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Speakers

Dennis S. Charney, MD

Dennis S. Charney, MD, is Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs for the Mount Sinai Health System. Charney is a world expert in the neurobiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, making fundamental contributions to the understanding of the causes of human anxiety, fear, and depression, and the discovery of new treatment for mood and anxiety disorders. His research on depression has led to discovery of new and novel therapies for treatment resistant depression including Ketamine and the first digital treatment for depression (EFMT). He has been honored with all of the major awards in his field for his scientific research, including World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds 2014 and 2015, Ranked 48 out of 1,360 of Most Highly Cited Life Science Researchers in the World. His discovery for Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression was named by Cleveland Clinic on its Top 10 list of 2017 Health Care Innovations. He holds 3 U.S. Patents, and 19 U.S. and Foreign Patent Applications, 10 of which are licensed to 2 companies. He has published 785 articles and book chapters, and 16 books, including Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, and Charney & Nestler’s Neurobiology of Mental Illness 5th Edition. Charney was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2000, and the National Academy of Inventors in 2017.

 

Derrick A. Hamaoka, MD

Col (Dr.) Derrick Hamaoka serves as the Assistant Chair, Medical Education, for the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Department of Psychiatry. Col Hamaoka is a graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine (1999) and the University of Texas Health Science Center Psychiatry Residency Program (2003). Prior to serving in his current position, he was the Associate Program Director, University of Texas Health San Antonio Psychiatry Residency Program, leading one of the largest programs in the nation and responsible for the majority of the active duty Air Force psychiatry pipeline. He holds the Air Force Medical Corps Academic Grand Master (ME) Special Experience Identifier (SEI). He also serves as the Defense Institute for Medical Operations director and subject matter expert for the Mental Health Services After Disasters & Combat course, providing support/education for recent missions to Iraq, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Colombia, Mexico, and Slovakia.

Anne Germain, PhD

Dr. Anne Germain is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and is Director of the University of Pittsburgh Sleep and Behavioral Neuroscience Center. She is Director of Military Sleep Tactics of Resilience Research Team. At the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Germain also holds secondary appointments in Psychology, and in Clinical and Translational Science.

Dr. Germain received a Bachelor of Science in psychology from McGill University in 1996, and completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Université de Montréal in 2001. She then pursued post-doctoral training in clinical sleep research and sleep neuroimaging at the University of Pittsburgh, and joined the Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry in 2005.

Dr. Germain’s research program has two main areas of interest. A first area of interest focuses on the neural underpinnings and effects of acute sleep loss and chronic sleep disturbances occurring in the context of stress-related psychiatric disorders, with a special emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in military populations. To do accomplish this, she uses multimodal sleep measurement methods including self-report measures, actigraphy and polysomnography, quantitative EEG, pharmacological probes, sleep neuroimaging techniques, as well as novel animal models. A second area of interest focuses on the development, adaptation, testing, and implementation of treatments targeting trauma-related sleep disturbances to enhance psychological resilience and to hasten recovery from trauma exposure.

Dr. Germain has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles, and recently co-edited a book entitled, Sleep and Combat-Related PTSD (Spinger, 2018). She is also the author of 25 book chapters and invited papers on insomnia, nightmares, treatments of sleep disorders, and sleep in the context of PTSD and other trauma-related disorders. Her h-index is 36. She has served on various committees of the Sleep Research Society and American Academy of Sleep Medicine. She currently serves on the Editorial Board of the journal Behavioral Sleep Medicine, and is a regular peer reviewer for specialized journals on sleep, trauma, and psychiatry. She has served and continues to serve on various study sections for the Department of Defense, the NIH, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.  

Jessica M. Gill, PhD, RN

Dr. Gill is a tenure track investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and co-director of the biomarkers core for the Center for Neurosciences and Regenerative Medicine, who is uniquely positioned to undertake this proposed project. Dr. Gill has an established clinical and laboratory infrastructure to examine the biological mechanisms of traumatic brain injury (TBI), and related comorbidities including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), post-concussive disorder (PCD), depression and neurological deficits.

Current projects include a project coordinated with Madigan Army Medical Center. Findings include alterations in tau and amyloid beta in acute and chronic TBI patients using the SIMOA system and alterations in sleep regulatory proteins and the activity of genes that regulate sleep in patients with brain injuries. Other collaborations include analyses of epigenetic modifications in athletes with repeated TBIs. Dr. Gill plans to use both the insights and infrastructure from current projects to initiate this novel project to address the critical issue of the molecular mechanisms of TBI-related symptoms in patients with repeated injuries, and the role of sleep in these biomarkers and patient outcomes. The project is expected to initiate a program of research that will identify novel interventions to treat TBI related impairments to address this critical issue in patients with TBIs.

