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The next leadership development workshop will be held on Monday September 12, 2016 from 12-1:30pm at Executive Park. Details will be shared as they become available.


The next Faculty Development Seminar will be on Promoting Your Work to the Public and to Donors. It will be held on Wednesday October 5 from 9-10:30am at Executive Park 12 Room 3311 and 3312.

SPOTLIGHT: Ebrahim Haroon

Ebrahim Haroon identifies as a physician-scientist. Accordingly, his primary responsibility involves running his NIH funded R01 studies (1 funded and another awaiting funding by NIH council), both of which involve use of magnetic resonance spectroscopy based biochemical outcomes to examine the impact of inflammatory activation in depression. In his capacity as the Associate Director of the Emory Behavioral Immunology Program, he provides medical support to funded studies of other investigators including James Rilling, Larry Young, Jennifer Felger and Michael Treadway. He also teaches clinical psychopharmacology to PG3 residents at the Emory Resident Psychopharmacology Training Clinic. In addition, he provides psychopharmacology services to his own patients at the adult outpatient services of the TEC.

Outside of the department, he has served as a member of the A3 committee of Emory’s IRB from 2012-2016. He is involved in the Emory SOM MD/PhD training program and actively mentors a group of 3-4 MD/PhDs, which involves a hands-on, ‘bench-to-bedside’ review of research opportunities in psychiatry. He tries to recruit some of these individuals into the research track of Emory Psychiatric Residency Training Program. With regard to his roles and responsibilities outside of Emory, he is on the Editorial Board of Brain, Behavior and Immunity and he just coedited the Annual Review Issue of Neuropsychopharmacology on “Behavioral Immunology of Psychiatric Disorders” with Andrew Miller and Jennifer Felger. He has served on the NIH Study Panels including MESH (2012), APDA (2016) and R61/R33 (2016). He also is on the Scientific Program Committee of Society for Biological Psychiatry and American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology.

When asked what he most enjoys about his work and why, he responded that he enjoys the prospect of asking questions regarding the scientific basis of mental disorders, developing hypothesis and testing them systematically. He also likes writing and publishing his findings in reputable journals and seeking input and criticism from my peers. Moreover, he values his activities related to working with and making contributions to the recruitment and retention of younger individuals in science. When he reflects about the key highlights of his career trajectory, he named the following: (1) being an alumnus of the Basic and Clinical Neuroscience Training Program at Yale University, where he trained under some of the most accomplished and celebrated scientific minds in clinical neuroscience research; (2) graduating with Awards in both Clinical and Research Excellence from Yale University; (3) obtaining a Career Development Award and now an R01 from NIH; and (4) being invited to contribute chapters to major journals and textbooks and to present his data at multiple international and national conferences.

With regard to his interests and involvements outside of the work place, he truly enjoys spending as much time as possible with his wife, family and his pet (Barney). He also is invested in keeping up with international affairs, especially Indian and UK politics (in addition to domestic politics). And travel is high on his list.His goals and plans for the future include: answering specific questions that stem from his current scientific preoccupations; writing and reviewing papers of interest; and continuing to plan, implement and develop newer techniques to profile consequences of chronic immune activation among patients with psychiatric disorders.


David Goldsmith, MD - David completed his general adult psychiatry residency training in 2016 at Emory University where he was on the research track and published papers investigating the role of inflammatory cytokines in major psychiatric disorders. He will be joining the faculty as an Assistant Professor and will be working in the PSTAR Clinic (Persistent Symptoms: Treatment, Assessment and Recovery) at the Grady Behavioral Health Clinic. David has longstanding clinical interests in treating patients with psychotic disorders, with a specific focus on persistent negative and cognitive symptoms. He will also continue his ongoing research investigating the role of the immune system in psychotic disorders and plans to soon apply for an NIMH K-23 Career Development Award to continue this work.

Heather Greenspan, MD - Heather went to medical school Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. She completed her psychiatry residency at Bergen Regional Medical Center in New Jersey. She was fortunate enough to spend a year as the Consultation/Liaison Fellow in Emory's Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences from 2014-2015. She then spent a rewarding year amongst the veteran population at the Atlanta VAMC. Fortunately an opportunity to pursue her passion became available, and she is now serving as a Consultation/Liaison psychiatrist at Emory's transplant clinic. In addition she is assisting with the evolving role of psychiatry in the emergency department at Emory University Hospital, as well as on consultation/liaison rounds, She is excited about the upcoming academic and committee participation and other collaborative opportunities ahead.

