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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Neuropsychiatry Programs

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General Neuropsychiatry Section

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The General Neuropsychiatry Section includes the General Neuropsychiatry Program, the Behavioral Neuroscience Program, and the Interventional Neuropsychiatry Program

Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Presidential Chair in Neuropsychiatry

Behavioral Neurology & Neuropsychiatry Fellowship: In partnership with the Baylor Department of Neurology, Dr. Arciniegas successfully redeveloped the curriculum for the BNNP fellowship program. During Academic Year (AY) 2012, he and Ms. Garcia crafted a new program application, which was approved by the Baylor's Dean’s Residency Manpower Advisory Committee and the Texas Medical Board. Dr. Arciniegas serves as the program director, and is secondarily appointed in the Baylor Department of Neurology, which administratively coordinates the fellowship in partnership with the division.

The program received national accreditation by the UCNS during the fall of 2013, enabling recruitment of PGY-V fellows into this program. Two competitive application seasons, with applications from internal and external candidates, led to the appointment of BNNP fellows in AY2014 (Joshua Rodgers, M.D., now a division faculty member based at The Menninger Clinic), AY2015 (Melissa Jones, M.D., now a division faculty member based at the MEDVAMC MIRECC), and AY2016 (Amy Corcoran, M.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago).

Visiting Neuropsychiatry Postdoctoral Fellowship: In partnership with Sapienza University of Rome and Psychiatry Department, School of Medicine and Psychology, Sant’Andrea Hospital, Sapienza University (Rome-Italy), Drs. Arciniegas and Jorge established a research training program for psychiatry residents interested in learning the principles and practice of neuropsychiatric research. These J-1 visa credentialed residents are funded fully by their home institution for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship experience. The division provides administrative support and coordination of this program and Baylor-based mentoring provided by Drs. Jorge and Arciniegas.

This program began in late AY2014, and has supported two visiting neuropsychiatry postdoctoral fellows: Elisa Ambrosi, M.D., presently embedded with the McNair Initiative for Neuroscience Discovery at Menninger and Baylor (MIND-MB) research team at The Menninger Clinic and collaborating with Dr. Arciniegas on data analysis and interpretation; and Alessio Simonetti, M.D., presently embedded with the Baylor Mood Disorders Program and the laboratory of Alan Swann, M.D., and collaborating with Dr. Arciniegas on his work in that context.

Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in Behavioral Neuroscience

Dec. 1, 2015, Lea Steele, Ph.D. began her appointment as the Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in Behavioral Neuroscience and Professor of Psychiatry based in the division. Dr. Steele comes to Baylor from her position as director of the Veterans Health Research Program and Research Professor of Biomedical Studies at the Institute of Biomedical Studies at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Dr. Steele is a neuroepidemiologist and one of the world’s leading expert on the long-term health consequences of military service in the 1991 Gulf War – especially Gulf War Illness, the case definition for which derives from her seminal work in this area. As such, her interests are directly aligned with those of our division’s anonymous donor, who directed the division to attend to the neuropsychiatric aspects of neurological and psychiatric conditions experienced by military service members and veterans. Her research enterprise under development within the division is expected to include recruitment of additional grant-supported senior and junior faculty, to support the hiring of additional research assistants/coordinators, and to enable the training of one or more graduate students in neuroepidemiology and/or neuroscience.

Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in Interventional Neuropsychiatry

The ongoing development of this program focuses on Interventional Neuropsychiatry, an area that encompasses clinically relevant neuromodulatory technologies such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation, Deep Brain Stimulation and/or Electroconvulsive Therapy. The Interventional Neuropsychiatry Program will provide opportunities to apply neuromodulatory technologies to the study and treatment of a broad range of neuropsychiatric conditions including mood and anxiety disorders, neurocognitive disorders, aphasias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome, and movement disorders.

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Trauma Neuropsychiatry Section

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The Trauma Neuropsychiatry Section includes the Brain Injury Medicine Program and the Traumatic Stress Neuropsychiatry Program.

Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in Brain Injury Medicine

David Arciniegas, M.D., was appointed the Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in Brain Injury Medicine in the fall of 2012. This program partnered the resources of the division with the longstanding and highly effective clinical and research infrastructure of the Brain Injury Research Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann, where Dr. Arciniegas serves as a senior scientist and medical director for brain injury research.

