Workshop Lays Groundwork for International Collaboration

Chris Pittenger

Chris Pittenger, YCCI Scholar and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, discusses his poster presentation at the Wellcome Trust meeting with another attendee.

Scientific advances in neuroscience and genetics may be on the verge of producing fundamental transformations in psychiatry. Combined with a shortage of psychiatry trainees, these changes amount to a turning point for the field.

To address these challenge, investigators from Yale, Cambridge University, and University College London met with leaders from the Wellcome Trust in London in October. The purpose of the workshop was to explore how global institutional partnerships might facilitate the development of a new generation of clinical academics in neuroscience and mental health.

It emerged during the meeting that the United Kingdom faces major shortages of psychiatry trainees comparable to or greater than those in the United States. Common research themes across the departments of the participating institutions also highlighted opportunities for synergies in terms of research. "I think what emerged was a pretty clear interest on the part of the three institutions to work together to develop a new model for treating psychiatrists, both in regard to enriching the experience of their training and providing a path for science research-oriented psychiatrists to be facilitated in their career development," said John Krystal, MD, Robert L. McNeil Jr. Professor of Psychiatry, who chaired one of the sessions.

At a subsequent meeting in conjunction with the Society for Neuroscience, the National Institute of Mental Health also expressed interest in the idea of developing a collaborative training model for psychiatrists. "We came away feeling that the work Yale has done over the last several decades in advancing neuroscience and making that a core mission of our department is considered to be a model and fairly unique in psychiatry," said Krystal.