Rachel Hershenberg, PhD - Rachel is thrilled to be returning to Emory University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with a B.A. in Psychology in 2006. Her RA work in the Westen Lab and Grady Trauma Project brought her to Stony Brook University, where she obtained her PhD in clinical psychology under the mentorship of Joanne Davila. Rachel completed an APA-accredited clinical internship at the Charleston Consortium followed by an Advanced Fellowship in Mental Health Research at the Philadelphia VA MIRECC and University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine under the mentorship of Michael Thase. In this role Rachel established and tested the effectiveness of a behavioral activation clinic to treat older Veterans with high chronicity of depression and related comorbidities. She simultaneously focused her research on anhedonia, particularly how depressed individuals approach and experience potentially rewarding aspects of their day-to-day environments. As Assistant Professor, Rachel joins the Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD) program under the leadership and mentorship of Bill McDonald. The TRD is an ideal fit with her longstanding focus on the research and treatment of depression and commitment to bridging science and practice. She is excited to collaborate with departmental colleagues to develop and refine biomarkers to optimize precision medicine and our ability to improve quality of life for those with depression and related conditions.

Abigail Powers Lott, PhD – Abby received her undergraduate degree in psychology and anthropology from Emory University. Then, she went to Washington University in St. Louis for her graduate degree in clinic psychology and completed internship at the Medical University of South Carolina. Abby joined the Grady Trauma Project team as a postdoctoral fellow in 2013, working with Kerry Ressler and Bekh Bradley. Her research focuses on understanding the role of emotion dysregulation in trauma-related psychiatric disorders, with an emphasis on the effects of early life and complex trauma exposure. She joins the faculty and will continue her program of research with the Grady Trauma Project, in addition to conducting psychotherapy and training/supervising residents at the Emory Clinic.

Laurie Vismara, PhD - Laurie joins the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences as an associate professor and director of the Walden Program at the Emory Autism Center. Laurie has spent her research career developing and testing interventions and toddler-day programs for young children with autism. She has also conducted dissemination and implementation studies of empirically- supported autism treatments in community settings. A board certified behavior analyst with expertise in the Early Start Denver Model, Pivotal Response Treatment and a wide range of other autism interventions, she is widely considered one of the most experienced intervention researchers in early autism. She has been published in numerous academic publications; she has also written a book to help parents use her intervention strategies at home. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Laurie serves as an Associate Editor for the Journal of Positive Behavior Intervention.

Paul M. Plotsky, PhD – Paul, who was the Director of the Stress Neurobiology Laboratory and the GSK Professor of Psychiatry, retired on June 30, 2016. He will join the Emory Emeritus faculty. He has published over 170 papers, three of which been acknowledged by the Emory Millipub Club for each having over 1000 citations. He began is academic career at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, in 1982 after having done postdoctoral work at Brown University and the Department of Surgery at Rhode Island Hospital under Dr. Donald Gann. He completed his doctoral work at Emory University in Physiology and Neuroscience in 1980. During his early work (1972-1976) at the University of Kansas (Lawrence, KS) in the analytical chemistry laboratory of Dr. Ralph N. Adams, he participated in the development of new analytical tools for neurochemical investigations - specifically in the development of high performance liquid chromatography with electrochemical detection for measurement of low concentrations of catecholamines and their major metabolites in biological samples and the development of in vivo voltammeter for direct detection of catecholamine release in brain tissue in real time. During his graduate work, he utilized these techniques, among others, to study the central regulation of prolactin and luteinizing hormone secretion from the anterior pituitary gland. He continued work in neuroendocrinology with studies of the regulation of stress hormone secretion during his postdoctoral work. His background research on the interaction between genes and the perinatal environment in shaping the developing nervous system became his primary focus soon after going the faculty of the Salk Institute in 1982. In collaborations with Dr. Michael J. Meaney, at McGill University/Douglas Hospital, Montreal, Canada), Paul demonstrated persistent changes in the stress response throughout life following as little as 10 days of repeated maternal separation (3 hr/da). They showed regionally specific changes in brain corticotropin releasing hormone (CRF) concentrations, release rates, and gene expression along with a large compliment of changes in underlying neurochemical circuits. Upon his recruitment to Emory in 1992, he and his colleagues demonstrated these effects in multiple species (i.e., rats, mice, rhesus monkeys) and following several different perinatal insults (i.e., prenatal stress, immune challenge during the perinatal period, etc). Using there rodent and nonhuman primate models in collaboration with clinical researchers, he developed animal models of vulnerability to a variety of psychiatric and medical diseases. Extensive characterization of these models ranging from behavioral assessments to gene expression and epigenetic profiling, as well as neuromorphology have revealed fundamental changes in neurocircuits underlying perception and processing of environmental stimuli as well as the responsiveness to these events. These models permit a detailed analysis of behavioral, neuroendocrine, cognitive, structural, neurochemical, and molecular changes associated with these vulnerable states and provide avenues for development of new therapeutic interventions. Additionally, Paul demonstrated prevention or reversal of these effects by behavioral intervention (cross-fostering, enriched environment) and prolonged antidepressant treatment. He held adjunct appointments in the Department of Psychology and at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He was also on the faculty of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience and the undergraduate Neurobiology and Behavior Program.