Baylor-TIRR Brain Injury Research Program: Dr. Arciniegas collaborated with Mark Sherer, Ph.D., (TIRR Memorial Hermann) and Angelle Sander, Ph.D. (Baylor Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation) on a grant to NIDILRR (previously NIDRR) to support the Texas TBI Model System of TIRR. This $2.2 million grant was awarded shortly after Dr. Arciniegas began his work in the division and at TIRR Memorial Hermann, and set the stage for his writing a collaborative research grant to NIDILRR in support of a multicenter clinical trial of a medicine (donepezil) for persistent memory problems experienced by persons with TBI. This $3,000,000 grant, on which Dr. Arciniegas is the national principal investigator, was awarded in the fall of 2013, and is the principal focus of Dr. Arciniegas’ TBI research. He also is principal investigator on several internally funded projects to study clinical predictors of brain injury rehabilitation outcomes, predictors of posttraumatic epilepsy, and predictors of treatment response in persons with severe TBI.

MEDVAMC Brain Injury Research Program: Dr. Ricardo Jorge served as the medical director and principal investigator of the MEDVAMC TBI Center of Excellence (CoE). In 2013/2014, Dr. Jorge transitioned the MEDVAMC TBI CoE into the Boston VA-based national research network, the Translational Research Center on TBI and Stress Related Disorders. Through his exceptional efforts, Dr. Jorge established the MEDVAMC as a TRACTS network site. Dr. Arciniegas also collaborated with Dr. Jorge to facilitate establishing the MEDVAMC as a site for the VA-based multicenter clinical trial evaluating a medication (transdermal rivastigmine) for persistent memory impairments in veterans with TBI. This effort was successful and established Dr. Jorge as the site Principal Investigator for this clinical trial at the MEDVAMC. Dr. Jorge has subsequently garnered additional grant resources from the VA/DoD Chronic Effects of Neurotrauma Consortium to examine the frequency of growth hormone deficiency in veterans with mild TBI and to explore the extent to which GHD is associated with anxiety, depression, fatigue and overall quality of life in this population.

Amidst his research endeavors at the MEDVAMC, Dr. Jorge also has developed a neuropsychiatry clinic in which he provided evaluation and treatment to veterans with TBI and other neuropsychiatric conditions. He serves as an attending for the division’s BNNP fellow in this clinic, and has partnered with Sharyl Martini, M.D. to develop the MEDVAMC Cognitive Disorders Clinic (in which fellows also rotate) as a collaborative enterprise between that facility’s psychiatry and neurology care lines.

Baylor-TIRR Rehabilitation Neuropsychiatry Program: Dr. Arciniegas developed an inpatient BNNP consultation service at TIRR Memorial Hermann. This service partners with the inpatient brain injury and stroke programs at TIRR Memorial Hermann to provide collaborative care of persons with acquired brain injuries receiving inpatient rehabilitation. This service has become the principal training site for the division’s BNNP fellows, and is the division’s primary clinical revenue generator.

Dr. Joanne Byars joined the division in January 2015 and serves as an embedded BNNP consultation physician with two inpatient rehabilitation teams and provides ‘as needed’ consultations elsewhere in TIRR Memorial Hermann. Her work is complemented by that of the division’s BNNP fellow and rotation psychiatry or neurology residents, for whom Dr. Byars serves as the primary attending at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky Chair in the Neuropsychiatry of Military Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (a.k.a., ‘Traumatic Stress Neuropsychiatry’)

Deborah Little, Ph.D., began her appointment as the Beth K. and Stuart C. Yudofsky chair in the Neuropsychiatry of Military Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and as professor of psychiatry April 25, 2016. Dr. Little is a distinguished neuroscientist and a nationally recognized expert in research focused on the long-term effects of trauma on the brain, particularly in military and veteran populations. She served previously as the director of the Section on Veterans Biomedical Research and director of research for both the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Texas A&M Health Sciences and Scott & White Healthcare. Dr. Little’s distinguished career includes extensive work with both the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in developing scientific programs to address neuropsychiatric wounds affecting military personnel after serving in a war zone. Her research has spanned a broad range of areas including development and validation of high field neuroimaging techniques for diagnosis of war-related neurological injuries and illnesses and as prognostic tools for predicting outcomes. Her work in these areas offers remarkable promise of providing insights into the shared and distinct neurobiologies of combat-related PTSD and TBI that will improve the evaluation care of our nation’s military service members, veterans, and civilians with these conditions.