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Chairman's Message

Mark Hyman Rapaport, MD

2014 is going to be an exciting year of growth and change in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences within the Emory School of Medicine. We have begun to move into our newly renovated units at the Wesley Woods Psychiatric Hospital. We will now be able to provide our patients with state-of-the-art treatment modalities staffed by faculty, residents, nurses and other trainees employing truly innovative models of care.  The new adult and geriatric units will also serve as the location for the department's new Treatment Resistant Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinical and Research Program. This innovative treatment program will be investigating new therapies for mood disorders.

2014 will also mark the year when the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neurology move into the 1st phase of the Emory Brain Health Initiative at Executive Park (Building 12). The Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Neurology will be co-located in 4 floors of a newly renovated 125,000 square foot facility at Executive Park. This will be the site of new and integrated approaches to treatment, research and education. We believe these new facilities will provide greater access for our patients and enhance care through the development of new approaches to care and the opportunities for creating a true synthesis between clinicians, scientists, and clinical educators interested in studying all aspects of the brain.

New treatments – and possible prevention – in  PTSD

Some 70 percent of us will experience a traumatic event in our lifetimes. Of that number, 10 percent will go on to develop posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a debilitating condition marked by anxiety, flashbacks and avoidance. Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at Emory University School of Medicine, has dedicated her career to studying PTSD, its treatments and possible methods of prevention.

Barbara Rothbaum, Ph.D

Rothbaum pioneered the use of virtual reality technology to treat veterans suffering from PTSD. In this therapy, the veterans relived their trauma – complete with sights, sounds, motion and even smells –until they were able to come to terms with the memory. More recently, Rothbaum has combined the successful virtual reality therapy with medication. Her hope is that the medication can speed the fear extinction process so fewer virtual reality sessions are required.

What has Rothbaum most excited, however, are her studies in prevention. Last year she completed a study demonstrating the effectiveness of early intervention in preventing PTSD. Within hours after entering the Grady Memorial Hospital emergency room, trauma survivors were guided through a session recounting their traumatic experience. The session was taped, and patients were asked to listen to the tape each day at home, as well as return for two more sessions at the hospital. Three months later, the patients who received the early-intervention therapy had half the rate of PTSD as those who did not. Rothbaum is currently comparing outcomes from one therapy session vs. three. "If we find this therapy is effective with one session, we could teach it to firemen, EMTs, people in combat zones," says Rothbaum. "They could use this therapy in the field and hopefully change the memory before it is consolidated."

Healthy Eating and Weight Services (HEWS)

Healthy Eating and Weight Services (HEWS) is a new program offered through the Child and Adolescent Mood Program (CAMP) in the Emory Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.  HEWS was recently launched with a generous gift from the Fuqua Family Foundations. HEWS has been welcomed by the general community as a much needed resource for eating-related outpatient treatment services geared toward young people. It provides an option in the Emory area for stepped-down care following intensive outpatient and/or partial day programs.

Linda W. Craighead, Ph.D.
Erin M. Jones, Ph.D.

HEWS offers a variety of outpatient services for individuals ages 7-25, including outpatient individual therapy designed to address problems with excessive restriction, unhealthy compensatory behaviors, binge- and over-eating, and over concern with weight/shape. The program also provides skills, support, and monitoring related to overweight or underweight status. Other treatment modalities are used as needed, including family-based therapy and education, individual meal support, and group therapy. The program includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Appetite Awareness Training (AAT). The treatment addresses issues with rigid thinking and avoidance of emotion, and it has an overarching commitment to positive ways of empowering clients to take charge of their recovery by promoting acceptance and compassion for both self and others.

The program is under the direction of Linda W. Craighead, Ph.D. Dr. Craighead is a Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory,. Erin M. Jones, Ph.D. is a Licensed Psychologist who manages the HEWS program and directs intervention services. Full Psychiatric Services (led by Dr. Charles Gillespie) are also available ,when needed, as part of the HEWS program.

We welcome all inquiries, and invite interested people to read more about HEWS and CAMP's other specialty programs and services at: camp-emory.com.

To make an appointment  please contact the Emory CAMP Clinic at 404-727-3443 or for further information contact Dr. Jones directly at erin.m.jones@emory.edu


Resident Awards:

Andrea Crowell, a fourth year resident, has been selected as an AADPRT 2014 BRAIN Conference Scholar. The 2014 BRAIN Conference will be held in Tucson in March and will focus on "Neuroscience: Why, What, and How to Teach it." Dr. Crowell will be a group facilitator for the conference and working with psychiatry program directors and faculty to discuss innovative ways to approach education in neuroscience within psychiatry residency programs.

Abigail Nash, a third year resident, was recognized for her achievements in research and was selected as a 2013 NIMH Outstanding Resident Award (ORAP) winner. In the fall, she spent 2 days on the NIH campus and had the opportunity to meet with NIMH branch chiefs, faculty members and clinical fellows, as well as tour the NIMH facilities in the Clinical Center.

Our Psychology Interns:

Joy Beckwith, Kate Gallagher, Bena Kuruvilla, Kristin Walker

Dr. Kerry Ressler and Dr. Brian Dias have found that the smell of fear can be inherited through the genes and passed down two generations. Read more...


Dr. Andrew Miller continues to educate us on how the immune system and your mental health are interconnected. Read more...


Dr. Claire Coles and her team in the Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development Program have launched a free statewide telephone counseling program to answer questions about the effects of medications and other exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Read more...


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

Emory Women's Mental Health Program evaluates and treats women with mood and anxiety disorders who are attempting to conceive, are currently pregnant, or have delivered a child within the preceding six months. The clinic also specializes in caring for women who have experienced a recent pregnancy loss, are undergoing infertility treatment, or who are struggling with chronic somatic conditions. The treatment modalities include both psychotherapy and psychopharmacology, and we are involved with research studies looking at resilience and risk among mothers with mood disorders. Learn more here...

Grady Health System Infectious Disease Program's Center for Well-Being, under the direction of Emory Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences faculty, is nationally known for establishing one of the first comprehensive HIV mental health programs integrated within a multi-service and multidisciplinary HIV primary care setting.

Emory has a number of new clinical studies that are actively recruiting people seeking treatment and controls. If you are interested in learning more, please visit 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 at prosen@emory.edu