The Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) virtual retreat hosted by Indiana University-Bloomington took place last month, with the theme of “Addressing mental health in Indiana: From community needs to bench science discoveries.” Indiana CTSI navigator for the Indiana University-Bloomington campus, Joel Ybe, PhD, said they were excited to hold the virtual retreat, especially after having to postpone last year’s meeting due to COVID-19.
“The Bloomington retreat had a super lineup of speakers, and I was happy everyone was able to participate this year to share their work and insights with the attendees,” said Ybe.
Anantha Shekhar, MD, PhD, founding director of the Indiana CTSI and current senior vice chancellor for health sciences at University of Pittsburgh, talked about the goals of CTSAs in mental health research and implementation. Shekhar said that WISE Indiana, the partnership with the Indiana CTSI and Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), is already making an impact. He said the fact that the state is seeking advice from researchers shows how Indiana is forward-thinking.
“While it would have been nice to see my Indiana CTSI colleagues in person, it was still wonderful to participate in the Bloomington retreat virtually,” said Dr. Shekhar. “I’m proud to see the progress that is continuing under Drs. Moe and Wiehe, especially in regards to mental health research.”
Other presentations during the retreat focused on the full spectrum of mental health, from babies and early life mental health care to the aging population. The state and federal presentations included:
- “The State of Dementia in Indiana and What Communities Are Doing to Address It” — Sarah Renner, MPH, Indiana Family and Social Services Administration; Natalie Sutton, MPA, Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Indiana Chapter; and Dustin Ziegler, CICOA Aging and In-Home Solutions
- “Impact of Neonatal Fitness on Children Cognitive Development” — Taha Ben Saad, MD, Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital
- “NIA Research Update: Dementia Science, Policy, and Practice”— Melinda Kelley, PhD, National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health
Other presentations from Bloomington researchers included:
- “A New Cognitive Neuroscience Lab in Kenya: Understanding Neurocognitive Function in Children Born to Mothers with HIV” – Megan McHenry, MD, IU School of Medicine
- “Using Memory Search and fMRI to Study Cerebellar Mechanisms of Thought Disorder” – Peter Todd, PhD, IU Bloomington
- “Psychology of Sexual Assault: Psychological Correlates of Sexual Aggression Perpetration” – Zoë Peterson, PhD, IU Bloomington School of Education and Kinsey Institute
- “Even a Small Hit Matters: Acute and Chronic Subconcussive Neural Injury” – Keisuke Kawata, PhD, IU Bloomington School of Public Health
Joshua Gordon, MD, PhD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), gave the keynote talk called, “Opportunities in Translation: An NIMH Perspective.” He talked about the way the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected people and their mental health. He said that even if people have not been infected by the novel coronavirus, the general public has been at an increased risk for mental illness, especially in vulnerable populations.
“We need to do a better job understanding the basis of disparities and developing interventions that reduce these disparities,” said Gordon. “We really do envision a world in which mental illness are prevented and cured for all parts of society. To do that, our mission is to transform the understanding and treatment of these illnesses through basic and clinical research.”
A recording of this event is available to people who registered and can be accessed here by logging in with the password they used when they registered.