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Bridge Art Gallery to Hold Reception for "Life is a Journey" Exhibit

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

(Rochester, NY -- December 16, 2019) - A new art exhibition featuring local, national, and international artists opens at the Bridge Art Gallery, Rochester, NY in December. Life is a Journey will run from December 2019 to April 2020 with a reception on January 22nd from 4:30 p.m. -- 6 p.m.

34 artists and artist groups will be featured in the show: Bethany Adler, Mark Bangs, Kathleen Blatt, Erin Brazill, Zach Brown, Grace Brzykcy, Maria Brzykcy, the Mental Health Association of Genesee and Orleans County Social Club, Sandra Entress, Barb Furan, Susan Harmon, Lorelei Heliotis, Steven W. Justice, Gus Knight, John Kosboth, Gabrielle Kosoy, Karen Krolak, Aaron Lelito, Marcia Liu, Grace Lynch, Philippe Maass, Mark McMonagle, Anna Mpinga, Erica Munnings, Michael Norton, Rolando Raqueño, Young (Julie) Rhee, Mark Riedener, Kahn J. Ryu, Pradip K. Sau, Neil R. Scheier, Sally Steinwachs, Veronica Tan, Getachew Taye, Katie Virag, Kristen Woodward, and Kevin Yost.

Artists come from all across Western New York, the United States and as far away as Malaysia and India. In response to the show theme, their works touch upon intersection of nature and humanity, loss, memory, healing.

For additional information, please contact Amanda Lai at 1-585-275-3571 or

Read More: Bridge Art Gallery to Hold Reception for "Life is a Journey" Exhibit

Lazos Fuertes Marks 20 Years

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

November marks the 20th anniversary of the launch of Lazos Fuertes. Established with a goal of ensuring access to mental health care for the Rochester Hispanic Community through a culturally competent approach, Lazos Fuertes has served thousands of individuals since its opening in 1999. The program moved to its current location at the University of Rochester Medical Center in 2008 from its original location at Ibero-American Action League's former headquarters and site of Ibero's child-welfare programs on E. Main St.

A reception celebrating the program's 20th anniversary will take place on December 4th from 1:00 P.M.-- 2:00 P.M at Romano Room (1.9041).

Hochang “Ben” Lee Presents Judd Marmor, M.D. Memorial Lecture

Friday, November 15, 2019

Hochang "Ben" Lee, M.D. presented the Judd Marmor, M.D. Memorial Lecture at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Lee discussed the impact of proactive psychiatric consultation on the length of hospital stays and staff satisfaction. This lectureship was established in honor of Judd Marmor, M.D., Ph.D. to broaden the awareness of psychological disorders that impact the families in our community and to bring an added sense of understanding and compassion for their care.

Strong Ties and Strong Recovery to Hold Open House

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Strong Ties Services and Strong Recovery will be hosting an Open House Celebration for their new Adolescent and Young Adult Program on November 22, 2019 from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM. Information about services will be available. In addition, a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of these two new programs will take place at 1 PM. Refreshments and tours to take place before and after the ceremony.

The Adolescent and Young Adult Programs at Strong Recovery and Strong Ties provide comprehensive treatment programs for youth experiencing substance use and/or serious mental health challenges.

Read More: Strong Ties and Strong Recovery to Hold Open House

Meliora Fund Recipients Selected

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Congratulations to all the award recipients for our inaugural Meliora Fund Program! We are pleased to announce that the Meliora Fund will fund six proposed programs this year. The Meliora Fund Program supports initiatives that are aimed at addressing priority needs within the Department of Psychiatry's Community Division. Join us in recognizing our award recipients.