Major Leadership Appointments, Activities and Achievements

Michael Morrier was elected President of the newly re-activated Georgia Division for Early Childhood Subdivision, a state subdivision of the Division for Early Childhood, a component of the Council for Exceptional Children.


Andrew Furman, along with Kyle Smith, is convening an academic learning community on The Humanities for Health that is sponsored by Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence.


Andero,R., Daniel, S., Guo, J-D., Bruner, R.C., Seth, S., Marvar, P.J., Rainnie, D., & Ressler, K.R. (2016). Amygdala-dependent molecular mechanisms of the Tac2 pathway in fear learning. Neuropsychopharmacology. Doi: 10.1038/npp.2016.77 – This paper was the lead highlight in the Brain & Behavior Research Foundations newsreport.

Bearss, K. Taylor, C.A., Aman, M.G., Whittemore, R., Lecavalier, L., Miller, J., Prichett, J., Green B., & Scahill, L. (2016). Using qualitative methods to guide scale development for anxiety in youth with autism spectrum disorder. Autism, 20, 663-672. DOI: 10.1177/1362361315601012

Gaskin-Wasson, A., Walker, K.L., Shin, L.J., & Kaslow, N.J. (2016). Spiritual well-being and psychological adjustment: Mediated by interpersonal needs? Journal of Religion and Health. DOI: 10.1007/s10943-016-0275-y

Goldstein, B., Bradley, B., Ressler, K., & Powers, A. (In press). The role of emotion dysregulation in the relationship between posttraumatic stress and alcohol dependence. Journal of Clinical Psychology.

Hoge, C.W., Yehuda, R., Casto, C.A., McFarlane, A.C., Vermetten, E., Jetly, R., Koenen, K.C., Greenberg, N., S., Shalve, A.Y., Rauch, S.M., Marmar, C.R., & Rothbaum, B.O. (2016). Unintended consequences of changing the definition of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in DSM-5: Critique and call for action. JAMA Psychiatry, 73, 750-752. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0647.

Mandavia, A., Robinson, G., Bradley, B., Ressler, K., & Powers, A. (In press). Childhood maltreatment and later substance use: Indirect effects of emotion dysregulation and other trauma exposure. Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Powers, A., Fani, N., Cross, D., Ressler, K., & Bradley, B. (In press). Childhood trauma, PTSD, and psychosis: Findings from a highly traumatized, minority sample. Child Abuse & Neglect.

Powers, A., Michopoulos, V., Conneely, K., Gluck, R., Dixon, H., Wilson, J., Jovanovic, T., Pace, T.W.W., Umpierrez, G.E., Ressler, K.J., Bradley, B., & Gillespie, C.F. (in press). Emotion dysregulation and inflammation in African-American women with Type 2 diabetes. Neural Plasticity.

