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NIMH Outreach Meeting Draws Nationwide Group for Research Update

Research updates on key mental health topics by intramural scientists and grantees anchored the third annual meeting of the NIMH Constituency Outreach and Education Program, held Apr. 28-30 in Washington, D.C. More than 125 participants took advantage of many opportunities to network and to share innovative outreach strategies.

Plenary sessions began with a keynote address from NIMH acting director Dr. Richard Nakamura, who discussed the institute's priorities, programs and recent events of interest. A panel then focused on bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder in children and adolescents, including differential diagnosis and treatment issues. Scientific presenters on the panel were Dr. John March, researcher and director of Programs in Child and Adolescent Anxiety Disorders and Psychopharmacology at Duke University Medical Center; and Dr. Ellen Leibenluft, chief of the NIMH Pediatrics and Developmental Neuropsychiatry Branch and intramural investigator with the institute's Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program. The panel continued as NIMH outreach partners from Utah and Ohio joined a representative from the Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation to share their outreach experiences to schools, the juvenile justice system, parents and practitioners.

A panel the following day traced core issues in schizophrenia from genetic research through supported employment programs, in presentations from Dr. Daniel Weinberger, chief of the Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, NIMH; and Dr. Anthony Lehman, professor and chair of the department of psychiatry and director of the Center for Mental Health Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

After each day's panel, breakout sessions enabled participants to exchange ideas and experiences. The focus was on transferring research results to health practitioners and the public, and combating stigma.

A new feature of this year's meeting was especially successful: poster sessions by outreach partners, illustrating the use of NIMH information and materials to target key audiences. The first poster session focused on outreach to minorities and other special populations: Hispanic/Latino, African American, Native American, Alaska Natives, South Asian, Amish, deaf and hard-of-hearing, and women. The second session displayed outreach to adults who can improve the mental health of children and adolescents, including teachers, parents, primary care professionals and pediatricians, and others, as well as outreach to students directly.

More information about the NIMH outreach program is at www.outreach.nimh.nih.gov.


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