Articles, Leading Stories

December 1st, 2016

Diabetes: Research shows increased risk for mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that in 2014, diabetes affected approximately 29.1 million people or 9.3 percent of the United States population. Additionally, another 86 million Americans suffer with pre-diabetes, a condition that increases the risk of developing diabetes. While the condition imposes some medical challenges, it has also been found to cause psychological difficulties, according to some researchers. Julie Wagner, Ph.D., professor of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health at UConn Health, was part of a team that examined the “psychological conditions, defined as syndromes, disorders and diabetes-specific psychological issues” that impact a significant portion of individuals [More]

December 1st, 2016

Psychologist helps families cope with childhood illnesses

By Catherine Robertson Souter

When a child has medical issues complicated by psychological ones, a family may find themselves with limited skills to cope with an escalating situation. A serious affliction like chronic pain, diabetes, asthma, or seizures can be terrifying to both the child and to the adults trying to support him and, for many families, the illness, when accompanied by setbacks in treatment because of emotional problems, can become overwhelming. Jack Nassau, Ph.D., chief psychologist at the Hasbro Children’s Partial Hospital Program at Rhode Island Hospital, has spent his career in researching and working in pediatric psychology. As part of a multidisciplinary [More]

November 1st, 2016

Treating responders: a shift in technique

By Phyllis Hanlon

The devastation that occurred on 9/11 shook the entire world. But since that time, numerous other traumatic events – the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the San Bernardino shooting, the Orlando nightclub attack, to name a few – have reinforced the importance of addressing psychological damage resulting from these incidents. In response to the growing need, clinicians have shifted their thinking when it comes to treating first responders. Joan M. Cook, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Yale, and current president of the American Psychological Association’s Division 56, Trauma Psychology, noted that events such as the Vietnam War, “put [More]

November 1st, 2016

MPA advocates lifting gun research funding ban

By Janine Weisman

A move by the Massachusetts Psychological Association to push for the removal of barriers on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ability to fund research on gun violence is inspiring the region’s other associations to pursue advocacy efforts on the issue. In an Aug. 30 letter sent to Massachusetts’ nine representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives and two U.S. senators, the leadership of the 1,600-member association voiced strong support for finding legislative solutions to what amounts to a ban on funding gun violence research. The letter was signed by MPA President Dawn Cisewski, Psy.D., Executive Director Brian [More]

November 1st, 2016

Maine law places restrictions on opioid prescriptions

By Pamela Berard

Echoing a nation-wide problem, Maine is working to stem the rise of opioid use and overdose. Maine reported more than 270 drug overdose deaths in 2015 – a 31 percent increase over 2014 – and had already recorded 189 drug overdose deaths for the first half of 2016. A majority have been linked to opioids – which include heroin, fentanyl and prescription painkillers. A new state law enacted in July aims to prevent the overuse of opioids at the initiation of treatment. The law requires doctors to use the state’s prescription monitoring program (PMP) and sets a dosage cap on [More]

November 1st, 2016

Massachusetts extends deadline for EHR adoption

By Janine Weisman

Massachusetts behavioral health care providers have more time to fully adopt electronic health record systems (EHR) that connect to the state’s health information exchange via a network called the Mass HIway. The Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services recently announced that the date to connect to the statewide network for transmitting health care data among providers, hospitals and other entities and improve coordination of care would be a date later than Jan. 1, 2018. The original deadline for all health care providers to fully implement interoperable EHR systems connecting to the Mass HIway was Jan. 1, 2017, in [More]

November 1st, 2016

Bridgewater State Hospital to enhance treatment services

By Pamela Berard

Bridgewater State Hospital, Massachusetts’ only secure psychiatric hospital for adult males, which houses and treats mentally ill men either charged with or convicted of a crime, would see major changes under a plan unveiled by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration. The state is soliciting proposals from private vendors to provide “enhanced medical and mental health treatment for patients” at the medium-security prison, which has faced controversy in recent years surrounding the treatment and deaths of patients. According to the Request for Response (RFR), the vendor must have extensive knowledge of treating individuals with serious behavioral health needs. Under the plan, [More]

November 1st, 2016

Chief medical officer resigns from New Hampshire Hospital

By Catherine Robertson Souter

After a tumultuous seven months that has seen a number of resignations of hospital staff, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the imminent departure of New Hampshire Hospital’s chief medical officer, David Folks, M.D. The hospital and two other mental health facilities in the state had, until June 30 of this year, been staffed under a contract with Dartmouth College and its Geisel School of Medicine. After Dartmouth College decided to end its contract, the state put out a bid for a new manager of the facilities. The only bidder was Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, a [More]

November 1st, 2016

Grant aims to build trauma sensitivity in schools

By Rivkela Brodsky

Providence Children &Youth Cabinet – a coalition of organizations, systems, residents and youth organized around community-generated priorities in Providence, R.I. – received a $1.8 million grant to build trauma sensitivity in schools. “This is a really exciting opportunity for us,” said Rebecca Boxx, director of the Cabinet. “It builds on work we have been doing in Providence for several years now. We have had a focus that was really elevated by our community to address the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and trauma in our neighborhoods and schools. This will allow us to use evidence-based programs in the school setting [More]

November 1st, 2016

New England Center for Children opens research institute

By Phyllis Hanlon

In 1975, the New England Center for Children (NECC) in Southborough was founded to “transform the lives of children with autism worldwide through education, research and technology.” In the ensuing years, NECC has been successful in achieving its mission. So much so that the agency has just completed an $11 million capital campaign that funded the construction of a new research institute, which was completed in August 2016. NECC held a grand opening celebration on October 17, 2016. The capital campaign for the Autism Institute and Student Center, located on the Southborough campus, launched in 2015 and was co-chaired by [More]

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