Page 3 - Rush Progress Notes Winter 2019
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Progress Notes January 2019 Message from the Chairman
There is growing attention in the popular media as well as the scientific literature to the adverse effects of mental illness. Rates of suicide in this country have increased by 30 percent over the last few years, with over 45,000 people a year killing themselves. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals 10 to 34 years of age. An epidemic of opiate and other substance abuse affects millions, with rates of overdoses climbing to an all- time high. Studies demonstrate that about 25 percent of Americans suffer with a mental illness in any given year. Those with a serious mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than unaffected individuals — often due
to treatable medical conditions. In addition to the impact on the individual, untreated mental illness costs our economy over $300 billion a year in lost wages, health care expenditures and disability benefits.
Members of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences here at Rush University Medical Center have committed themselves to addressing
the mental health issues that affect so many individuals and their families, friends and communities. They are developing leading edge, innovative interventions to recognize, treat and prevent deleterious mental disorders and improve the lives of those affected. This issue of Progress Notes describes some of these extraordinary efforts.
We highlight the efforts of the Road Home Program: The Center for Veterans and Their Families at Rush. With a recent $45 million grant from the Wounded Warrior Project, the Road Home Program will continue to expand its groundbreaking efforts to treat PTSD and related conditions that have afflicted so many of our returning veterans and their families.
We also spotlight the work of our Autism Assessment, Research, Treatment and Services Center (AARTS). AARTS focuses on the research and treatment of autistic individuals across their lifespan from childhood into adulthood — and is exploring novel pharmacologic and behavioral strategies to improve the lives of their patients. Investigators in the AARTS program are utilizing recent advances in technology to improve diagnosis and effectively disseminate leading edge treatment to patients and their families.
Addressing the mental health needs of the underserved is a core mission of our department. Dr. Niranjan Karnik and colleagues are leading Rush’s
efforts 0n Chicago’s West Side to address the behavioral health needs of
this community so profoundly affected by mental health problems related
to trauma, depression and substance abuse. He is partnering with local community groups to train and support lay individuals to provide greater on- site access for mental health services.
The substance abuse crisis has spurred increased efforts to combat this often deadly affliction. Researchers and clinicians at Rush are working together to increase the early recognition and treatment of those affected by substance abuse disorders and to educate trainees, practitioners and patients to more effectively address this critical problem. Dr. John Burns is studying the management of chronic pain with the goal of developing effective alternatives to the opiates that can lead to difficulties with long-term use.
With the aging of the population, the need for clinicians with the necessary skills to address the particular mental health needs of the elderly is critical. Clinical researchers and educators at Rush are leading efforts to address this critical public health need. Through work in the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program, they are developing strategies to ensure that health care workers, caregivers and the elderly themselves are well-positioned to address the unique needs of the geriatric population.
I hope you enjoy this edition of Progress Notes featuring some of the latest work coming out of our department. We welcome your feedback and comments.
Mark Pollack, MD, Grainger Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Rush University Medical Center
Chairman’s Message
The Road Home Program: Treatment for the Invisible Wounds of War
Advancing Autism Care
Creating a New Model of Mental Health Care on Chicago’s West Side
Tackling Substance Use Disorders
Addressing the Health Care Needs of a Growing Older Adult Population

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