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Depression and Other Mental Illness Research

In any given 1-year period, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 20.9 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness. The economic cost for this disorder is high, but the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated. Depressive illnesses often interfere with normal functioning and cause pain and suffering not only to those who have a disorder, but also to those who care about them. Serious depression can destroy family life as well as the life of the ill person. Depression is also imposes a major economic burden via lost productivity. Depression may also increase the risk of a variety of other common diseases, including ischemic heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Most individuals with depression seek care from general internists and other primary care providers; few seek care from mental health specialists. In contrast, the care of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are supervised by psychiatrists and other specialists.  However, these forms of serious mental illness are often complicated by medical conditions that complicate their care and confer significant mortality risk. In many cases, these comorbid conditions arise as adverse effects of antipsychotic medications. 

Information about the faculty working in this research area and their projects is provided below.

Anika Alvanzo, MD, MS

Assistant Professor of Medicine

Research Interests: Substance use disorders and psychological trauma exposure; development and evaluation of substance abuse programs.
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Lisa Cooper, MD, MPH, FACP

Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology, and Health, Behavior and Society

Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research
Director, Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities Research Interests: Health disparities in depression care, spirituality, physician-patient relationship and communication.
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Gail Daumit, MD, MHS

Associate Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research

Research Interests: Epidemiology and prevention of comorbid disease in serious mental illness.
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

Daniel Ford, MD, MPH

Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Epidemiology, and Health Policy and Management
Vice Dean for Clinical Investigation, School of Medicine
Core Faculty, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research

Research Interests: Epidemiology and treatment of depression in primary care.
To see publication abstracts: PUBMED

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