Linda S. Godleski, M.D., has received the David M. Worthen Award for Career Achievement in Educational Excellence from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the VA’s highest recognition for academic accomplishments.

Godleski, associate chief of staff for education for the VA Connecticut Healthcare System in West Haven, Conn., and associate professor of psychiatry at the School of Medicine, has pioneered the application of telemedicine (the use of technology to provide medical care when distance separates providers from patients) to psychiatry, in an emerging field known as “telemental health medicine.”

As director of the VA National Telemental Health Center, Godleski has been a leader in developing telemental health curricula for the VA, which has one of the largest such programs in the world.

Telemental health medicine has proved to be an efficient and economic method of providing behavioral health services for patients who live in rural areas and might not otherwise have access to mental health care professionals. Godleski and her colleagues have used the method for clinical assessments, individual and group psychotherapy, psycho-educational interventions, cognitive testing, and general psychiatry.

Godleski has chaired the Telemental Health Field Advisory Work Group for the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), which has been instrumental in developing a “toolkit” to deploy telemental health techniques nationwide, expanding the use of clinical videoconferencing, in-home messaging, videophones, and pilot Internet applications.

Godleski has also led the VA in strategic planning for new educational initiatives, including an extensive expansion of medical and associated health programs with Yale and other VA affiliates.

Godleski received her medical degree from the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Medicine, where she also completed her psychiatry residency.

Prior to joining Yale she served on the faculty of medical schools at Vanderbilt University, UVA, the University of Hawaii, and the University of Louisville. She has served as a consultant to a number of academic and federal agencies, as well as the American Telemedicine Association. Her work has been presented extensively at VA and academic conferences, including expert testimony before Congress, and she has published widely in peer reviewed journals.

The Worthen Award recognizes a VA employee from any health discipline who has made contributions of national significance to education in the health professions. First issued in 1988, it commemorates the late David M. Worthen, M.D., former head of VHA Academic Affairs and an inspirational leader of VA’s educational mission.