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Chairman's Message

mark rapaport  
Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD

Spring is traditionally a time of growth and renewal and it certainly has been so for our Department. I want to congratulate Dr. Ann Schwartz and everyone involved in our residency program for our residency match. We are bringing in an outstanding group of PGY-1’s. Our general residency, our research track track residency, and medical-psychiatry residency all filled with many top candidates from throughout the United States. You can read about each of these new residents here. Also, read about our other incoming trainees in the Trainees section of this newsletter.

This March we hosted the Mark and Barbara Klein Mind Body International Conference on Functional Neurological Disorders (FND) at the Emory Brain Health Center. This conference brought together leaders from psychiatry, psychology, social work, medicine, health policy, neurology, neuropsychology, rehabilitation medicine, ethics, neuroscience, NINDS, NIMH, and PCORI, with FND patients and their families. We discussed some of the challenges and potential solutions this field faces: the dearth of treatment options, lack of appropriate reimbursement for care, lack of education for practitioners, patients, and families, as well as the need for dedicated research about the etiology of FND. The conference was a tremendous success. You can learn more by viewing this link, done by Jaye Watson.

Please enjoy reading some of our other accomplishments in the rest of our newsletter.

Linking past experiences with future possibilities

The worlds of mice and monks can seem far apart. But that’s not the case for Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Brian Dias, PhD. He spends most working days studying mice in his lab at Yerkes to better understand how memory-related dimensions of Post-Traumatic Stress develop. During each of the last four summers, he has taught neuroscience to monks in India as part of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative.

Brian Dias, PhD

For Dr. Dias, the two seemingly divergent roles as laboratory scientist and neuroscience teacher have become complementary. “The convergence of western neuroscience with Buddhist philosophy has been really inspirational for me,” he says.

His research focuses on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms through which trauma and stress are transmitted across generations. “We’re not talking about social narratives,” says Dr. Dias. “We’re talking about what’s happening in the sperm or egg.” To this end, Dr. Dias and the members of his lab are studying epigenetic and hormonal influences on how trauma is encoded, identifying biological signatures like non-coding RNA that might be altered by trauma, and trying to understand how a trauma may be transmitted through the reproductive system and end up impacting the nervous system of offspring.

Dr. Dias collaborates with Emory colleagues to focus on the impact of trauma on humans and nonhuman primates. A collaborative project with Drs. Mar Sanchez, Vasiliki Michopoulos and Mark Wilson explores biomarkers of infant maltreatment versus normal rearing in primates, and stress-related epigenetic signatures in female macaques based on group ranking. In addition, he is working with Drs. Andrew Miller, Jennifer Felger, Tanja Jovanovic and Seth Norrholm to research how hormone-related treatment in the context of breast cancer affects learning and memory.

Dr. Dias hopes this work will pave the way for novel treatments that someday undo trauma’s influence. “I’d like to be able to reverse the effects and break cycles of inheritance,” he says.

Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute- A Hidden Treasure at Emory

Tufts House- Home of EUPI

The Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute (EUPI) is a unique resource at Emory. It has been a division of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in the Emory School of Medicine since the 1950’s, training several generations of psychoanalysts and psychodynamic psychotherapists now serving the Atlanta community. Dr. Bernard (Bernie) Holland was Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychiatry from 1958-1983 and was instrumental in introducing psychoanalysis to both the Psychiatry Department and the Emory School of Medicine. Of the thirty analytic institutes in the USA that belong to the American Psychoanalytic Association (APsaA), EUPI is one of only three located in a university. Candidates in training to become analysts or analytic therapists include current and past residents in the Psychiatry Department, clinical psychologists, social workers, and counselors in private practice, as well as graduate students and faculty members from the across the University.

EUPI’s location within the University makes possible collaborations between clinicians and scholars across the university who use and apply psychoanalytic insights and theories in their academic work. EUPI faculty have played a prominent role nationally in the field of psychoanalysis, and have earned EUPI an international reputation as a leader in integrating the clinical and academic research aspects of psychoanalysis.

It is a rather unfortunate reality that many people have been led to believe that psychoanalysis is an outmoded or even ineffective treatment that has been superseded by pharmaceutical advances or by treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy. But as the distinguished neuroscientist and psychoanalyst Mark Solms said in his Presidential Lecture at the meetings of APsaA in January of this year, citing recent neuroscientific and outcome research, the clinical methods of psychoanalysis “are consistent with the current scientific understanding of how the brain changes”, and “psychoanalytic therapy achieves good outcomes – at least as good, and in some important respects better than, other evidence-based treatments”.

For more information about EUPI, go to our link on the home page of the Emory Department of Psychiatry or to the website here.


We are welcoming a number of new Fellows in Psychiatry as well as the resident class that Dr. Rapaport referred to in his Chairman’s Message. We welcome Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows- Drs. Nina Butler, Sharat Vallurupalei, and Swathi Krishna, Geriatric Psychiatry Fellows- Drs. Oliver Glass and Hadia Shafi. And Forensic Fellows- Drs.Candace Giles, David Halverson and Wanda Shao. We also welcome three Fellows in Addiction Psychiatry- Drs. Maribel Rivera-Mulero, Rajeev Billing and Charles Richardson. We will train one resident in Psychosomatic Medicine- Dr. Suparna Shivashankara. We are excited to have all of these trainees on board in July and we would like to thank the entire faculty and staff who helped in recruitment of this class.


Dr. Matt Segall of the Emory Autism Center discusses “ 5 Tips to talking to your child about his or her autism”. Read more here.

Drs. Nadine Kaslow and Sarah Dunn weigh in on live streaming suicide on social media. Read more here.

Dr. Mark H. Rapaport comments on why massage can make a real difference to people. Read more here.


This section will highlight different aspects of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences that people may not be aware of.

We are delighted to welcome Jaye Watson as Director of Brand Awareness and Outreach for the Emory Brain Health Center. In her role Jaye will work with leadership, faculty and staff to produce video stories and articles, as well as develop strategic relationships with organizations, members of the community and donors. Jaye's career as a journalist has spanned 24 years, with most of that time spent in Atlanta at WXIA where she started as a general assignment reporter in 1999 and was named anchor in 2014. She has won several Emmy awards and two national Edward R. Murrow awards.

In her short time here she has produced stories about the FND conference ( as referred to in the Chairman’s message) as well as videos about the Mary Rose Taylor Family Lobby celebration, and the Predict Study- a groundbreaking study that was quoted in the Huffington Post and well as being featured on Emory’s website here.

We look forward to seeing much more from Jaye in the future.

Our Medical student rotations continue to receive rave reviews under the direction of Jeff Rakofsky MD and Carolyn Knight who coordinates these rotations . This experience is enhanced by all who help to teach our medical students.

Emory has a number of new clinical studies that are actively recruiting people seeking treatment as well as control participants. If you are interested in learning more, please click here.


Your support will help us to partner together for Atlanta and Beyond. To make a gift to the Department of Psychiatry please click here.

If you have any comments or suggestions please contact Phyllis Rosen LCSW at prosen@emory.edu