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Epperson named Chair of Psychiatry at CU School of Medicine

May 18, 2018

C. Neill Epperson, MD, a former Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty member and graduate of the Yale Psychiatry Residency Program, has been named Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus effective Sept. 1.

Epperson was a faculty member at Yale School of Medicine from 1999 to 2009 after completing her residency and serving as a fellow at the Yale Child Study Center in its National Institute of Mental Health Training Program in Neuropsychiatric Disorders with Childhood-Onset.

She was recruited to the University of Colorado from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is professor of psychiatry and obstetrics and gynecology. She went to Penn from Yale to launch and serve as director of the Division of Women’s Behavioral Health. In that capacity, she founded and serves as the director of two clinical, research, and education programs: the Penn Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness and Penn PROMOTES Research on Sex and Gender in Health.

“My career mission as a psychiatrist and physician-scientist has been to promote the centrality of the brain, with respect to all other areas of health,” Epperson said in statement released by the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “By doing so, I believe we can substantially reduce the stigma related to psychiatric conditions and improve uptake and utilization of behavioral medicine to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families and our society at large.”

Epperson’s research has been continuously funded for more than 20 years with grants from numerous government and private agencies. She has worked to advance the science of sex and gender issues. She said the role of reproductive and stress hormones on lifelong health has been a productive area of research.

“I first became interested in hormonal effects on the brain and behavior when I was a psychiatry resident at Yale and treating my first patient with postpartum depression,” Epperson said. “I had been taught throughout medical school that reproductive hormones are important for menstrual cycles, pregnancy and childbirth as well as breastfeeding. My professors never mentioned the growing literature that reproductive hormones have a profound impact on the brain and complex human behaviors.

“This experience treating a new mother with postpartum depression inspired me to study how hormones effect the brain and behavior during periods of hormonal change across the female lifespan,” she said. “Some 26 years later, I continue to be astounded by the importance of reproductive hormones in complex human behaviors and how millions of women worldwide experience adverse mood and cognitive changes during these periods of hormonal flux.”

Epperson earned her MD from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1991.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on May 18, 2018