Click here to read the current edition of BHNews, an employee newsletter for Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living, Natchaug Hospital, Rushford and the behavioral health departments at Backus, MidState & HOCC.

December 2014:

Memory Disorders/Braceland Center for Mental Health & Aging News

Karen Blank, M.D., Medical Director, Memory Disorders Center; Director, Braceland Center for Mental Health and Aging was recently published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. The title of her article is Geriatric Anxiety Inventory: Factor Structure and Associations with Cognitive Status. And on December 17, 2014, Dr. Blank will be a speaker at  the Dinner with a Doc series held at Hebrew HealthCare in West Hartford. The name of the presentation is "Prevention and Delay of Cognitive Decline and Dementia: What we know and new research directions".

The Family Resource Center presents "The Truth about ECT and TMS"

On December 16, 2014, the IOL's Family Resource Center will present a lecture titled "The Truth about ECT and TMS". Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a safe and commonly used procedure that effectively treats depression, mania, catatonia and some types of psychosis. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a non-invasive treatment for patients who have not benefited from the use of anti-depressant medications. This information session will answer questions and concerns about these often misunderstood treatments. Click here for the flyer providing more information, including time and location.

IOL announces outpatient program for returning college students diagnosed with depression or anxiety

Starting the week of December 15th, the IOL will hold a four-to-five week intensive outpatient program specifically for young adults returning to the area from college who have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety. “The goal of this program is to give students the tools they need to manage the college experience and increase their opportunities for success,” said David Vaughan, LCSW, the IOL’s Program Manager for Young Adult Services. The program includes two or three days in the IOL’s Young Adult Services Intensive Outpatient program, with a fourth day focused on college-specific issues, including:

  • Planning and organization skills
  • Daily living skills – diet, sleep, exercise, relaxation, etc.
  • Socialization
  • Cognitive and behavioral techniques
  • Stress management

For more information on this program, or to make an appointment for an assessment, please contact the IOL’s Assessment Center, available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, at 860-545-7200 or toll-free at 800-673-2411.

Dr. Schwartz makes media appearances regarding new Sandy Hook report

On December 4, 2014, IOL Psychiatrist-In-Chief Harold I. Schwartz, MD, appeared on WNPR’s “Where We Live” radio program discussing the recently released Child Advocate’s Report on the tragedy at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Dr. Schwartz is a co-author of the report and was joined on the program by Connecticut’s Child Advocate Sarah Egan and other report co-authors. Please click here to listen to the program. Dr. Schwartz also authored the final paragraph of a New York Times editorial addressing the report’s contents. Click here to read the editorial.

November 2014:

Ellen Blair and colleagues present at Geriatric Nursing Conference

On November 21, 2014, Ellen Blair APRN, NEA-BC, Jessica Leroux RN, MSN and Christine Waszynski, APRN presented at the annual statewide Geriatric Nursing Conference, “Challenges in Care of Complex Geriatric Patients Across the Continuum" held in Prospect, CT. The name of their presentation was "Reducing Continuous Observers in a Safe and Effective Way”.

IOL leadership attends Ivy League meeting

The IOL’s leadership team of Psychiatrist-in-Chief Harold Schwartz, M.D., Medical Director Linda Durst, M.D., Nursing Director Ellen Blair, APRN, and Operational Vice President Annetta Caplinger were in attendance at the most recent meeting of the Ivy League of Psychiatric Hospitals, held in New York on November 13th and 14th. This meeting has taken place in one form or another for approximately 150 years and is held each spring and fall to discuss issues facing mental health care today. The highlight of this meeting was a presentation by Harold Pincus, M.D., entitled “Behavioral Health and Delivery System Reform: Drowning in the Mainstream of Left on the Banks.” Dr. Pincus is Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, and Director of Quality and Outcomes Research at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. In addition to the IOL, other venerable institutions taking part in this meeting included McLean, Sheppard Pratt, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Brattleboro Retreat, Butler Hospital, and the Scattergood Foundation.

