Brighton Physician Leading Revitalized Psychiatry Program

He's focused on helping to improve child and adolescent psychiatry

June 15, 2000

A national shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists and clinical services is becoming a major public health problem, says John P. Glazer, M.D., director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program at the University of Rochester and Children's Hospital at Strong.

The appointment of Glazer - who joined the faculty four months ago after working eight years at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation - is the initial phase of the University's response to these problems.

"One of the unique strengths at the University of Rochester is the close collaborative relationship that has existed - and continues to exist - between the department of psychiatry, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program's administrative "home", and Children's Hospital at Strong," Glazer says. "That's not the case in many academic centers. However, to provide the highest quality and most comprehensive psychiatric services for children and families in an increasingly competitive marketplace, such collaboration is essential."

Members of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Program faculty and their teams of nurses, social workers, and teachers attend to children, teens, and families dealing with a variety of challenging problems. These include mood and anxiety disorders, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, family conflict, and suicidal behavior.

For urgent problems, such as suicidal behavior or psychosis, the medical center's 15-bed child and adolescent psychiatry inpatient unit is available for patients who require a secure inpatient setting. It serves patients ages 5-18 in two specially designed programs, one for school-aged children, the other for adolescent patients.

After crisis stabilization, or for children who don't require 24-hour care, the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Partial Hospital Program provides an array of psychopharmacologic, individual, group, and family psychotherapy services.

The inpatient and partial-hospitalization programs provide full-time, classroom-based school programs staffed by New York state-certified teachers. The care continuum also includes outpatient medication management, individual, group, and family therapy services. The outpatient child and adolescent group-therapy program is a national model.

Children's Hospital at Strong and the University of Rochester are unique in that they provide the region's only inpatient psychiatric services for school-aged children and partial hospital services for any pediatric age group. Children are referred from a wide geographical area, including Rochester, Buffalo, Binghamton, and Elmira.

"Major academic centers such as ours must provide comprehensive psychiatric services to be full-service pediatric providers, yet many centers elsewhere either do not devote sufficient resources to support growing clinical need, or fall short academically," Glazer says. "We're committed to both."

Figures compiled by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry illustrate the need:

· Twenty percent of U.S. children and adolescents ages 9-17 suffer from a psychiatric disorder, about 15 million nationwide.

· Of these 15 million children and teens, less than 25 percent ever receive needed psychiatric diagnostic or treatment services, yet half are disabled enough to be unable to function in school, in their families, or in the community.

· Advances in neurobiology during the 1990s led to new and far-more effective treatments for children and adolescents with major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosis, and other conditions.

Early intervention is critical, Glazer says. Recognition of mood disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, for example, have been shown to prevent or reduce drug abuse, suicidal behavior, and lost employment productivity later in life.

Glazer is optimistic that the child psychiatry program offered by Children's Hospital at Strong and the University of Rochester will continue to grow and flourish. He's excited to work with what he calls "a solid core of very dedicated professionals."

"The University of Rochester is devoting resources to the growth of child and adolescent psychiatry, both in the delivery of clinical services and in the acquisition of new knowledge through research," Glazer says. "These are exciting times."

Glazer lives in Brighton with his wife, Diana Wasserman, M.D., a developmental pediatrician. They have two children, Lisa, a 19-year-old Amherst College student, and Rebecca, 12, who will attend Twelve Corners Middle School in the fall.

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