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Delegation of faculty, trainees oppose state budget cuts in testimony

February 23, 2017

A large delegation of Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty and trainees traveled to Hartford on February 23 to oppose proposed cuts to the Connecticut Mental Health Center's budget.

Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposed state budget calls for $947,000 in reductions to the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services budget for CMHC.

Founded in 1966, CMHC is one of the oldest community mental health centers in the United States, and is operated cooperatively by the State of Connecticut and Yale University. It is a center for training, research, and clinical care, and provides services to people with mental health and addiction disorders.

The faculty and residents testified before members of the Health and Hospitals Subcommittee of the Legislative Appropriations Committee. They spoke about the critical mental health care services CMHC provides to the community and state, and touted its international reputation as a center for groundbreaking research and place for education.

The delegation included residents Kristin Budde, MD; Daniel Barron, MD, PhD; Youngsun Cho, MD, PhD; Karsten Heil, MD; J.P. De Aquino, MD; Chad Lane, MD; Amanda Sun, MD; Nkemka Esiobu, MD; Jessica Isom, MD; and Luming Li, MD. They were joined by research fellow Al Powers, MD, PhD, and faculty John Krystal, MD, Chair of the Yale Department of Psychiatry; Gerard Sanacora, MD, PhD; and Alan Anticevic, PhD.

Many other trainees and department affiliates sent testimony to the Legislature in support of CMHC.

During his testimony, Krystal spoke about the need for CMHC to continue to meet its mission of treating patients. He said CMHC stimulates the economy through biotechnology innovation. Several Connecticut-based companies have launched as a result of CMHC research programs, and nearly a half-dollar is returned to the state's General Fund for each dollar the state invests in CMHC research.

He said CMHC-based Yale Department of Psychiatry trainees, among the most highly selected doctors in the country, have helped to address a severe shortage of psychiatrists in Connecticut. Previous budget cuts have already reduced the number of trainees at CMHC, and Krystal said additional cuts would further undermine the program.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on February 24, 2017