Dr. Daniel Weinberger receives IOL’s prestigious Burlingame Award

The annual Burlingame Award was presented to Daniel R. Weinberger, M.D., Director and CEO of the Lieber Institute for Brain Development at an awards dinner on Wednesday, November 5th, at the Hartford Golf Club. Dr. Weinberger is regarded worldwide as a preeminent scientist in schizophrenia research, having been at the forefront of scientific investigation of this illness and related disorders for a generation. He was instrumental in focusing research on the role of abnormal brain development as a risk factor for schizophrenia, and his lab was responsible for identifying the first specific genetic mechanism of risk for schizophrenia, as well as the first genetic effects that account for variation in specific human cognitive functions and in human temperament. The following day, Dr. Weinberger presented The C. Charles Burlingame, M.D. Award Lecture entitled, “Epistasis in Psychiatric Enetics: What’s Missing is Not Heritability,” at The Institute of Living and hosted a resident case conference and luncheon with teaching faculty. During his lecture, Dr. Weinberger highlighted advances in the study of genetics and mental illness, and gave insight into the future of research and treatment.

Dr. Kim Brownell promotes ACCESS-Mental Health CT on television

Kim Brownell, M.D., Medical Director of the IOL hub of ACCESS-Mental Health Connecticut recently appeared on NBC Connecticut to promote the program. Click here to view the clip. The ACCESS-Mental Health Connecticut program provides consultative psychiatry services to primary care physicians treating children and adolescents in Connecticut.

Entries for the 2015 BrainDance Awards now being accepted

The IOL is sponsoring the 12th Annual BrainDance Awards. This mixed media and arts competition encourages high school students to gain knowledge about psychiatric diseases and develop a more tolerant and realistic perspective toward people with severe psychiatric problems. The competition also aims to promote students’ interest in careers in mental health care. The projects will be judged by expert clinicians and researchers in the field, based on:

  • Relevance to the issue of stigma
  • Creativity
  • Accuracy of information
  • Scientific rigor

Projects on any theme related to severe mental illness will be considered for an award. The categories are: Scientific, Creative Expression (written or visual), and Mixed Media. To apply for the awards, please log on to: www.nrc-iol.org and follow the link to BrainDance for application forms, information and procedures. The submission deadline is Sunday, February 1, 2015. The award ceremony is scheduled to take place on Thursday April 23, 2015. For more information, please contact Nancy Hubbard at 860-545-7665 or email her at nancy.hubbard@hhchealth.org.

October 2014:

The IOL celebrates the opening of the renovated Braceland lobby

The IOL celebrated the renovation of the Braceland building’s lobby with a ribbon cutting and tree planting ceremony on October 28, 2014. About 40 people were in attendance for the early afternoon event marking the official opening of the Braceland lobby. In addition, the event marked the dedication of a newly planted weeping cherry tree in front of the building, to the memory of James “Dr. Jim” Black, M.D., an esteemed and beloved IOL child psychiatrist who died in 2013.

David F. Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP honored with a lifetime achievement award

Dr. David Tolin, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center/Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy at The Institute of Living, received the 2014 Award for Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology from the Connecticut Psychological Association.

Salma Malik, MD, MS, DFAACAP nominated as a Distinguished Fellow of AACAP

This month, Dr. Salma Malik, Associate Training Director for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the IOL, was nominated as a Distinguished Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP). Attaining Fellowship status of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is a hallmark of excellence in the professional career. This membership category is reserved for members who perform far beyond adequacy and maintain a level of preeminence.

The IOL welcomes three new attendings to the medical staff in Psychiatry

Three new attendings from the IOL Residency Program have joined the medical staff in Psychiatry. Dr. Mohit Manandhar has assumed the position as program psychiatrist in the Professionals’ Day Treatment Program. Dr. John Bonetti has returned to the IOL after completing a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at Yale and is serving as an attending on the adult inpatient service. Finally, Dr. Kate Woods is serving in a combination of capacities, on the geriatric inpatient, ECT and emergency department services.

Karen Blank, M.D. was recently interviewed by NBC Connecticut News

On Monday, October 20, 2014, Dr. Karen Blank, Medical Director, Memory Disorders Center, Director, Braceland Center for Mental Health and Aging was interviewed on NBC Connecticut News. Dr. Blank was interviewed for a news story on her research regarding dementia prevention and metabolic syndrome.

Ellen W. Blair, APRN, NEA-BC presented two posters on October 3rd

Ellen Blair, Director of Nursing at the IOL, had two poster presentations at the Eighteenth Annual Nursing Research & Evidence-Based Practice Conference held at Hartford Hospital on October 3, 2014. The titles of these poster presentations are listed below.