  • Hollie Ortiz: "Project IMPACT". This project will integrate MIPS into assertive community treatment for adults with severe mental illness who are unwilling or unable to engage in primary medical care.
  • Aleeya Burwell: "Sustaining Sunshine: Building Relatedness in the Community Division". This project will initiate a team-based wellness program for the division's care management team.
  • Annabel Fu: "Clinical Application of Light Therapy". This project will initiate light therapy treatment for patients with seasonal and non-seasonal depressive disorders across the division.
  • Amanda Johnson: "Weekend Music Program". In collaboration with the Eastman School of Music, this project will establish a weekend music program for 19200 inpatients.
  • Jessica Hashim: "Diabetes Prevention Program Improvements". This project will enable further development of the diabetes prevention program at Strong Ties.
  • Paul Wilson: "EMDR Therapy". This project will enable further development of eye movement desensitization therapy for patients with trauma histories across the division.

Music for the Mind To Take Place At Lovin' Cup on November 14th

Monday, October 21, 2019

Music for the Mind, our annual musical fundraiser, will return for its second year at Lovin' Cup on November 14th! The event will feature musical performances from talented department faculty, staff and mental health advocates, and raffles of musical goods from local community partners. Money raised will go towards the Department of Psychiatry Music Fund to enhance the lives of patients and staff.

Tickets can be reserved here and picked up at your respective location or at the door day-of starting at 5 PM. Payment is due upon receipt of tickets.

Read More: Music for the Mind To Take Place At Lovin' Cup on November 14th

Research Finds Connections Between Adolescent Personality Traits and Dementia Rates In Later Life

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Newsweek featured a study led by Benjamin Chapman, Ph.D, M.P.H exploring the connections between adolescent personality traits and rates of dementia diagnoses in later life. The study was published in JAMA Psychiatry and found that students that displayed higher levels of maturity and calmness were less likely to develop dementia in older age.

Read More: Research Finds Connections Between Adolescent Personality Traits and Dementia Rates In Later Life

4th Annual Behavioral Health Integration Symposium To Be Held on October 25th

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Department of Psychiatry will be holding our 4th Annual Behavioral Health Integration Symposium- "The Economics of BH Integration: Opportunities to Improve Care While Addressing Social Determinants of Health"- on October 25, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn Rochester at The University of Rochester Medical Center.

This year's theme focuses on the economic aspects of integrating behavioral health into medical care and its impact on improving health and decreasing disparities in care. In addition, we will be highlighting the importance of care management as well as the impact of social and behavioral determinants on the overall health of individuals that we serve.

Read More: 4th Annual Behavioral Health Integration Symposium To Be Held on October 25th

Bridge Art Gallery Now Accepting Artwork Submissions

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The Bridge Art Gallery in the Department of Psychiatry is now holding an open call for art for their upcoming exhibition, Life is a Journey.

Psychiatry's Office of Mental Health Promotion aims to provide a new space for local artists to display their work while creating a lovely and therapeutic environment for patients, families and employees of Strong Mental Health and Wellness.

All submissions are asked to fit the show's theme, "Life is a Journey." Only 2-D mediums less than 1 inch thick will be considered. Locked frames are provided in two sizes, 18x20 inches and 20x24 inches in preset orientations and artwork must be matted to fit the sizes above.

The submission deadline is Nov. 4 and the exhibit will run from December 2019 through April 2020.

For more information or to get a submission form, visit The Bridge Art Gallery page or email

A New Partnership to Provide Care for Families

Monday, October 7, 2019

Avangrid, the parent company of Rochester Gas & Electric, recently awarded our Family Lounge sponsored by Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester (RMHCR) a $25,000 grant to support lounge programming for families with children receiving care in the inpatient psychiatric unit and partial-hospitalization program.

As of June 30th, the Family Lounge has seen 894 individuals, a majority of whom were from Monroe County. The RMHCR's Family Experience Survey found that 96% of visitors agreed that access to the Family Lounge allowed them to be better able to provide support for their child. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held on September 26, 2019 to commemorate The Avangrid Foundation's contribution to the Family Lounge.