James L. Griffith, MD

James L. Griffith, M.D. is the Leon M. Yochelson Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. As a psychiatric educator, Dr. Griffith has developed treatment methods that use cognitive and social science research to mobilize hope, strengthen resilience, and reduce stigmatization and social exclusion, reducing suffering and promoting mental health more effectively. Dr. Griffith has published extensively on family-centered treatment of psychosomatic disorders and chronic medical illnesses, including a book, The Body Speaks: Therapeutic Dialogues for Mind-Body Problems. His most recent book, Religion that Heals, Religion that Harms, addressed destructive uses of religion and ideology in clinical settings and received the Creative Scholarship Award from the Society for the Study of Psychiatry and Culture.

Dr. Griffith provides psychiatric care for immigrants, refugees, and survivors of political torture at Northern Virginia Family Services in Falls Church, VA. He has received the Human Rights Community Award from the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area and the Margaret B. and Cyril A. Schulman Distinguished Service Award from the George Washington University Medical Center, both for the training of mental health professionals and development of mental health services for survivors of political torture. He has received the Distinguished Teacher Award from the George Washington University School of Medicine and the 2003 Psychiatrist of the Year and 2014 Distinguished Service Award from the Washington Psychiatric Society. He was the 2017 recipient of the Oskar Pfister Award from the American Psychiatric Association for his contributions to the field of religion and psychiatry.

Irwin Lucki, PhD

Irwin Lucki, Ph.D. is Chair of the Department of Pharmacology & Molecular Therapeutics at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). Dr. Lucki received his Ph.D. (Biopsychology) from the University of Iowa in 1979. He conducted postdoctoral research in psychopharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1979-1982 before joining the faculty in 1984 as a researcher, an educator and Program Director of an NIMH predoctoral and postdoctoral training grant. He joined USUHS in 2016 as Professor of Pharmacology and Psychiatry.

The major focus of Dr. Lucki’s research is the investigation of neural mechanisms underlying the behavioral effects of psychiatric medications and translation to clinical development. His laboratory develops new therapeutic approaches for treating depression and anxiety disorders based on studies involving relevant animal models and neurochemistry. Dr. Lucki started his career by studying the behavioral and physiological functions of different serotonin receptors and their relationship to the effects of SSRIs, eventually directing an NIMH Program Project Grant. Dr. Lucki also directed an NIMH Center grant on drug discovery in collaboration with industry partners. His research led to the development of vilazodone as an FDA-approved clinical antidepressant. He is currently investigating opioid receptor antagonists and ketamine and its metabolites for the rapid treatment of depression and other disorders. He has also conducted clinical pharmacology research studies with psychiatric patients and normal volunteers. Dr. Lucki is author of over 180 peer-reviewed publications and 40 reviews. Among awards for his research, he received the Young Psychopharmacologist Award from the American Psychological Association (1984) and the Distinguished Investigator Award from NARSAD (2005). Dr. Lucki is a Principal Editor for Psychopharmacology, and on the Editorial Boards for Neuropsychopharmacology, Journal of Psychopharmacology and Neurobiology of Stress. Dr. Lucki is a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and the American Psychological Association (APA).

UrsanoRobert J. Ursano, MD

Dr. Ursano is Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. He is founding Director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress. In addition, Dr. Ursano is Editor of Psychiatry, the distinguished journal of interpersonal and biological processes, founded by Harry Stack Sullivan. Dr Ursano completed twenty years service in USAF medical corps and retired as Colonel in 1991. He was educated at the University of Notre Dame and Yale University School of Medicine and did his psychiatric training at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center and Yale University.

Dr. Ursano served as the Department of Defense representative to the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institutes of Mental Health and is a past member of the Veterans Affairs Mental Health Study Section and the National Institute of Mental Health Rapid Trauma and Disaster Grant Review Section. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists. Dr. Ursano was the first Chairman of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of Disaster. This work greatly aided the integration of psychiatry and public health in times of disaster and terrorism. Dr. Ursano was an invited participant to the White House Mental Health Conference in 1999. He has received the Department of Defense Humanitarian Service Award and the highest award of the International Traumatic Stress Society, The Lifetime Achievement Award, for “outstanding and fundamental contributions to understanding traumatic stress.” He is the recipient of the William C. Porter Award from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, the William Menninger Award of the American College of Physicians and the James Leonard Award of the Uniformed Services University. He is a frequent advisor on issues surrounding psychological response to trauma to the highest levels of the US Government and specifically to the Department of Defense leadership.