  • Action Research: Testing Interventions to Prevent Violence in Inpatient Psychiatric Settings
  • Evidence of the Success of Interventions to Prevent Violence and Reduce Use of Seclusion and Restraint in an Inpatient Psychiatric Setting

September 2014:

Family Resource Center and ACCESS-Mental Health Connecticut Open House on September 24th

On Wednesday, September 24th, from 4PM-6:30PM the IOL's Family Resource Center and ACCESS-Mental Health Connecticut are hosting an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony. Visitors are welcome to come meet the staff, see the FRC's new space, and to learn more about the newly implemented ACCESS-Mental Health Connecticut Program designed to connect child psychiatry and pediatricians throughout the state. R.S.V.P. by September 10th to PatriciaC.Graham@hhchealth.org

The IOL to host "Cracked, Not Broken: A Suicide Survivor’s Experience" on September 23rd

The Institute of Living is hosting a free, educational seminar on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 from 6:30PM-8:30PM. This interactive event features Kevin Hines, author of "Cracked Not Broken: Surviving and Thriving After a Suicide Attempt." Hines will share his experience and insights battling mental illness, including the day he jumped from San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge - and survived. Registration is required, click here for more information.

The IOL recognizes World Suicide Prevention Day, September 10th

On Wednesday, September 10, 2014 in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day, there will be a flag lowering ceremony at 7:30AM in front of Hartford Hospital in remembrance of those who have lost their lives to suicide. Also in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, The Institute of Living is hosting a free educational seminar on preventing suicide among the senior population. The conference titled, Suicide Prevention in Older Adults will be held on September 10th from 8AM-11:30AM. Registration is required, click here for more information.

August 2014:

Stop the Stigma campaign reaches 10,000 pledges

After eight months of raising awareness of mental illness and breaking down barriers to treatment, the Stop the Stigma campaign reached its goal of 10,000 pledges on Thursday, August 14, 2014. In honor of this major milestone, the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network awarded Jennifer Nolan, a nurse clinician who submitted the 10,000th pledge through the Stop the Stigma Facebook page, with an iPad Mini. The Stop the Stigma pledge, which began as part of a campaign for Hartford Hospital’s annual Black & Red fundraising event for The Institute of Living, asked people to change the way they talk about and view mental illness. The initial goal of 5,000 pledges was reached by January 24, 2014, the date of the Black & Red Gala, and Hartford Hospital president Dr. Stuart Markowitz challenged the community to reach 10,000 signatures by the end of 2014. “The community support and response to the Stop the Stigma campaign has been tremendous,” said Dr. Hank Schwartz, Regional Vice President for Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health and IOL Psychiatrist-In-Chief. “We hope the awareness and conversation that has started will break down some of the barriers that keep people from seeking treatment. That is what this campaign is all about,” Dr. Schwartz said. For more information on the Stop the Stigma campaign, visit and like the new Stop the Stigma Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stopthestigmact.

The IOL holds Back to School Resource Fair

On August 6, 2014, The Institute of Living Child & Adolescent Services, along with the collaboration of the Family Resource Center and the Assessment Center, hosted their first Back to School Resource Fair. The event provided families in the greater Hartford community access to resources and health information for the upcoming school year. The Resource Fair featured 17 agencies in the greater Hartford area that provide a range of education, advocacy, medical, and mental health services. The children and their families enjoyed a puppet show on exercise and nutrition presented by the Hispanic Health Council. The Hartford Public Library offered their mobile library which distributed library cards on site and provided the opportunity to check out books. Information was available regarding resources and programs offered in various library branches throughout the greater Hartford area. Thanks to the generosity of employees across the Hartford HealthCare network who donated to the IOL’s Assessment Center Backpack and School Supplies Drive, over 100 backpacks containing various school supplies were distributed to the families who attended the Resource Fair.

July 2014:

The Family Resource Center's Patty Graham accepts new role

Patricia C. (Patty) Graham, has accepted the role of the Coordinator of Mental Health First Aid and the National Dialogue on Mental Health for the Behavioral Health Network. In this role, Patty will maintain and expand efforts to ensure adequate resources for MHFA training, and will continue HHC efforts to extend the community dialogue that developed after the Sandy Hook tragedy. Patty graduated from St. Joseph College in 2011 with a BA in Psychology and has earned credits towards her master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She has been a case worker at the IOL's Family Resource Center since January 2013, and she will continue in this role while adding the coordination activities for the BHN. As a case worker, she has planned, coordinated, and implemented lectures, support groups, and other events for the community. Patty is trained in both the adult and youth versions of MHFA, has organized the MHFA offerings at the IOL, and has taught eight courses herself. As part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, she has given several presentations to parents, teachers, and other members of the community.

