Health Services and Psychiatric Epidemiology
The University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is a thriving and growing research environment. In 2005, it ranked 14th among the nation’s departments of psychiatry in NIH funding, with over $19 million in research and training grants. The Department of Psychiatry Research grant funding has grown to over 32 million dollars as of 2007. Among the research faculty in the Department, there are two major areas of strength, the Division of Health Services and Psychiatric Epidemiology and the Division of Neurosciences.
The mission of the Health Services Division is "to develop interventions to improve the care of patients with mental illness across systems of care. To increase the awareness of the public and health policy administrators as well as providers in systems of care regarding the adverse impact of mental health and substance abuse problems on individuals, families, and vocational, medical and legal systems."
The Division of Health Services at the University of Washington includes over 40 faculty members actively involved in research programs. Faculty members are spread over four teaching hospital systems, including the University Hospital, Veterans Administration Hospital, Children's Hospital and Medical Center, and Harborview Medical Center.
Researchers are involved in several key areas, including primary care, psychiatric and medical comorbidity (i.e. heart disease or diabetes and depression), alcohol and substance abuse, chronic mental disorders, preventions of suicide, and a range of childhood and adolescent research. The Division has many joint research projects with the Center for Health Studies at Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound. These projects include collaboration on an NIMH Patient-Centered Intervention for Mood Disorders grant (Greg Simon, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator). In addition, the Division has close ties with the Seattle School System (Elizabeth McCauley, PhD and Ann VanderStoep, PhD, Principal Investigators), the Washington State Medicaid System (Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator) and Western State Hospital ( , Principal Investigator). The University site also has two NIMH National Research Service Award T-32 Fellowships: 1) a Primary Care-Psychiatry fellowship (Wayne Katon, MD, Principal Investigator); and 2) a Geriatric-Mental Health Services fellowship (Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator). These training grants train both physicians and nonphysicians in learning mental health services research skills and are closely allied with the University of Washington Public Health and Community Medicine.
Two large, health services research and dissemination centers have been recently developed. The University site has developed the IMPACT Dissemination Center (Jurgen Unutzer, PI) that is funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation which focuses on supporting primary care systems in integrating collaborative care models into primary care systems to improve outcomes of patients with depression. Harborview Medical Center has also developed the CHAMPS Center (Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Director), which focuses on improving knowledge about and outcomes of outpatients with mental illness, substance abuse and medical disorders.
The University site has had a major strength in developing research on improving outcomes of patients with anxiety and depression in primary care and understanding the epidemiology of the adverse impact of depression and anxiety in patients with chronic medical illness. Harborview and the Veterans Administration Hospital have had historically major strengths in epidemiologic and treatment research on patients with alcohol and substance abuse, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as patients with chronic severe mental illness. Harborview and the VA sites have recently developed extensive primary care psychiatry research grants that study the impact of psychiatric illness on patients with chronic medical conditions such as HIV, diabetes, epilepsy, and COPD.
Researchers at the Child Health Institute in the Child Psychiatry Division at the University of Washington have developed extensive research partnerships with the Seattle School System for over a decade and are doing innovative studies intended to decrease the incidence of major depression among at-risk junior high school-aged children.