MSUToday
Published: Feb. 9, 2016

Joint membership fosters better understanding around depression

Contact(s): Geri Kelley College of Human Medicine office: (616) 233-1678 cell: (616) 350-7976 Geri.Kelley@hc.msu.edu

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services are a new associate member of the National Network of Depression Centers, or NNDC.

The NNDC is a non-profit network of leading clinical and academic centers of excellence in the U.S. working to transform the field of depressive illnesses and related mood disorders.

The joint membership is synergistic because of several collaborations. Currently, Pine Rest is a teaching hospital of the College of Human Medicine and medical staff serves as clinical faculty in the college’s Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine. Together, the two have developed a psychiatry residency program and both institutions are already working on mental health-related research.

Pine Rest’s services cover the full spectrum of care, from 200 inpatient beds to 20 outpatient clinics treating 43,692 adults, adolescents and children annually, a large majority of whom present with depressive illnesses and related mood disorders.

“We are very excited to join this partnership between Pine Rest, MSU and the NNDC,” said Aron Sousa, interim dean of the College of Human Medicine. “The NNDC offers tremendous opportunities for collaboration with clinical and academic research throughout their national network. In addition, this partnership offers our medical students exposure to the newest approaches to treating mood disorders.”

The NNDC brings together experts from across the nation who:

  • Actively pursue initiatives in education, research, clinical care delivery, and community outreach to improve quality of life of patients suffering from mood disorders
  • Engage in interdisciplinary collaborations both within their home institution and across the network to accelerate dissemination of research
  • Identify opportunities for multi-site studies and emerging partnerships to advance the diagnosis and treatment of depressions and bipolar illnesses
  • Promote measurement based care, quality improvement, and research through the NNDC Mood Outcomes program available for use at NNDC member sites.

“MSU and Pine Rest are joining at an exciting time," said Pat Rinvelt, executive director of the NNDC. "Our growing collaborative network will be enriched by their membership and their impact will be amplified through the network, accelerating important work being done in the field of mood disorders.”

Both Vitaliy Voytenko, a Pine Rest psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the College of Human Medicine and Eric Achtyes, a Pine Rest psychiatrist who serves as the college’s director of its Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, will work together with the NNDC staff in leading the new relationship.

“We believe that by joining the NNDC, Pine Rest will both have an opportunity to tap into cutting edge advances in depression care, as well as give back to the field of behavioral health through collaboration around research and the sharing of best practices,” said Mark Eastburg, president and CEO of Pine Rest. “Our ultimate goal is to improve the health of those in the communities we serve. NNDC membership will be one important tool that will help us reach that goal.”