Ellen Blair, Director of Nursing at the IOL, was recently interviewed on WNPR

On Wednesday, July 9th, Ellen Blair, APRN, NEA-BC, did a radio interview with WNPR News. The topic was "Connecticut Hospitals Responding to Psychiatric Restraint Numbers" Click here to read the news story.

June 2014:

Ellen Blair selected to receive prestigious award from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association

Ellen W. Blair, APRN, NEA-BC, Director of Nursing at the IOL, was recently informed she has received the 2014 American Psychiatric Nurses Association APRN Excellence in Practice Award. Ellen has been invited to their annual conference next October to receive this award. This award recognizes an APRN-PMH member who has made significant contributions to psychiatric mental health nursing practice though practice and research.

Research Society on Alcoholism Presentations

IOL researchers will make two presentations at the 37th Annual Research Society on Alcoholism Scientific Meeting. The meeting will take place in Bellevue, Washington from June 21-25, 2014. The titles of these presentations are listed below.

  • S. Khadka, A. Dager, G. Book, S. Meda, S. Leen, F. Aslanzadeh, H. Tennen, CS. Austad, RM Wood, S. Raskin, C. Fallahi, GD. Pearlson.  24-Month Longitudinal Hippocampal Volume Change Due to Alcohol Use in College Students: A BARCS Study
  • A.D. Dager, B. Anderson, R. Rosen, S. Leen, S. Raskin, C.S. Austad, R.M. Wood, C. Fallahi, H. Tennen, G.D. Pearlson.  A Longitudinal Study Demonstrating Change in Drinking Patterns is Associated with Change in Neural Response to Alcohol Pictures Among College Students

Alfred Herzog, MD to discuss his book, "Bombs, Bees and Apple Trees" on June 11th

Dr. Al Herzog, Hartford Hospital’s first Vice President, Medical Affairs, and currently the Medical Director of  the IOL Professional Programs, has penned a memoir which explores the development of his life – beginning during the tumultuous time of WW II in Germany. Dr. Herzog has been invited to share his story, “Bombs, Bees and Apple Trees” at The Hartford Medical Society’s lecture and dinner event on Wednesday, June 11 2014. Click here for more information and for a registration form.

The IOL's Awards and Recognition Day Ceremony was held on June 10th

The Institute of Living held its annual Awards and Recognition Day ceremony on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, recognizing the accomplishments and dedication of many care givers at the IOL. Click here for the list of award recipients, including a description of the awards they received.

Linda S. Durst, MD begins her new duties as Medical Director of the IOL on June 3rd

"Dr. Durst is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with extensive clinical, teaching and administrative experience, a mix of skills that make her the right person to take on the responsibilities as IOL Medical Director,” said Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, IOL Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Vice President of the HHC BHN. “We welcome her to Connecticut and to the IOL knowing that her leadership, her clinical expertise and her health care management skills will greatly benefit the patients the IOL serves and the community at large.” Dr. Durst comes to the IOL from the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, where she was Chief Medical Officer. At the same time, she served as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine. She has worked in all levels of behavioral health care, including inpatient, outpatient, partial hospital, intensive outpatient, residential and nursing home, achieving expertise in the treatment of behavioral dyscontrol in intellectually disabled adults as well as grief therapy. Originally from Pennsylvania, Dr. Durst attended college at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State College of Medicine. She completed her internship at Pennsylvania Hospital and residency at The Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, devoting most of her final year of residency to specialty training in Geriatric Psychiatry. She has worked as both an administrator and clinical teacher, serving as a medical director of both inpatient and outpatient programs and teaching medical students and residents from the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Jefferson Medical College, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy. Dr. Durst has received awards for writing, teaching and clinical skill and has been recognized as a Best Doctor in America since 2009.

The Anxiety Disorders Center News

Dr. David Tolin, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at the IOL, was promoted to the rank of Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Gretchen Diefenbach was featured in a news story on WTNH on transcranial magnetic stimulation for anxiety. Click on the link below to view the story.


