Dell Medical School Named Member of National Depression Research Collaborative

The Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin has been named a Center of Excellence member of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC).

The NNDC is a consortium of leading academic medical centers working to accelerate research, education and improved treatment options for people with depressive and bipolar illnesses.

Dell Med — which welcomed its first class of medical students in 2016 — is the first brand new medical school in about 50 years to be built on a top-tier research campus belonging to the Association of American Universities. The school is working to expand the scope of mood disorders research and clinical care to revolutionize how people get, and stay, healthy.

Stephen Strakowski, MD
Stephen Strakowski, MD

“Because we’re so new, the Dell Medical School has the opportunity to transform the way mental health issues are managed. Our partnership with NNDC will help us optimize that opportunity,” said Dr. Stephen Strakowski, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Dell Medical School. “Through the NNDC, we’ll create powerful collaborations with institutions across the country to create better mental health outcomes for individuals, shift the system’s focus to health rather than just health care, and integrate treatment of mental health into general health care that people receive.”

“We are thrilled to welcome the Dell Medical School as our newest Center of Excellence,” said NNDC Executive Director Pat Rinvelt. “In just a short amount of time, the Dell Med Department of Psychiatry has already produced some impressive achievements – we look forward to working together and fostering continued growth for both of our organizations.”

Dell Med’s translational research is focused on three critical areas: mood, stress and addiction disorders. Psychiatry faculty use rapidly advancing technologies such as neuroimaging and genetic techniques — and deploy them with insights gleaned from innovative clinical trials — to guide the creation of brain-based models. These models help care teams formulate novel treatment interventions for patients that are integrated with other forms of health care.

The Department of Psychiatry’s first specialty service, the Bipolar Disorders Integrated Practice Unit, opened in November 2017 under the banner of the Mulva Clinics for the Neurosciences. Established with a $50 million gift from the Jim and Miriam Mulva Foundation, the Mulva Clinics offer comprehensive and cutting-edge treatment and research for brain diseases. In addition, planning is underway for a comprehensive clinical service for patients with treatment resistant depression. Dell Med also hosts the Integrated Behavioral Health Scholars Program, a cross-college behavioral health training program at The University of Texas at Austin.

NNDC, a non-profit 501 (c)(3) network, unites mood disorders experts from around the country to harness the collective power and resources of network members, seeking to expedite scientific discovery and advances in patient care for people with mood disorders. Its membership includes many of the nation’s top medical institutions. Acceptance involves a rigorous application process detailing high-levels of expertise in clinical delivery, research and education.

The NNDC brings together experts from across the nation who:

  • Actively pursue initiatives in education, research, clinical care delivery, and community outreach to improve quality of life of patients suffering from mood disorders;
  • Engage in interdisciplinary collaborations both within their home institution and across the network to accelerate dissemination of research;
  • Identify opportunities for multi-site studies and emerging partnerships to advance the diagnosis and treatment of depressions and bipolar illnesses; and
  • Promote measurement based care, quality improvement, and research through the NNDC Mood Outcomes program available for use at NNDC member sites.