Our trainees and faculty members engage in cutting-edge, translational research to develop novel and improved strategies to prevent or treat psychiatric conditions among the medico-surgical patients. The three primary research goals of the Yale PM Service are:

  1. To elucidate etiopathogenesis and discover innovative treatment strategy of common psychiatric syndromes among medico-surgical patients.
  2. To examine the impact of presence, incidence, detection, and treatment of psychiatric co-morbidities in the quality of life, morbidity and mortality of the medico-surgical patients.
  3. To develop innovative ways to efficiently deliver medico-surgical services for mentally ill patients both in the inpatient and outpatient setting and bridge the disparity gap in health service between those with severe mental illness and without.

Research Programs

  • Three Strategies for Implementing Motivational Interviewing on Medical Inpatient Units: See One, Do One, Order One
    PI: K. Yonkers, MD/S. Martino, PhD; Funding Source: NIDA R01.
    The goal of this project is to compare the success of three strategies geared to implementation of motivational interviewing. Interviewing techniques would be provided by physician assistants in the general medical units of Yale New Haven Hospital.
  • Behavioral Intervention Team: A Model of Proactive, Multidisciplinary CL Psychiatry Service
    PI: W. Sledge, MD; Funding Source: The George D and Esther S Gross Professorship Endowment.
    The goal of this on-going study is to assess the quality and cost-effectiveness of an innovative, proactive model of screening for psychiatric issues among and delivering mental health services to medical inpatients with psychiatric co-morbidity.
  • Pre-Transplant Behavioral Weight Loss Treatment Trial for Patients with End-Stage Liver Disease
    PI: D. Fehon, PsyD; Funding Source: Yale Transplant Psychiatry Development Fund.
    This is a Stage 1A treatment development study which examines the feasibility and preliminary effectiveness of a group behavioral weight loss intervention for liver transplant candidates.
  • Text Messaging to Reduce Alcohol Relapse in Liver Transplant Patients
    PI: B. Toll, PhD; Funding Source: Yale Psychological Medicine Research Development Fund.
    This study is an eight-week, randomized controlled pilot trial to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of a text-messaging intervention for alcohol relapse prevention and stress reduction in twenty liver transplant patients with alcohol-related liver disease.
  • Eating disorders and body image beliefs in liver transplant recipients
    PI: P. Zimbrean, MD; Funding Source: Yale Transplant Psychiatry Development Fund.
    This cross-sectional study examines the prevalence of eating disorder symptoms and body-image issues among post-liver transplant patients.
  • Project START: Screening to Augment Referral to Treatment.
    PI: K. Yonkers, MD; Funding Source: NIDA R01.
    This proposal conducts a randomized clinical trial conducted in a reproductive health center which compares two SBIRTS for substance misusing women, delivered either by a trained nurse or by computer, to usual care (a control condition). As part of this trial, we will include outcomes that allow us to assess the cost effectiveness of these three conditions.
  • Economic Evaluation of Drug Abuse Treatment and HIV Prevention Services for Pregnant Women
    PI: Ruger; Site-PI: K Yonkers; Funding Source: NIDA R01.
    This evaluation proposes to conduct an economic evaluation of a behavioral approach with pregnant women to decrease substance abuse, reduce HIV risk behavior, and improve postnatal outcomes.
  • Progesterone for Smoking Relapse Postpartum: Feasibility, Breastfeeding and Infant Safety
    PI: A. Forray, MD; Funding Source: NIDA R21.
    The purpose of this study is to examine the utility of oral micronized progesterone as an intervention to prevent smoking relapse in postpartum women.
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment and Postpartum Smoking Relapse: A Pilot Study.
    PI: A. Forray, MD; Funding Source: NIDA K12.
    This is a pilot study using ecological momentary assessments (EMA) to evaluate the impact of situational and affective stimuli on relapse to smoking in the postpartum period. Abstinent smokers, recruited during pregnancy, are asked to carry a small handheld computer (PDA) which will prompt the women to complete an assessment about cravings, affect and environmental cues at four random times per day. The results from this study will provide an assessment of the process of relapse in relation to a number of covariates.

Visit the Center for Wellbeing of Women and Mothers website.

  • New Approaches to Smoking Cessation in Heavy Drinkers PI: L. Fucito, Ph.D.; Funding Source: NIAAA K23 This pilot study will test an integrated behavioral intervention to concurrently treat smoking and heavy alcohol use.
  • Novel Treatment to Enhance Smoking Cessation before Cancer Surgery PI: B. Toll, Ph.D., MUSC; Site PI: L. Fucito, Ph.D.; Funding Source NCI R21 This project is a preliminary study of the effect of adding contingency management to standard smoking cessation treatment to enhance rates of smoking cessation for cancer patients before their cancer surgery.
  • Intracranial Atherosclerosis and Predictors of Post-CABG Depression.
    PI: H. Lee, MD; Funding Source: NIMH R01.
    The purpose of this grant is to examine the intracranial atherosclerosis measured by Transcranial Doppler as a risk factor for post-CABG depression based on the vascular depression hypothesis. This study also aims to determine pre-surgical predictors of post-CABG cognitive decline and delirium.
  • Perioperative Cognitive Protection – Dexmedetomidine and Cognitive Reserve.
    PI: J Silverstein, Mount Sinai; Site-PI: H. Lee, MD; Funding Source: NIA R01.
    The purpose of this six-site double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study is to evaluate the effect of dexmedetomidine in the prevention of delirium in non-cardiac surgical patients.
  • Flumazenil treatment of Hepatic Encephalopathy and Changes in cortical GABA levels
    PI: H.B. Lee, MD; Funding Source: NIDDK/Yale Liver Center.
    The purpose of this study is to develop an experimental paradigm for discovery of a biochemical mechanism and treatment development for hepatic encephalopathy based on the GABA hypothesis of hepatic encephalopathy.
  • Involuntary Hospitalization Papers in CT: Do they have predictive value?
    PI: M. Prabhu, MD; Funding Source: American Academy of Psychiatry and Law.
    The purpose of this study is to evaluate the risk factors associated with emergency psychiatric commitment and involvement with the criminal justice system.
  • Functional and structural brain magnetic resonance imaging comparison between early-onset and late-onset RLS subjects
    PI: H.B. Lee; Funding Source: RLS/WED Foundation.
    The purpose of this study is to identify the etiopathophysiology of late-onset RLS based on functional MRI (fMRI) and structural MRI by comparing elderly patients with early-onset RLS versus those with late-onset RLS in the following areas: (a) cerebral blood flow as measured by Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL), BOLD and FLAIR analyses; and (b) fMRI default mode resting state connectivity; and (c) white matter hyperintensities (WMH) measured by number, volume and locations of WMHs and measurable "silent" cerebral infarctions.
  • Qualitative Considerations of the Experience of High Cost Sickle Cell Patients
    PI: W. Sledge, MD; Funding Source: The George D and Esther S Gross Professorship Endowment.
    This qualitative study compares health service utilization, attitudes and experience of eight Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) patients who had averaged over a hundred hospitalization days over three years (“high cost utilizers”) and eight matched (by gender, age, and genotype for disease expression) SCD patients (“low cost utilizers”) before and after a SCD-specific “medical home” intervention.

Kimberly Yonkers, MD