Adolescent and Young Adult Program Now Open at Strong Recovery

Saturday, October 5, 2019

In an effort to provide more comprehensive substance use disorder treatment (SUD) services for adolescents and young adults, Strong Recovery will be expanding their services at Brighton Business Center to include an adolescent/young adult (AYA) program. The program opened for business on October 4th, 2019, and will be accepting referrals starting October 5th, 2019.

April Aycock, MS, LMHC, CASAC (Ed.D. candidate at St. John Fisher College) has been hired into the position of Clinical Coordinator for Strong Recovery AYA. April has been a Clinical Supervisor in Strong Recovery since March 2016 and she has over 12 years of experience in the field, the majority of which has been in programs providing services for adolescents. She transitioned to the child and adolescent outpatient mental health clinic at Science Park after CCBHC implementation to develop and directly provide embedded adolescent SUD services. Referrals can be made by calling the intake line at (585) 275-5400.

Steven M. Silverstein recruited from Rutgers as Associate Chair of Research for Psychiatry

Friday, September 6, 2019

Steven Silverstein

The Department of Psychiatry has announced that Rutgers researcher Steven M. Silverstein, Ph.D., will join the University of Rochester Medical Center in January. He has been named the George L. Engel Professor in Psychosocial Medicine and associate chair of Research for the department. Joining Silverstein in Rochester will be colleagues Brian Keane, Ph.D., and Judy Thompson, Ph.D., and additional staff support.

"This is a significant watershed moment for our department," said Psychiatry Chair Hochang B. Lee, M.D., the John Romano Professor of Psychiatry. "The addition of Dr. Silverstein and his team represents a new era of research in etiopathogenesis of major mental illnesses for Psychiatry, in partnership with URMC's Del Monte Neuroscience Institute and the UR Center for Visual Science."

In his current role, Silverstein is professor of Psychiatry and Ophthalmology at Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; director of Research, and director of the Division of Schizophrenia Research at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care; as well as co-director of the Rutgers-Princeton Center for Computational Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. He is the former chair of the American Psychological Association's Task Force on Serious Mental Illness and a former executive board member and past president of the Society for Research in Psychopathology.

Silverstein's research involves the development of visual system biomarkers for neuropsychiatric disorders, especially severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia; and the psychological consequences of vision loss. Silverstein and his team consider how schizophrenia develops in patients, pioneering investigations related to biomarkers that can help better understand and identify schizophrenia. His expertise about mechanisms of underlying major mental illness may someday help to identify schizophrenia earlier and help to create more effective treatment models.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Silverstein, who spent his early career, from 1990-99, as a Psychiatry faculty member, beginning as a psychologist with the integrated inpatient unit and partial hospitalization program, then serving as chief psychologist with the day treatment program and research director of University Services Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program at the Rochester Psychiatric Center.

"I am very much looking forward to becoming part of the University of Rochester community, and to taking on the role of Associate Chair for Research in Psychiatry. I also feel honored to have been granted the George Engel endowed professorship," Silverstein said.

"My moving to Rochester is both professionally and personally very meaningful for me. I began my career at the University and I am excited to resume working with longstanding friends and colleagues, and to begin forging new relationships. Along with Dr. Lee and others, I plan to build bridges between Psychiatry and other departments both at the medical school and on the River Campus, and to assist both individual faculty and the department as a whole in accelerating their research efforts."

Research Team

Brian Keane will be an assistant professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience at URMC. He currently is an assistant professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers--Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, with institutional affiliations at University Behavioral Health Care and the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science. He employs visual psychophysics and brain imaging (fMRI) to investigate visual object perception -- both how it goes right in healthy people and how it becomes disturbed in those with serious mental illness.

Judy Thompson will be an assistant professor of Psychiatry. She currently is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions at Rutgers University, and her primary research activities take place in the Department of Psychiatry and University Behavioral Health Care.

