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A Conversation with Dr. Madhukar Trivedi and Dr. Vikram Patel

  • March 31, 2017

March 29, 2017, UT Southwestern Peter O’Donnell, Jr. Brain Institute and Austin College hosted Dr. Vikram Patel and Dr. Madhukar Trivedi in a discussion about changing the model of mental health care. Both of these men have participated in work that pushes care out into the community. Dr. Patel published a manual, Where There is No Psychiatrist in 2003.. He used this approach to train community members in India, Uganda and elsewhere (many with less than a full high school education), to provide basic mental health care. He’s publishing a free, online version of this book in the summer (2017), which incorporates over 20 years of data to back up his approach. Dr. Patel is now the Pershing Square Professor at Harvard Medical School, having recently moved to Harvard from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr. Trivedi’s work involves primary care practices and high schools with the Center of Depression Research and Clinical Care at UTSW. Trivedi’s team has trained 19 primary care practices to screen for depression every patient, every time s/he comes to the practice, for any type of medical care. The effort has lead to extraordinary results in about a year’s time. About 15% of 40,000 patients screen positive for depression, but only about 1% of these patients a psychiatrist’s intervention for long lasting care. The key is training, active and consistent measurement and follow-up.

Dr. Trivedi has also recently uncovered a biomarker to help direct physicians to the appropriate antidepressant:  

I had the honor of moderating the panel with Dr. Trivedi and Dr. Patel. Here is a video link for the panel. I also published a Psychology Today article about this.

After our discussion, Dr. Patel was rushed to the KERA studio in Dallas for an interview with Think! with Krys Boyd

After this he spoke at another event at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to receive the Posey Award from Austin College. And the man was emailing me early the next morning. Incredible vision and insight contained in a humble exterior. So impressed.

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In Struck by Living, Julie Hersh picks apart the irony of her life with humor and brutal honesty. Despite a loving husband, healthy children, financial security, Julie attempted suicide three times. With the help of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), Julie broke the deadly course of her disorder. Now well, Julie promotes the importance of mental health with collaborations with other artists and organizations.

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