Columbia University has announced the establishment of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) Center for Precision Psychology and Mental Health. The Center aspires to be a catalyst in the development of innovative tools and the widespread use of precision medicine for the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of mental illness. The center has been created with his help The Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), through a donation of 75 million dollars, as part of Global Health Initiative (DPY).
The new center works on the basis of its cooperation Department of Psychology of Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and his Zuckerman Mind Behavior Institute at Columbia University. He comes to join Columbia University’s unique ecosystem of research and clinical services, leveraging his experience and expertise. New York Genome Center (NYGC), which is a partner organization of the university, in partnership with New York State Office of Mental Health.
Major advances in precision medicine enable scientists and health professionals to jointly study each patient’s unique genetic, psychological and health profiles to develop new preventive and therapeutic approaches. Columbia University is at the forefront of research to identify the genetic and biological changes that cause many mental illnesses. The SNF Center for Precision Psychiatry and Mental Health is expanding this research by collecting large amounts of medical data involving gene sequencing. At the same time, using the expertise of various disciplines of biologists, doctors and other specialties, the Center is expected to accelerate, at the level of research and treatment, the development of new tools for the prevention and treatment of mental diseases, based on the experience of special groups of patients .
“The insights provided by genomics and precision medicine are proving to be invaluable in improving people’s health and lives”, said Columbia University President Lee C. Bollinger. “Through the new Center, our researchers will respond to a pressing human need for the right medicine to improve mental health for all. We are very grateful to SNF for its partnership with Columbia University to address this important scientific and humanitarian challenge.”
“The great progress that has been made in recent decades in taking care of our physical health shows how far we have come, while also showing that we have gone backwards in taking care of our mental health,” said the President of SNF, Andreas Drakopoulos. “All of us at SNF are proud to support Columbia University physicians, scientists and mental health professionals, who combine deep expertise with an equally deep sense of humanity to address one of the most pressing issues of our time.”
The collaboration between Columbia University and SNF was based on the shared vision of the two organizations to help reduce the individual and social impact of mental illness, as well as combat inequality, stigma and discrimination in the field of mental health. A new center at Columbia University integrates research and clinical practice with the public and private sectors. In this context, by advancing innovative research and disseminating new developments in the field of mental health, Columbia University and SNF are working together to ensure equal access for all to quality and efficient care.
“Most existing treatments in psychiatry do not address the underlying causes of mental illness.”said Katrina Armstrong, MD, CEO of Columbia University Irving Medical Center and Dean of the Schools of Health Sciences at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. “We welcome this opportunity to develop new approaches that focus on disease processes and targeted therapies based on the unique genetic makeup and biology of each patient, with the ultimate goal of improving care for all humanity.”
Among the most important projects of the SNF Center for Precision Psychiatry & Mental Health is the Genomic Medicine for Mental Health Advancement (GeMMA) program, which is conducted in close collaboration with the NYGC. Tom Maniatis, PhD, Envin Family Science Director and NYGC Executive Director, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and Holder of the Isidore Edelman Chair at Columbia University said: “The GeMMA program will not only provide meaningful insights into individual patients, but will build on and further expand Columbia University’s pioneering work to identify causal relationships between genetic differences and brain function.” This is an important step in developing new methods of diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mental illnesses.”
The SNF Center for Psychiatry and Mental Health Excellence will also partner with the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), which is one of the largest and most innovative public mental health centers in the United States. OMH Commissioner Ann Sullivan, MD, said: “SNF’s Center for Psychiatry and Mental Health Precision marks a new era in mental health care, providing unprecedented opportunities to integrate psychiatry into clinical practice. OMH is proud to partner with Columbia University in this potentially transformative mission, and we are deeply grateful to SNF for its commitment to improving mental health globally.”
The Center will be led by Sander Markx, MD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S), and Director of the Center for Neuropsychiatric Excellence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Steven A. Kushner. , MD, PhD, VP & S Professor of Psychiatry and Principal Investigator at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Joseph Gogos, MD, PhD, VP & S Professor of Physics & Cell Biophysics, Neuroscience, and Psychiatry and Principal Investigator at Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute. , and the shared vision of the Centre: “Thanks to SNF’s generous support, we can accelerate advances in psychiatry, neuroscience, artificial intelligence and stem cell biology to revolutionize the treatment of mental illness. Through this new approach, we are committed to helping fight stigma and discrimination against people living with mental illness and improving mental health services for all.”