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Chairman's Message

mark rapaport  
Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD

Celebrating Little Treasures

This edition of BrainWaves focuses on a few of the many "hidden treasures" of our Department. Dr. Nadine Kaslow and her NIA Program is an important clinical and research program that focuses on helping abused and suicidal African-American women heal and successfully move on with their lives. This program changes the lives of women and their children. Our expanding schizophrenia training, treatment and research program at Grady Park Place outpatient clinic provides needed assessment and care for patients in Atlanta. This program provides in-depth state of the art diagnosis with innovative new treatment strategies and research. It is the only academic schizophrenia treatment program for all of Northern Georgia. Our Department in collaboration with the Student Health Center provides all the psychiatric care for Emory undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Our psychiatrists are specially trained clinicians who are participating in training residents and carrying out quality improvement research. These unheralded experts in young adult psychiatry play a crucial role in helping Emory University be a healthy and safe place for its diverse student body. There any many other "hidden treasures" in our Department such as our participation in the Emory Medical Home, Emory Transplant Center, and the Emory Infectious Disease Service in Midtown Atlanta. During the summer with our recent graduation of 56 trainees and welcoming of new faculty and trainees, it is a wonderful time to celebrate the success of some of our lesser known programs and thank the wonderful people who devote their professional lives to these efforts.

Empowering Women: Dr. Kaslow and the Grady Nia Project

nadine kaslow

Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Nadine J. Kaslow, PhD, ABPP, may be best known as Chief Psychologist for Grady Health System, the past president of the American Psychological Association, and an internationally renowned expert on suicide. But when Dr. Kaslow reflects upon her priorities, one long-term undertaking stands out: the Grady Nia Project (Nia). Nia, the Swahili term for purpose, is an ongoing research initiative and clinical program for low-income African-American women who have survived intimate partner violence and an attempted suicide. It includes an evidence-based group intervention, as well as access to free counseling, support and skills groups, and psychiatric services at Grady. After 20 years in existence, more than 2,000 women have gone through the program.

While Dr. Kaslow juggles many other commitments -- including joint appointments in the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Pediatrics and the Rollins School of Public Health -- she remains passionate about Nia's mission and work.

"Even though domestic violence and suicidal ideation go together a lot, no other interventions target that specific group," says Dr. Kaslow, who also serves as Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

"Low-income African American women often don't receive high quality resources," Dr. Kaslow explains. "So our prioritization is on providing high quality, culturally competent care to people who often don't have access to such services or have barriers to receiving that care which is unique."

Research shows that Nia works. "The intervention helps these women become less depressed and suicidal, and more able to cope with stress," Dr. Kaslow says. "Many women use Nia as a jumping-off point to tackle other life challenges, such as learning to read or becoming gainfully employed.

"It's all about empowering women to feel more effective," says Dr. Kaslow. "While theoretical models inform the work, the truth is that compassion guides us. We strive to go above and beyond the call of duty."

Find out more about the Nia Project at the Grady Nia Project website.

Grady's PSTAR Clinic

PSTAR team members (L to R): Chelsea Hickerson, David Goldsmith, Rob Cotes, Sarah Kopelovich, Marie Faustin, Barbara Hartsfield

Though new in name, the PSTAR ( Persistent Symptoms: treatment assessment and recovery) Clinic, led by Dr. Robert Cotes, is part of a long tradition of providing evidence-based, cutting-edge treatments for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness at Grady. The clinic follows in the footsteps and builds on the work of the clinic for Alternative Treatment Strategies and the Clozapine Clinic. The mission of the clinic is to systematically evaluate, treat, and promote recovery for individuals with persistent symptoms of psychosis, or what some have called treatment resistant schizophrenia. The team consists of Dr. David Goldsmith, Dr. Sarah Kopelovich, Barbara Hartsfield APRN, two rotating third-year psychiatry residents, and a volunteer, Jonathon Widener. Despite specializing in the medication clozapine and nearly tripling the number of active patients on clozapine since 2012, the clinic feels strongly that pharmacologic interventions alone are insufficient to foster and sustain recovery for individuals with psychotic symptoms. PSTAR actively promotes the idea of combining the available psychosocial treatments including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for psychosis, Illness Management and Recovery, supported employment, Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR), and family therapy with evidence-based psychopharmacology. The PSTAR Clinic also serves as a research center investigating interventions that may target persistent symptoms.

The clinic is currently recruiting subjects for a study investigating the role of an anti-inflammatory medication in patients who take clozapine. Future studies are in the planning stages as PSTAR continues to grow. The clinic is available to provide one-time consultations to individuals with persistent symptoms and their families, or to follow individuals on a longitudinal basis. Dr. Cotes and his staff look forward to expanding the clinic in the near future in order to continue to improve access to high quality evidence-based treatments aimed at supporting individuals in their pursuit of health, self-determination, and meaning within the community.


2015 graduates

emory trainees
Click to enlarge image

A combined graduation for all of our trainees in Psychiatry and Psychology occurred on Wednesday June 3, 2015 in the Emory University Hospital Auditorium. This year’s graduating class included 56 people who represented general psychiatry, seven areas of psychiatry fellowships, postdoctoral fellows in psychology and psychology interns.

We are proud of all of our graduates and wish them well in the future. We also appreciate all of the faculty (including adjunct faculty) and staff who continue to play such an important role in training the mental health workforce of the future.


Emory has been selected to participate in the Wounded Warrior Project's national medical care network. Our program will be known as the Emory Veteran's Program. Read more here.

cancer massage

Dr. Mark Hyman Rapaport, Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Reunette Harris Chair has long recognized that fatigue can be crippling for cancer survivors. Dr. Rapaport reports that researchers hypothesize that cancer-fatigue may be caused by inflammation in the body. Emory has teamed up with therapists from The Atlanta School of Massage and Winship Cancer Institute to see if massage can reduce that inflammation. Massage is one area of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) that Dr. Rapaport is investigating. To learn more about the massage study click here.


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

Three faculty members (Drs. Bobby Elliott, Alyson Goodwin, and Maryam Hosseini) and two rotating residents from the Department provide mental health evaluation and treatment at Emory University Student Health and Counseling Services. Utilization of college mental health services has grown significantly in recent years, both at Emory and nationally. These services are free of charge to all currently enrolled Emory undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Learn more here.

In the Emory Patient Centered Primary Care Clinic ( PCPC), we have a member of our faculty, Marietta Collins PhD., seeing patients as part of a multidisciplinary team designed to treat the whole person. This clinic, PCPC, currently provides services to Emory faculty, staff, and their families as a model for coordinated, personalized care taking into account mental health needs as well as medical needs of the patient. For more information click here.

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