Rapaport, M.H., Schettler, P., Larson, E.R., Edwards, S.A., Dunlop, B.W., Rakofsky, J.J., & Kinkead, B. (2016). Acute Swedish massage monotherapy successfully remediates symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder: A proof-of-concept, randomized controlled study. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 77, e883-e889. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.15m10151

Ressler, K.J. (2016). The intersection of environment and the genome in posttraumatic stress disorder. JAMA Psychiatry, 73, 653-654. DOI:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0349

Rice, C.E., Adamson, L.B., Winner, E., & McGee, G.G. (2016). A cross-sectional study of shared attention by children with autism and typically developing children in an inclusive preschool setting. Top Language Disorders, 36. 245-265. DOI: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000099

Rothbaum, B.O. (2016). Treatment options for veterans with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. JAMA Psychiatry, 73, 756. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2016.0563

Scahill, L., Bearss, K., Lecavalier, L., Smith, T., Swiezy, N., AMan, M.G., Sukhodolsky, D.G., McCracken, C., Minshawi, N., Turner, K., Levato, L., Saulnier, C., Dziura, J., & Johnson, C. (2016). Effect of parent training on adaptive behavior in children with autism spectrum disorder and disruptive behavior: Results of a randomized trial. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 602-609.

Scahill, L., Jeon, S., Boorin, S.J., McDougle, C.J., Aman, M.G., Dziura, J., McCracken, J.T., Caprio, S., Arnold, E., Nicol, G., Deng, Y., Challa, S.A., & Vitiello, B. (2016). Weight Gain and Metabolic Consequences of Risperidone in Young Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 55, 415-423. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaac.2016.02.016

Stevens, J.S., Ely, T.D., Sawamura, T., Guzman, D., Bradley, B., Ressler, K.J., & Jovanovic, T. (2016). Childhood maltreatment predicts reduced inhibition-related activity in the rostral anterior cingulate in PTSD, but not trauma-exposed controls. Depression and Anxiety, 33, 614-622. DOI: 10.1002/da.22506

Wingo AP, Almli LM, Stevens JS, Jovanovic T, Wingo TS, Tharp G, Li Y, Lori A, Briscione M, Jin P, Binder EB, Bradley B, Gibson G, Ressler KJ. Genome-wide association study of positive emotion identifies a genetic variant and a role for microRNAs. Molecular Psychiatry, accepted 7/1/16.

Diana Simeonova is part of a multisite investigator team from Emory University, the University of California San Francisco, and the University of Michigan who received R01 funding from NIH. The research study will examine the moderating roles of psychiatric comorbidity, adversity, and infant phenotypes on maternal postpartum depression and its effect on parenting.

Honors, Awards, Rankings

None Reported

Quality and Safety Initiatives and Capital Campaign Initiatives

Quality and Soup Measures in June in TEC Psychiatry

  • Percentage of patient visits occurring during which medication reconciliation was performed – below target (38.1% versus 68.0%)
  • Percentage of arrived encounters with notes endorsed within 7 days – above target for June but below prior 3 quarters (91.3% versus 90.0%)
  • Compliance with first contact standard of returning and documenting the communication with a patient within 2 hours of clinical message creation – above target (87.4% versus 69.0%)
  • Patient satisfaction – above target (91.9% versus 81.9%)
  • Realized appointment utilization (i.e., how effective department’s efforts are in utilizing the providers’ schedules and maintaining clean master schedules/templates) – below target (56.9% versus 78.0%)
  • Percentage of new patient appointments in less than 14 days – above target (49.7% versus 48.0%)
  • Total practice salary dollars divided by total practice RVUs, which shows how effectively the practice uses its staff – above target in June, but below for the year ($55.36 versus $55.97)
  • wRVUs divided by total clinical FTE (excludes APPs), which assesses productivity against academic benchmark – above target (3701 for FY16 vers)us 3676)

Community Benefit Programs and Activities

Dorian Lamis was invited to serve on the Pace Academy Mental Health Task Force to help suggest strategies/approaches to prevent future suicides at the school.


None Reported.

Emory in the Media

Nadine Kaslow: (1) WXIA – How to talk to your kids about protests

Helen Mayberg: (1) CBC Radio – Wit’s End, Part 2

Sheila Rauch: (1) WXIA-TV – Army ‘serious’ about tackling anger among combat vets


None reported


None reported


None reported