May 2014:

Hartford HealthCare Research News - May/June 2014 Issue

Click here to read the May/June issue of Hartford HealthCare Research News, the Research Program's monthly newsletter.

The Annie Goodrich Distinguished Nurse Lectureship Award presented to Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess

On May 8, 2014, Dr. Ann Wolbert Burgess was recognized with the Annie Goodrich Distinguished Nurse Lectureship Award. Dr. Burgess, professor of Psychiatric Nursing at Boston College, is an internationally recognized pioneer in the assessment and treatment of victims of trauma and abuse. Her work in forensics, victimology, and trauma began back in the 1970s when she co-founded one of the first hospital-based crisis counseling programs for rape victims. She co-wrote a groundbreaking article that ushered the phrase “rape trauma syndrome” into both medical and legal lexicons. Her research and books cover topics such as serial killers and rapists, kidnapping, sexual victimization and exploitation of children, cyber crimes, sexual abuse and elder abuse. She has worked extensively with the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, training special agents and developing criminal profiles. Dr. Burgess was selected because she exemplifies the values of Annie Goodrich: excellence in scholarship, teaching, and in advancing psychiatric nursing practice. She was honored with a plaque and a reception after her Grand Rounds presentation, which was titled, “Rape Trauma through the Life Cycle.”

Society of Biological Psychiatry Presentations

IOL researchers made five presentations at the 69th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society of Biological Psychiatry. The meeting took place at the Hilton New York Midtown in New York, New York, from May 8-10, 2014. Click here to view the titles and dates of these presentations.

APA Presentations

IOL researchers made eleven presentations at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. The meeting took place at the Javits Center in New York, New York, from May 3-7, 2014. Click here to view the titles and dates of these presentations.


April 2014:

IOL announces the winners of the 2014 BrainDance Awards

Fourteen students and a teacher from schools across Connecticut were honored at The Institute of Living's 11th Annual BrainDance Awards on Thursday, April 22, 2014. BrainDance is a state-wide high school academic, artistic, and mixed media competition that encourages high school students to learn about psychiatric diseases and develop a more tolerant and realistic perspective toward people with severe psychiatric problems. The competition also aims to promote students’ interest in careers in mental health care. More than 200 teachers and students submitted academic, art, and mixed media projects for this year’s competition.
Those honored were:

  • Overall winner ($1,000) - Nicole Crapser, Bristol Eastern High School - Project name:  “Finding the Way out of Stigma: Asperger’s Uncovered”
  • Academic 1st Place ($500) - Kayla Davis and Daniel Dudar, Norwich Technical High School - Project name:  “Postpartum Depression”
  •  Academic 2nd Place ($200) - Lauren Serena and Jenna Egan, New Canaan High School - Project name:  “Peter’s Problem: A Children’s Book Eliminating Childhood Stigma on Autism”
  • Academic 3rd Place ($200) - Lauren Marshall, Coventry High School - Project name:   “An Era of Violence: The Media’s Creation of a Savage Society”
  • Art 1st Place ($500) - Alexis Nasse, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy High School - Project name:  “No More”
  • Art 2nd Place (tie - $200) - Jessica Kraus, Lewis Mills High School - Project name:  “Monoamine Hypothesis”
  • Art 2nd Place (tie - $200) - Kathryn Roets, Ellington High School - Project name:  “Snowflake – An Original Submission”
  • Art 3rd Place ($100) - Natalie Intemann, Trumbull High School - Project name:  “The Tree of Life”
  • Mixed Media 1st place ($500) - Sarah Smith and Paige LaFlamme, Norwich Technical High School - Project name:  “Social Phobia – Social Anxiety Disorder”
  • Mixed Media 2nd place ($200) - Caleb Holbrook, RHAM High School - Project name:  “Breaking the Stigma”
  • Mixed Media 3rd place ($100) - Justin Consoli, Fairfield College Prep High School - Project name:  “Mental Illness Stigma Awareness”
  • School/Teacher Award - Jane O’Reilly, Fairfield College Prep High School


Dr. Pearlson selected to receive prestigious Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia

