Fall 2019 Issue
By Peter Breslin, MD
Inna Breslin, DO and Peter Breslin, MD graciously welcomed Gaia Breslin (no letters behind her name yet) into this world on May 10, 2019. She has been doing great and absorbing the world around her. She has gone from sleeping and eating all day to being able to smile and laugh with us, which is a wonderful experience. We hope that she continues to grow and make her mark on this world.
By Lisa Fore-Arcand, EdD
Associate Professor and Education Coordinator
Faculty Advisor to the Psychiatry Club
ADMSEP is an organization of psychiatric educators dedicated to the education of medical students in the behavioral sciences and psychiatry. The 2019 National Meeting, held in Portland, Maine was attended by Dr. Briscoe, Dr. Petri, and Dr. Fore-Arcand, June 20-22. Dr. Briscoe serves as the webmaster for this organization and is a past president. Dr. Fore-Arcand is the secretary and newsletter editor and both serve on the executive council. The meeting provided interactive workshops, presentations, and discussion groups with a community of people who are passionate about medical education in psychiatry. Highlights of the meeting include opportunities to network, collaborate with, and learn from colleagues from medical school across the USA, Canada and Europe.
By Peter F. Buckley, MD
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System
Dear Colleagues and Friends:
One of the marvelous things about our medical school is its continuity in leadership. Our faculty build careers here, and our school benefits from their wisdom and experience. There is no better example of that than Joel Silverman, MD, who is the longest serving Chair in the medical school and the longest serving psychiatry Chair in the entire nation.
After a remarkable tenure, Joel has announced his intention to step down from his role as Chair, and we will begin a national search for his successor. Meanwhile, we are grateful he has agreed to continue to lead the department until a new Chair is in place.
The Department of Psychiatry plays a vital role in our overall neurosciences academic portfolio. During his tenure, Joel has helped to make the neurosciences a top priority for the university and to assemble an outstanding cadre of neuroscientists and mental health clinical and educational leaders. He has recruited stellar faculty who have made advances in all academic areas of teaching our future practitioners, caring for their patients, making scientific discoveries and partnering with the community.
Under Joel’s leadership, a half dozen endowed professorships were established in support of the work of dedicated faculty members. Additional endowments reward teaching, support the work of residents, fellows and researchers in his department. Joel, alongside his wonderful wife and life partner, Phyllis, has built deep relationships in the Richmond community that also benefit VCU’s mission and have enabled tremendous philanthropic support for mental health causes.
A Past President of the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry, Joel is known as an advocate for patients and for his fight against the stigma that’s too often associated with seeking treatment. His vision has won the backing of university leadership, legislators and our community. Just recently, Joel co-hosted a mental health ‘mini-university’ with Virginia’s legislature and the Department of Psychiatry and maintains several collaborations with public mental health systems and key partnerships.
During Joel’s tenure, the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics (VIPBG) was established, and as a result we’ve made dramatic advances in understanding the genetic and environmental causes of psychiatric and drug abuse disorders. Joel has been a great supporter and longstanding advocate for Dr. Kenneth Kendler, VIPBG director, and his team, in placing VCU on the forefront globally of psychiatric genetics.
In addressing the contemporary great concern about addiction, Joel and his team have developed an addictions program to grow research and clinical care in the field. Last year, the Department of Psychiatry opened the Motivate Clinic in its newly appointed outpatient facility in Jackson Ward. Joel also worked with the School of Medicine to bring to VCU the world-renowned addiction leader Dr. Gerry Moeller who leads the Institute for Drug and Alcohol Studies. The Department of Psychiatry has excelled in neuroscience and clinical research and currently ranks in the top 35 departments in federal funding nationally in psychiatry.
Joel’s career at VCU has been characterized by leadership by example and he is a consummate educator and compassionate clinician. Joel has trained more than a generation of mental health clinicians, including most recently spearheading an above-national career selection rate for psychiatry among VCU’s medical students.
