Skip to Main Content


Expert on severe mental illness is new director of mental health center

Medicine@Yale, 2009 - Nov Dec


Michael J. Sernyak, M.D., professor of psychiatry, has been appointed director of the Connecticut Mental Health Center (CMHC), a partnership between Yale and the state of Connecticut’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) that was established in 1966.

Sernyak, who specializes in the treatment issues of the severely mentally ill, was nominated to the directorship by Yale University following a national search, and was appointed by Thomas A. Kirk Jr., Ph.D., who retired as DMHAS commissioner in June.

Sernyak succeeds Selby C. Jacobs, M.D., who is retiring at the end of the academic year.

The CMHC, an urban community mental health center that provides outpatient psychiatric services for over 7,000 New Haven–area residents each year, is housed with the Abraham Ribicoff Research Facilities, laboratories that have furthered our understanding and treatment of mental illnesses including schizophrenia, depression, and drug and alcohol addiction.

Sernyak, a nationally recognized health services researcher, has studied how antipsychotic medications may contribute to the development of diabetes in psychiatric patients, and has examined issues involving the delivery of medical care to patients with schizophrenia.

After graduating from Amherst College with a B.A. in physics and astronomy in 1983, Sernyak obtained his M.D. at Jefferson Medical College. He completed an internship at Greenwich Hospital, and a residency in psychiatry at Yale in 1987. He then served as unit chief of the Psychosis Studies Unit at CMHC for five years.

In 1996, Sernyak joined the staff at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System (VACHS) in West Haven, Conn., and in 2001 he was appointed chief of the Psychiatry Service at VACHS.