February 08, 2022 7:00 a.m.
Huntsman Mental Health Institute (HMHI) at the University of Utah was designated a Center of Excellence and a member of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), a consortium of leading academic medical centers working to accelerate research, education, and better treatment options for people with depressive and bipolar illnesses. HMHI joins 28 other institutions in the national nonprofit network.
“This is a great opportunity for HMHI to join a national collaborative effort to address depression and related mental health disorders,” he says. Mark H. Rapaport, MD, CEO at the HMHI. “Our acceptance into this cutting-edge group will allow us to work more closely with other institutions that share our passion and commitment to developing better prevention and treatment options for the world’s most disabling condition. By joining forces in this growing network of centers around country, we can bring our expertise to a collaborative effort and accelerate the pace to eradicate this disease.
Founded in 2008, NNDC works to harness the collective knowledge and resources of network members to accelerate scientific discovery and care for patients with mood disorders. Membership includes many of the nation’s leading medical institutions, and acceptance involves a rigorous application process detailing high levels of experience in clinical administration, research, and education.
“We are delighted to welcome HMHI to the NNDC,” said NNDC President J. Raymond DePaulo, MD. “His approach to integrating research, training, and treatment of mood disorders will add enormous strength to our growing collaborative network. We look forward to collaborating with his faculty who have done an excellent job and will bring unique opportunities to our national network.” Working together with talented professors at our other academic health centers, we can translate their insights to a nation that is sorely in need of mental health care and healing.”
HMHI, along with the broader University of Utah Health System, continues to expand the integration of research with clinical care and training. This integrated approach has been in place since 2016 when the University of Utah Health implemented universal depression screening in primary care and specialty clinics. The program was developed to address depression at a system level through better screening and follow-up to improve patient outcomes.
“Mood disorders can be devastating and occur at any time in a person’s life,” he says. Brian Mickey, PhD, MD, associate professor at HMHI. “Researchers at HMHI are conducting numerous studies to further our understanding of mood disorders through comprehensive brain imaging, as well as studying the genetics behind mood disorders and suicide. We are also working to develop new treatments for major depressive disorders and collecting the data needed to develop advances in personalized treatments for children, adolescents, and adults.”
Most outpatient care for mood disorders in the University of Utah Health System is treated in primary care clinics, and specialty care is provided in four HMHI Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinics. by HMHI Treatment Resistant Mood Disorder (TRMD) Clinic provides care to more than 500 patients a year. It has psychiatrists, nurses and support staff specially trained to manage difficult-to-treat bipolar and major depressive mood disorders. This referral-based clinic is the only one in Utah to provide a full range of evidence-based treatment options for mood disorders. Inpatient and outpatient therapies include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), and intravenous ketamine.
The TRMD clinic at HMHI has evolved from a very small service that began in the early 1990s run by one person and has grown each year. As new treatments for depression evolved, the TRMD clinic grew to add new treatments, clinical trials, and training opportunities. The clinic was recently expanded, allowing doctors and researchers to see twice as many patients and run multiple treatment rooms simultaneously.
HMHI is part of the world-renowned University of Utah Health System working to transform mental health care and fulfill its mission of promoting mental health awareness, hope and healing for all. HMHI provides ongoing services to patients throughout their lives, is a pioneering force in understanding the complex causes of psychiatric illness, and is dedicated to training the next generation of doctors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals. Exceptional mental health for the Mountain West.