Among all his accomplishments, Joel’s leadership and partnership with community leaders to establish the newly-opened Virginia Treatment Center for Children is a remarkable legacy. In this landmark $65 million, 119 square foot facility, patient care, teaching and research come together in an astounding, beautiful center, and all to serve the mental health needs of Virginia’s children.
Fortunately, we will not lose access to Joel’s wisdom and experience. He will remain on the faculty, continuing to teach and to see patients, as well as to contribute his effort on the philanthropy front. As a personal friend of Joel’s for over 20 years, I look forward to continuing our work and friendship together.
Please join me in congratulating Joel on a remarkable 43-year tenure (35 of those as chair) and in thanking him for all he has done to strengthen his department, our school and mental health treatment in our commonwealth and beyond.
By Joel Silverman, MD
Immediate Past Chair
Department of Psychiatry
VCU Health System
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
It is our great pleasure to announce the appointment of Robert L. Findling, MD, MBA, as the new chair of the VCU School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Findling comes to us from Johns Hopkins, where he currently serves as the director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, as vice chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and as the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He also is the vice president for Psychiatry Services and Research at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, as well as the inaugural Lead Medical Director for Integrated Behavioral Services at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Dr. Findling attended Johns Hopkins University for his undergraduate degree in biology and, most notably thereafter, attended our medical school and graduated in the Class of 1987. Following medical school with us, he completed residency training in pediatrics, psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry as part of the highly competitive “triple board” joint training program at Mt. Sinai in New York. In 2011, Dr. Findling also earned his Master of Business Administration degree at a program run jointly by the London School of Economics in England, New York University and Écoles des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris in France.
Prior to his time on faculty at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Findling served as the Rocco L. Motto, MD, Chair of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and as director of the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Dr. Findling has over 20 years of experience conducting clinical research in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry fields. He has served as principal investigator and as a coordinating principal investigator on multi-site clinical trials and longitudinal studies funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Dr. Findling’s research expertise includes pediatric psychopharmacology, acute efficacy studies, long-term treatment studies, characterization of young people with mental illness and how to conduct successful clinical trials. He has been honored with numerous awards and has received both national and international recognition as a clinical investigator in mental health.
“With mental health, addictions and neurosciences being a prominent strategic focus for us, we are committed to building on our academic strengths,” said Michael Rao, PhD, President of VCU and VCU Health System. “I know that Dr. Findling, along with colleagues across the university and health system, will advance and accelerate the important work we do to improve health outcomes in the Commonwealth and beyond.”
“We are extremely pleased that this national search has brought Dr. Findling back home to his alma mater to now hold this major leadership role at our institution,” added Marsha Rappley, MD, VCU Vice President for Health Sciences and VCUHS CEO. “Dr. Findling is a remarkably accomplished colleague and an engaging leader. We look forward with great enthusiasm to his leadership in our department of Psychiatry as well as in our institution and in our community.”
Dr. Findling succeeds Dr. Joel Silverman, the departing Chair of VCU’s Department of Psychiatry. We are most grateful for Dr. Silverman’s longstanding leadership as Chair. Our sincere appreciation also goes to the search committee chairs, Dr. Gerry Moeller and Dr. Alex Valadka, along with the other members of the search committee and our VA partners.
Additionally, we are grateful for the leadership from Virginia’s Department of Medical Assistance Services and the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services and our community mental health leaders for their collective support of this important appointment. The administrative leadership of Dr. Betsy Ripley, Ms. Dee Dee Dye and Ms. Lisa Wead also was invaluable. Finally, we greatly appreciate the contributions of the psychiatry faculty, residents and staff who participated in this process and represented their department and our institution so well in this national search.
Dr. Findling will begin his appointment January 1, 2020. Please join us in welcoming him back home to our School of Medicine and to the VCU Health System.
By Lisa Fore-Arcand, EdD
Associate Professor and Education Coordinator
Faculty Advisor to the Psychiatry Club
October 4-5, 2019
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