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Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Mental and behavioral disorders are a leading cause of disability in the United States.  Almost 20 percent of U.S. adults have a mental illness, and over 8 percent had a substance use disorder in the past year. Mental health and substance use disorders are the leading cause of years of life lived with disability worldwide.

Welch Center faculty conduct patient-oriented research on a wide variety of mental and behavioral health and substance abuse conditions with diverse methods spanning epidemiology, clinical intervention trials, health services research and implementation science. Our faculty are leaders in developing and rigorously testing interventions to improve physical health and decrease the high burden of cardiovascular disease risk in persons with serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Welch Center faculty have led clinical trials to treat depression in primary care, and to test and optimize depression care strategies in African Americans. Faculty also study the neuroendocrine response to chronic psychological stress as risk factors for depression and diabetes, the importance of cognitive/neuropsychological processes in chronic disease, and implementation of care for behavioral disorders in real-world health systems. In addition, we study epidemiology and prevention of alcohol and substance abuse disorders. 

In the Welch Center, we mentor trainees at all levels and are committed to preparing future leaders in research in mental health and substance abuse. We have several large clinical trials, population-based studies and health systems data sources to provide rich opportunities for trainees to perform research projects. 

Welch Center Faculty with research interests in mental health and substance abuse include: Lisa Cooper, Rosa CrumGail Daumit, Daniel Ford, Sherita Golden, Felicia Hill-Briggs, and Nae-Yuh Wang.