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Interventional Psychiatry Grand Rounds Series Aims to Promote Critical Thinking, Education in Emerging Field

March 04, 2021
by Jordan Sisson

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit early last year, the interventional psychiatry service at Yale held regular meetings for team members to discuss various topics, such as difficult-to-treat or complicated cases and educational matters. But once coronavirus-imposed lockdowns began sweeping the nation, the meetings – like many others – were moved to Zoom.

Sina Nikayin, MD, a Fourth-Year Resident and the Chief Resident of Interventional Psychiatry, saw an opportunity.

“I thought this would be a great opportunity to make the educational sessions available to interested people from outside our group, as well,” said Nikayin. “In addition to people who are already active in the field of interventional psychiatry, I believed it would be a good resource for trainees who wanted to learn more about interventional psychiatry, such as psychiatry residents and fellows, in addition to medical, NP, PA and nursing students.”

The Interventional Psychiatry Grand Rounds series was born.

Interventional psychiatry encompasses various treatment modalities in psychiatry that need to be administered by a trained professional, usually in a hospital setting, Nikayin explained. Interventional psychiatry includes approved treatments such as ketamine and esketamine treatments, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), along with other promising modalities that are actively under investigation.

“I became interested in interventional psychiatry as these treatments are usually reserved for patients who do not respond to, or are unable to tolerate, traditional treatments (i.e. oral medications),” he said. “These patients at times suffer many years of symptoms, endure numerous courses of medications and multiple hospitalizations, without any noticeable relief. To these patients, the appropriate interventional modality could be a lifesaver, sometimes literally.”

As a rapidly evolving area of psychiatry, clinicians in the field must remain up to date on the latest developments. Most available resources usually only focus on one modality, rather than the field of interventional psychiatry as a whole, Nikayin said.

One goal of the series was to address this need by increasing awareness of the available and emerging interventional modalities, as well as ongoing research in the field. Another goal is to create a network of interested parties across disciplines, institutions and borders and promote collaboration and cooperation, Nikayin said.

“Ultimately and through these goals, the purpose of the Yale Interventional Psychiatry Grand Rounds is to help improve the lives of patients with psychiatric disorders,” Nikayin said.

Gerard Sanacora, PhD, MD, George D. and Esther S. Gross Professor of Psychiatry and co-director of the Yale New Haven Hospital Interventional Psychiatry Service, said the concept of interventional psychiatry, “where clinicians with a range of unique and complementary technical and medical expertise are brought together to provide specialized procedure-oriented treatments to individuals struggling with mental health and neuropsychiatric issues, is still a relatively recent idea.”

“The new IPS grand rounds program provides an important forum for students, fellows, clinicians and medical scientists to hear about recent developments related to interventional psychiatry,” Sanacora said. “The goal is to promote critical thinking in the field and to provide a mechanism for efficient dissemination of the rapidly accruing information that is being generated in this emerging area with psychiatry.”

The first grand rounds session was held on Oct. 7. Andrew Francis, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine and the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, a leading expert in catatonia and co-author of the Bush-Francis Catatonia Rating Scale, agreed to be the first speaker. Since the beginning of the series, invitations have been extended in phases to people from other psychiatry departments across the country. Organizers recently made invitations available on social media to anyone interested in attending.

Overall, the response to the series has been positive, Nikayin said.

Ultimately, once the pandemic is over, the grand rounds will likely continue in a hybrid format where the speaker and local attendees gather in a conference room, and anyone else can join remotely. Nikayin said he will also likely pass some organizational responsibilities to the next Chief Resident of Interventional Psychiatry.

The next IPS grand rounds session will be held on April 7, 2021 at 4 p.m. EST and is titled, “The History and Future of Ketamine and Related Therapies in the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder”. Register online or contact Nikayin at for more information.

Submitted by Jordan Sisson on March 03, 2021