McCullumsmith-CherylCheryl McCullumsmith, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor and director of the Consult-Liaison Division in the UAB Department of Psychiatry, has won third place in the impact category of the UAB Health System 2010 Innovation Awards for the “Transitional Psychiatric Clinic” (TPC).  This clinic provides urgent follow-up for patients presenting in crisis to the emergency room who have no ability to access immediate psychiatric care.  The clinic represents a unique partnership with a community organization and allows many patients to remain in the community and out of the hospital while receiving excellent psychiatric care.

Dr. McCullumsmith is expanding research into the unique needs of patients presenting to the emergency room in several venues. First, she is collaborating with other UAB psychiatry faculty to study and treat patients with suicidal ideation. The aim of this study is to approach suicidal thoughts as a reversible, treatable disorder of thought process.  This project will examine the role of disordered thought processes and impulsivity in suicidal thinking, both with structured neuropsychological assessments and with functional MRI scans.  Further, patients will be treated short term – a five day course-with medication aimed at helping the disordered thought process. Patients will be reassessed after this intervention.  The project provides a completely novel approach to assessing and treating suicidal patients.  The project further has the potential to help develop imaging markers of increased suicidal liability.

A second venue of research and clinical care development in the emergency room is to provide more comprehensive screening and brief motivational interventions for patients in the emergency room with substance use disorders.  This project will help to identify individuals with unrecognized alcohol and substance use disorders and to help motivate them to get treatment, as well as providing an improved network of providers of care for substance use disorders. This project is done in collaboration with the department of emergency medicine, trauma surgery and UAB’s addiction recovery program.

Dr. McCullumsmith is a graduate of the University Of Michigan School of Medicine where she also completed her residency.  She is a model clinician through her dedication and compassion for the mentally ill.  Her hard work is a great example of the innovative work that is being developed and implemented here in the UAB Department of Psychiatry.

Bates-UAB-Interview2BIRMINGHAM, AL – The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is the first medical provider in the state to offer a new, cutting-edge treatment for depression. Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, or rTMS, is the first and only device of its kind to be cleared for the treatment of depression by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  To learn more about the rTMS program, visit: UAB Department of Psychiatry rTMS Depression Treatment ProgramFox 6 News Interview with Dr. Redwine, & UAB Media Relations Interview

cleveland kinney 2009 2aThe University of Alabama System Board of Trustees appointed F. Cleveland Kinney, Ph.D., M.D., Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology in the UAB School of Medicine at its meeting Sept. 17, 2010. Kinney earned his doctorate in anatomy in 1976 and medical degree in 1985, both from UAB. Kinney served for more than a decade as director of the Division of Geriatric Psychiatry and also served as interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology from 2001 to 2006.

The UAB Department of Psychiatry is pleased to announce that it has launched a scholar exchange program with Beijing Anding Hospital, a mental health facility affiliated with the Capital Medical University, Beijing, China.  The hospital has 800 in-patient beds and large out-patient clinic, including over 500 physicians and nurses.  This exchange program allows Chinese Psychiatrists in their earlier professional careers to come abroad to receive advanced training in psychiatric and psychological treatment, learning new treatment concepts, and are exposed to cutting-edge psychiatric research in psychiatry.  It will also create opportunities for clinicians and researchers in the UAB Department of Psychiatry to visit Anding Hospital in Beijing and explore the large patient population, treatment strategies successfully used in developing countries, and potential research collaborations.  In the phase 1 plan, a junior psychiatrist from Anding Hospital is scheduled to receive 6-month clinical training in the UAB Department of Psychiatry, and this plan is now successfully in place.  Dr. Meng Fan, M.D., the first exchange scholar from Anding Hospital, has arrived to Birmingham in April and has begun her 6-month training.  She will have the opportunity to observe in-patient service, geriatric psychiatry, consult/emergency psychiatry, clinical research, as well as attending Psychiatry grand rounds and other Psychiatry resident didactics.  The Department of Psychiatry plans to use this exchange program to foster young psychiatrists and researchers of both countries to broaden their knowledge in mental health and provide better psychiatric services to the some 20% population in the world who suffer from severe mental illnesses.

Rita-Cowell-161x200Dr. Rita Cowell, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neurobiology, has been awarded a five-year grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to investigate how certain neurons and brain regions are affected in Huntington Disease (HD). HD is a devastating neurological disorder involving progressive deterioration of psychiatric and motor function over a period of years, leading to death. While the genetic basis for HD is known, there are no effective therapies available. With this funding from NINDS, Dr. Cowell’s lab will investigate cellular pathways that control the function and survival of specific neurons in the brain in animal models of HD, with the goal of identifying novel targets for the treatment of patients. Other work from the Cowell lab suggests that these same cellular pathways are disrupted in schizophrenia, and her lab will be trying to determine whether the psychiatric symptoms that HD patients suffer from (like psychosis and depression) can be explained by the changes in the functioning of these pathways. Local co-investigators/consultants on the grant include Dr. Peter Detloff (Genetics), Dr. Lynn Dobrunz (Neurobiology), and Dr. Mathieu Lesort (Psychiatry). An article describing the research that formed the basis for the grant is currently in press at the Journal of Neuroscience.

Dr. Cowell completed her bachelor of science in Biology at the University of Illinois in 1997 and her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Michigan in 2002. In September 2006, she joined the lab of Dr. James Meador-Woodruff at UAB as an Assistant Professor after finishing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan. In June 2008, she was granted her own lab space on the newly renovated 7th floor of the Sparks Building. Dr. Cowell is happy to be part of such a vibrant and collaborative neuroscience community.