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.

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