Dr. Ursano has served as a frequent member of the National Academies of Science, Institute of Medicine Committees and working groups including the Committee on Psychological Responses to Terrorism, Committee on PTSD, the Committee on Compensation for PTSD in Veterans and the Committee on Nuclear Preparedness; and the National Institute of Mental Health Task Force on Mental Health Surveillance After Terrorist Attack. In addition, he has served as a member of scientific advisory boards to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for disaster mental health and the Centers for Disease Control for preparedness and terrorism. Dr. Ursano is co-principal investigator of the largest NIMH grant ever given for the study of Suicide in the U.S. Army. In collaboration with his co-principal investigators at Harvard University, the University of Michigan and Columbia University the Army- STARRS grant will be the Framingham Study of suicidal behavior, and address a national as well as DoD mental health need. In 2014, Dr. Ursano and Dr. Matthew Friedman of the VA National Center for PTSD co-founded the Friedman-Leahy Brain Bank supported through Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is the first human brain bank dedicated to PTSD. This joint effort of many people was a 12 year project developing concepts, pilot data and support. Dr. Ursano has over 300 publications. He is co-author or editor of eight books.

 

Colonel Wendi Waits

Colonel Wendi Waits was born in Portland, Oregon, and calls Oregon and California home. She received her bachelor’s degree and commission from the United States Military Academy in 1994. She received her doctorate in medicine from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in 1998 and completed a psychiatry residency at the National Capital Consortium (NCC) in 2002.

Her military assignments have included the following: 2ID Division Psychiatrist, Camp Casey, Korea; Assistant Chief and subsequently Chief of Inpatient Psychiatry, Tripler Army Medical Center (TAMC), Honolulu, HI; Chief of Behavioral Health Services, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Director for Behavioral Health, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital (FBCH), Fort Belvoir, VA; and Chief of Adolescent Inpatient Behavioral Health, FBCH. COL Waits has served as the Director for Behavioral Health, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNNMC), since July 2018.

Colonel Waits deployed to Iraq in 2006, where she served as Fitness Section Leader, 1972nd Combat Operational Stress Control (COSC) detachment, and to Afghanistan in 2010, where she served as Clinical Operations (CLINOPS) OIC, 254th COSC detachment. She has supervised interns, residents, and other trainees as a member of the academic faculty at TAMC, Schofield Barracks, FBCH, and WRNNMC and has been an examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. COL Waits is a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at USUHS, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit, and a recipient of the MEDCOM “A” Designator.

Colonel Waits’ military education includes the AMEDD Officer Basic Course, the AMEDD Officer Advanced Course, and the Command and General Staff College Intermediate Level Education core course. Her awards and decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (1 award), Meritorious Service Medal (3 awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal (1 award), Army Commendation Medal (4 awards), Joint Service Achievement Medal (1 award), Army Achievement Medal (3 awards), National Defense Service Medal (1 service star), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon (5 awards), and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Medal. Her badges include the Air Assault Badge and the Army Physical Fitness Badge.

Christopher H. Warner, COL, MC, USA, FAPA, FAAFP

COL Warner is currently a Student and Class President at the National War College in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He completed his residency training in Family Practice and Psychiatry at Walter Reed Army Medical Center where he was named the General Graves B. Erskine Award winner. COL Warner has commanded Winn Army Community Hospital at Fort Stewart, Georgia and the 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas. He served as the Consultant to The US Army Surgeon General for Psychiatry from 2012 to 2018. COL Warner has deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he was noted for his efforts in pushing behavioral health care forward to maneuver units and was named a recipient of the 2006 Surgeon General’s Physician Recognition Award. COL Warner has published two books on military mental health and primary authored more than forty articles including recent entries in the American Journal of Psychiatry, the Annals of Psychiatry, and Lancet. His service and achievement have led to his selection to the Order of Military Medical Merit and the Army A Designator. Additionally, COL Warner is on the editorial board of Academic Psychiatry and the American College of Psychiatrists.