April Aycock Receives Helen Guthrie Memorial Youth Advocate of the Year Award

Friday, May 31, 2019

April AycockApril Aycock, MS, LMHC, Master-CASAC is an Ed.D. candidate at St. John Fisher College and this year’s recipient of the Rochester Area Helen Guthrie Memorial Youth Advocate of the Year Award. This award is given by DePaul’s National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and recognizes professionals who have worked primarily with youth for at least five years, and have excelled in the promotion, enhancement and provision of youth substance use disorder (SUD) services.  Each year, the Council selects an awardee from the Finger Lakes region through a competitive nomination process.

April Aycock has been in the field of addiction treatment at various levels of care for over 12 years.  Throughout her career she has either worked directly with youth with substance use disorders or advocated for their care. She joined Strong Recovery as a Clinical Supervisor in 2015. April came to Strong Recovery with a wealth of experience in various positions, including at Villa of Hope, Westfall Associates, Genesee Mental Health Center and Monroe County Sheriff's Correctional Facility. 

Having April on the Strong Recovery team has was a major asset as we implemented the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC), which required extending SUD services to serve adolescents.  She led the integration of SUD services in our Child & Adolescent Clinic at Science Park and is currently leading the task force developing the clinical content for our new Adolescent/Young Adult clinic at Brighton Health Center (coming in September).

April Aycock is without a doubt one of the leading voices in youth substance use disorder treatment in our region and we are very proud to have her on the Strong Recovery team and in the Department of Psychiatry. 

Read More: April Aycock Receives Helen Guthrie Memorial Youth Advocate of the Year Award

Psychiatry Discipline Chief for Licensed Mental Health Counselors

Friday, March 1, 2019

Meredith Griffin, LMHC

Meredith Griffin, LMHC is a Louisiana-native and the new Psychiatry Discipline Chief for Licensed Mental Health Counselors, as of March 2019. She had been operating in this role unofficially for over a year. This new role was made official in order to support this growing discipline, and to provide a clear reporting structure.

Meredith began her career in communications, graduating with a bachelor’s in Journalism from West Virginia University and then attaining a Technical Writing Communication Certificate from RIT. However, through her volunteer work with children at Villa of Hope (then St. Joe’s Villa), she discovered her true passion was counseling. After extended conversations, she concluded that she needed to further her education and decided to pursue her Masters in Counselor Education (M.Ed.) at the University of New Orleans.

Part of this education included advanced Play Therapy training, an evidence-based practice and one of a wide variety of approaches. As Meredith explains, talk therapy is often not enough when counseling kids and teens as it is difficult for them to just start talking about their feelings. Though it may seem unconventional, play gives kids an outlet to express what is happening in their lives, which Meredith and other counselors can then interpret and use to develop healthy coping skills.  

Local health systems back federal call to counsel new and expectant moms

Friday, February 15, 2019

New federal recommendations are encouraging health care workers to refer many women who are pregnant or have just given birth to mental health counseling. But as WXXI's Brett Dahlberg reports, Rochester-area health care systems say they're already ahead of the curve.

Read More: Local health systems back federal call to counsel new and expectant moms

Relationships, not just romantic ones, important for well-being

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day is about love and romantic feelings, but for some it can also mean loneliness. An ongoing study at the University of Rochester tells us why our connections with other people are so important for our health and well-being.

Read More: Relationships, not just romantic ones, important for well-being

WXXI Need to Know: Seasonal affective disorder - it's real

Monday, February 11, 2019

If the recent polar vortex has you questioning why you still live in western New York or if the gloomy winter weather in general has you feeling less than upbeat - you are not alone. You may be dealing with a common issue known as seasonal affective disorder. It saps your energy and might be the reason why you're craving more sleep or why you're having a hard time focusing on specific tasks. We learn why this happens and how can we combat these symptoms on this edition of Need to Know.

Read More: WXXI Need to Know: Seasonal affective disorder - it's real

WXXI Need to Know: School safety debate; dealing with seasonal depression

Thursday, February 7, 2019

If these gloomy winter months are dragging you down mentally and emotionally - you are not alone. Seasonal depression is real. Learn why it happens and how to cope.

Read More: WXXI Need to Know: School safety debate; dealing with seasonal depression