In-vivo Banner, Vol 3 No12, Nov/Dec 2004 co branded with the Columbia University Medical Center logo

Global Health
Research Briefs
Around & About
Point of View


New Chair of Psychiatry, Director for New York State Psychiatric Institute Chosen

Jeffrey Lieberman will emphasize collaboration and teamwork

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D.
Jeffrey Lieberman

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D., will in January become the new chairman of psychiatry at P&S, director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), and director of the joint CUMC and NYSPI Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research. He will also be the psychiatrist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia.

Dr. Lieberman joins Columbia University Medical Center from the University of North Carolina (UNC) where he is a professor of psychiatry, pharmacology and radiology and director of the Mental Health and Neuroscience Clinical Research Center.

"In terms of its size and the quality of many of its programs, this position has enormous opportunities, which Jeff sees clearly," says Gerald D. Fischbach, M.D., executive vice president and dean. "He comes to Columbia from an academic career spent thinking about mental illness and schizophrenia with a wonderful clinical research perspective. I believe this experience, along with his close involvement with NIH-funded translational neuroscience research and clinical trials, will bring the Lieber Center to new heights and benefit every single program in the department."

The author of more than 300 scientific papers, Dr. Lieberman's research has concentrated on the neurobiology, pharmacology and treatment of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine in the National Academy of Sciences and is principal investigator and director at UNC of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness (CATIE) Research Program. CATIE is a $61 million, National Institute of Mental Health-funded effort to determine the comparative effectiveness of the new generation of anti-psychotic drugs in the treatment of patients with schizophrenia and disruptive behaviors associated with Alzheimer's disease.

"We have an opportunity at Columbia to leverage the extensive expertise and resources within the medical school and the university, particularly in the basic neurosciences, to elucidate the causes and nature of mental illnesses and develop effective treatments," says Dr. Lieberman, who would like to more closely align the teaching, research and clinical programs of the Department of Psychiatry with its public mental health mission.

"As a discipline, psychiatry faces many of the problems that confront all of academic medicine today such as diminished reimbursements for mental health care services, the imminent contraction of the NIH budget and criticism of and increasing pressure on the pharmaceutical industry, which helps subsidize medical education and research.

"I hope to instill a new spirit of teamwork and common purpose within the department that will enable us to work together to effectively overcome these challenges," he says. "My vision is to make Columbia Psychiatry the top department in the world and to establish a new model of academic psychiatry that will define the standards and practice patterns for psychiatric medicine and public mental health care services for the 21st century."

—Matthew Dougherty