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History of the Clinic

The Yale OCD Research Clinic has a 25-year history of groundbreaking advances in the understanding and treatment of OCD. Founded in the mid-1980s by Drs. Wayne Goodman and Dennis Charney, the Clinic fostered the development of the field’s standard instrument for rating symptom severity – the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), as well as the first clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of the medications that are now standard treatments for the disorder – the SSRIs and neuroleptics. The International Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Foundation, a leading education and advocacy organization for patients with OCD, was founded by participants in these early research trials.

The founders of the clinic have gone on to other things – Dennis Charney is now the Dean of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, and Wayne Goodman is the Chairman of Psychiatry there. Our current focus on glutamate modulators as potential treatments for OCD was begun in the early 2000s by Vladimir Coric, who treated the first patients with the glutamate-modulating drug riluzole. The current Director, Christopher Pittenger, took over the clinic in 2007 and continues this line of work, bringing to bear the neurobiological expertise he gained during his Ph.D. studies with Eric Kandel at Columbia University. He is joined by Michael Bloch. Dr. Bloch, who is both an adult and a child and adolescent psychiatrist, also works in the Tic Disorder/OCD Specialty Clinic in the Yale Child Study Center and brings an interest in the evolution of OCD across the lifespan to bear on our work.