced based treatments, and the culture of scientific inquiry allows us to provide comprehensive, leading-edge clinical and research training experiences. Our WWAMI responsibilities encourage us to maintain a healthy balance between nurturing future academic leaders and developing the mental health providers for the region. Accordingly, we established a satellite residency program in Spokane in 1992 to address the needs of the underserved in rural eastern Washington. Nearly 50% of the graduates of the Spokane Track, who spend their first two years of residency training in Seattle and the last two years in Spokane, have established clinical practices in Eastern Washington. Hoping to replicate this success for an even more underserved region, in 2007 we launched the Idaho Track that will have 3rd and 4th year residents serving in rotations in Boise and other Idaho sites.
The Department is enriched by the talents of more than two hundred faculty members who are committed to the pursuit of excellence in clinical care, teaching, and research. As an academic ‘family’ we enjoy a departmental culture that values collegiality. We take tremendous pride in our accomplishments and are inspired by our current efforts. As a Seattle native who has spent his entire career at the UW, I have the personal good fortune of serving as Chair. I invite you to explore our website to learn more about the faculty and our programs.