Godfrey Pearlson, M.D., Founding Director of the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the IOL, will receive the prestigious Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia from the American College of Psychiatrists in 2015. Dr. Pearlson is being honored for his lifetime of research in this field, which the bestowing organization says constitutes a major contribution to the understanding and treatment of schizophrenic disorders. “Dr. Pearlson’s research on schizophrenia has advanced the scientific understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of this brain disease,” said Harold I. Schwartz, IOL’s Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Vice President of the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network. Dr. Schwartz added, “Dr. Pearlson is clearly a leader in the field of neuroscience, and we are both pleased and privileged that he is performing that cutting edge research here in Connecticut at the IOL.”  The Stanley Dean Award for Research in Schizophrenia has been awarded yearly since 1964. As part of the award ceremony at next year’s annual meeting of the American College of Psychiatrists, Dr. Pearlson will present a lecture to his distinguished colleagues focusing on his work.

Recent CT Forum featuring Dr. Schwartz to be aired on CPTV on April 8th, 14th and 20th

Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Vice President for Behavioral Health at Hartford Hospital/Institute of Living, was a panelist at the Connecticut Forum at The Bushnell on March 7, 2014. The topic was “An Honest Look at Mental Illness,” and the Forum was hosted by Hartford HealthCare. This unscripted evening of unforgettable conversation supported HHC’s efforts to further the national dialogue on mental health and to help “Stop the Stigma” that surrounds mental illness. About one in four American adults suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. There are dozens of such disorders, from depression and bipolar disorder to schizophrenia and panic attacks. “By helping combat the stigma associated with mental illness, we can help increase the number of people who seek treatment,” said Dr. Schwartz. HHC’s Behavioral Health Network – Natchaug Hospital, Rushford, The Institute of Living and programs at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, MidState and Backus – offers comprehensive care and programs for people living with mental illness. Most of the time, proper treatment – such as the options and support provided by the Behavioral Health Network – enables people with mental illness to lead fulfilling and productive lives. But there persists a stigma about mental illness in our society, and patients often feel shame and isolation. “Shame and discrimination can add to the suffering of those living with mental illness. Stigma can prevent people from seeking treatment and getting better,” said Dr. Stephen Larcen, Senior Vice President for Behavioral Health. That’s why HHC launched a public campaign to “Stop the Stigma.” Our goal is to have 10,000 people take the pledge. To date, more than 7,000 people have done so. The pledge is online at www.StopTheStigmaCT.org. The Connecticut Forum presentation will be broadcast on CPTV on April 8th at 8PM, April 14th at 10PM, and April 20th at 10AM.


March 2014:

Dr. Linda Durst appointed Medical Director of the IOL

Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at the IOL, recently announced that the position of Medical Director of the IOL has been filled. Dr. Linda Durst, currently the Chief Medical Officer at Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at PennState Hershey College of Medicine has accepted the position and will begin her duties here as Medical Director on June 2nd. Dr. Durst has had a distinguished clinical, administrative, and teaching career marked by positions of increasing responsibility, most recently at the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, and prior to that at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She is recognized by her peers as an outstanding clinician (Best Doctors in America) and was the recipient of the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching (2013) at PennState Hershey College of Medicine.

Kim Brownell, M.D., newest member of the Psychiatry faculty at the IOL

Dr. Kim Brownell recently completed her Adult and Child/Adolescent Psychiatric Residency Programs at The Institute of Living. Dr. Brownell received her medical degree from Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and performed her Pediatric Residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. She has also performed clinical and teaching services within the Indian Health Service and the National Service Corps and has provided exceptional pediatric outpatient, inpatient, normal newborn, and emergency work to the greater Hartford community, primarily at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. Dr. Brownell's IOL duties will include: the TOPS extended day program, the Child Partial Hospital Program, and the DBT Program.

CT Forum Panel on Mental Illness Sponsored By HHC

Hartford HealthCare's Behavioral Health Network is hosting an event in the Connecticut Forum series called "An Honest Look at Mental Illness," on Friday, March 7th at the Bushnell. Dr. Harold I. Schwartz, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at The IOL, will be on the panel. Other panelists will be Royce White, NBA draft pick as well as authors Andrew Solomon and Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison. The panel will be moderated by John Dankosky, host of WNPR's "Where we live." The forum is described as "a conversation about perceptions, realities and what it's like to work and live with the stigma of mental illness." For more information or tickets, click here or call 860-509-0909.


