Research is an integral part of the mission of the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology’s. The department is committed to developing research initiatives that will advance the development of new knowledge within our disciplines and synergistically across other disciplines. Members of the department also serve as collaborators on major institutional research initiatives focused on studies of psychogenomics, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety, addictions, cancer prevention, obesity, traumatic brain disorder, and sleep disorders.
Departmental clinical investigators provide state of the art clinical care in well designed inpatient and outpatient settings. More than 35,000 patients representing virtually all psychiatric diagnoses are evaluated and treated at Mayo Clinic Rochester each year. Our Department is particularly dedicated to conducting research that moves the science of medicine forward to improve the care of our patients. Our expectation is that outstanding research will contribute in a significant way to new discoveries that will reduce the burden of illness on patients and their caregivers.
Given the increasing capability of the Genomic Research Center at the Mayo Clinic, generally informed protocols involving the major psychiatric illnesses are currently underway. The research groups within our department are studying the patients that we treat and these studies enhance the quality of our clinical practice. Over the past five years, the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology has developed a series of interlocking clinical research teams that are working together to address how genomic investigations can redefine our understanding of traditional psychiatric conditions. The overarching research strategy is to join together as teams of health care professionals who are dedicated to addressing questions related to how genetic variation leads to psychiatric illness.
In 2004, a commitment was made of $12 million over five years from the Samuel C. Johnson family. The funds have established a landmark research program in the genomics of addiction, with the long-term goals of predicting and preventing alcoholism and other chemical dependencies. Mayo Clinic has provided an additional commitment of $7 million to this program. The Johnson program is now established and growing.
It is our goal to continue to expand the research infrastructure within the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology. We have already implemented a foundation wide Departmental Research Committee, with representation from Mayo Clinic Rochester, Mayo Clinic Jacksonville and Mayo Clinic Scottsdale.
A top strategic priority of our Department for 2006 is to develop and pilot test a comprehensive psychiatric assessment center. This assessment center will allow us to implement more systematic methodologies for the diagnostic evaluation of all patients. It is our vision that providing new opportunities for our patients to participate in cutting-edge research will ultimately enhance our clinical practice and their clinical outcomes.
We have a strong commitment to research education and mentorship. In 2005, many of our faculty and their trainees, who included medical school students, residents and fellows, presented their research at national meetings. Mentors and their trainees also co-authored scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and scholarly book chapters. Many of these early career investigators have been successful in obtaining NIH and other extramural funding.
We now have the new tools to help us to understand the basis of psychiatric illness. Through this understanding, we hope to be able to effectively develop new and more effective treatments. This progress will help psychiatric, medical, and surgical patients to better manage their health behaviors and improve their quality of life.
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