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Psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience professor and chair Stephen Strakowski, MD

Psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience professor and chair Stephen Strakowski, MD
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Publish Date: 11/20/09
Media Contact: Jennifer Pierson, 513-536-0316
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Senators Introduce Legislation to Fight Depression Nationwide

CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) Department of Psychiatry, at both its Lindner Center of HOPE and Clifton campuses, is a nationally recognized center for the research and treatment of depression and bipolar disorder that could benefit from the bipartisan ENHANCED Act to establish national centers of excellence for the treatment of these conditions.


The UC Department of Psychiatry, with specific recognition of the Lindner Center of HOPE component, is a charter member of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC) and hopes to compete for federal support made available by the legislation proposed by United States Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), with co-sponsors George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.).


The “centers of excellence” supported through the ENHANCED Act (S. 1857) will create a national network to improve research, diagnosis, treatment and care for those suffering from depressive disorders. In the U.S. nearly 21 million suffer from depression (14.8 million), bipolar illness (5.7 million) or other mood disorders each year, with an estimated economic burden of $83.1 billion each year. In the state of Ohio alone, approximately 790,000 citizens are affected, at a cost of over $3.1 billion annually.


The UC Department of Psychiatry is working to address the local and national impact of depression, bipolar illness and associated mood disorders along with 15 other eminent academic medical centers including those at the University of Michigan, Stanford, Harvard, Duke, Emory, Columbia and Cornell that are a part of the NNDC. The centers have come together to engage in translational research, standardize diagnoses, treat earlier and more effectively and prevent recurrences of depression and bipolar disorders, as well as to eradicate the stigma associated with these disorders. They applaud the introduction of the ENHANCED Act, which seeks to establish the first federally funded national network of health centers specializing in treatment for depression, bipolar illness and associated mood disorders.


“The UC Department of Psychiatry has led advances in understanding the causes of mood disorders through brain imaging as well as helping develop new treatments,” says Stephen Strakowski, MD, chairman of the psychiatry department and director of the UC College of Medicine’s Center for Imaging Research and the Brain Imaging Center at the Lindner Center of HOPE.


At its Clifton campus, UC’s psychiatry department provides care and research through UC Health University of Cincinnati Physicians, the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Central Clinic and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

“Depression and bipolar disorder constitute two of the top 10 major public health problems in the United States, with depression being number one,” says Paul Keck Jr., MD, executive vice chair of the psychiatry department and president and CEO of the Lindner Center of HOPE. “There has never been a network established in the U.S. to address major psychiatric illnesses in a coordinated fashion. Such a network is essential to support clinical care, expert consultation, and research advances.”


UC’s psychiatry department has more than 20 ongoing studies of bipolar disorder and depression at both the Clifton and Lindner Center of HOPE campuses. It operates two high field MRI systems, one at each location. The integration across these sites enables the sharing of best practices and findings, increased accessibility for patients, more rapid results and a powerful impact on the field of mental health through advancements in:

o    Pinpointing problems in the brain

o    Illness management

o    Improved imaging techniques

o    Genetic linkage

o    Early detection and prevention


“Taking this concept to a national level with federal support could generate the advances needed to save lives and improve the quality of life for the millions of Americans suffering with depression and bipolar disorder,” Keck says.


“The ENHANCED Act is a historic opportunity for the United States to directly recognize the enormous impact of mood disorders on the lives of its citizens,” adds Strakowski. “We are grateful for the bipartisan support of Senators Brown and Voinovich for this act. Their participation is truly a credit to Ohio.”

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