January 2014:

Black & Red Gala raises more than $1 million to benefit The Institute of Living

Hartford Hospital celebrated its most successful Black & Red Gala ever on Saturday, January 25th, at the Bushnell. More than 1,200 guests attended the annual fundraising event, which this year benefited The Institute of Living. The gala netted more than $1 million, a record for the 23rd annual fund-raiser. The Black & Red Gala attracted a soldout crowd who enjoyed an evening of fine dining, and a performance by the Barenaked Ladies.The event also featured a live TV broadcast by FoxCT that created awareness of the hospital’s “Stop The Stigma” campaign, which is aimed at eliminating the stigma and discrimination that makes it hard for people with mental illness to get the help they need.


"Stop the Stigma":  A Campaign to End the Stigma of Mental Illness

An estimated 26.2% of Americans ages 18 and older (about one in four adults) suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. And adults are not the only ones affected. Children and adolescents struggle with mental illness as well. For some people, a mental illness may be a lifelong condition, like diabetes. But as with diabetes, proper treatment enables many people with a mental illness to lead fulfilling and productive lives. The fear of stigma and discrimination has a devastating effect on those living with mental illness and on their families. By helping to combat the stigma associated with mental illness we can help increase the number of people that seek treatment. The Institute of Living offers many treatment options for people living with mental illness, as well as support for their families and loved ones. One thing we cannot do alone is break down the stigma of mental illness in our society. But you can make a difference. You can help change the way people view mental illness. We invite you to take the “Stop the Stigma” pledge to change the way we think and talk about mental illness. Our goal is to obtain 5,000 individual pledges.
The pledge reads: I pledge to ...

  • Show compassion by reaching out to those in need of help. I will not let anyone suffer in silence.
  • Have the courage to speak up and challenge stereotypes and attitudes. I will not tolerate or perpetuate stigma.
  • Teach by sharing my own experiences with mental illness and encouraging others to share their stories with me. I will learn in order to change.
  • Demand a change in how we view and address mental illness. I will help lead the way.

Please ask everyone — fellow employees, volunteers, patients, the community — to take this pledge. It is online now at www.StopTheStigmaCT.org


Out of the Shadows: A Community Conversation on Mental Health

On January 14, 2014, Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network Senior Vice President Stephen Larcen, Ph.D. and Harold I. Schwartz, MD, Regional Vice President and Psychiatrist-in-Chief for The Institute of Living were featured panelists during the live Town Hall Meeting, Out of the Shadows: A Community Conversation on Mental Health. This event was held in collaboration with the Connecticut Civic Health Advisory Group, the Connecticut Commission on Children, the Connecticut Network (CT-N), Everyday Democracy and the Secretary of the State’s Office, with funding provided by Connecticut Humanities. This event was broadcast live on the CT-N website.


Seeking entries from high school students for BrainDance Awards

The 11th Annual BrainDance Awards competition is seeking entries from all high school students in Connecticut. The competition (sponsored by the IOL) is for high school student projects on mental illness designed to decrease the stigma of mental illness. The BrainDance Awards encourage high school students to gain knowledge about psychiatric diseases and develop a more tolerant and realistic perspective toward people with severe psychiatric problems. The competition also aims to promote students’ interest in careers in mental health care. To receive a BrainDance Award, a student must submit an academic project or an art project on themes related to severe mental illness. Projects must be submitted using a flash drive or dropbox format only. Awards up to $1,000 will be given to the best submissions. The deadline for submissions is February 1st. The BrainDance Awards will be held on April 24, 2014. To apply for the awards, please visit www.nrc-iol.org and follow the link to BrainDance for application forms, information, and procedures. Email Nancy Hubbard for more information.


David F. Tolin, Ph.D., ABPP to be honored with a lifetime achievement award

Dr. David Tolin, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Center/Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy at The Institute of Living, will be given a lifetime achievement award at the annual meeting of the Connecticut Psychological Association in October of this year.


The Anxiety Disorders Center is seeking participants for several research projects

The Anxiety Disorders Center is seeking participants for clinical trials. Study treatment is provided at no cost to participants. We are currently seeking adult patients with any of the following primary diagnoses:

  • Panic disorder
  • Hoarding disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

For more information, please call 860-545-7039 or visit http://www.harthosp.org/InstituteOfLiving/AnxietyDisordersCenter/CurrentResearch/default.aspx