A Letter From The Chair:
As I write this letter in early January of 2021, I reflect on the many challenges we faced in 2020 — as a department, a health system, and a nation. We have confronted a lethal pandemic that has affected all of us in so many ways. Many have suffered illness and
loss. We have seen morbidity and mortality disproportionately impacting racial and ethnic minorities, accentuating our awareness of the consequences of systemic injustice and racism in our healthcare and political systems.
We have also countenanced a level of political acrimony, division, and unrest which frighteningly spilled over immediately into 2021 and promises to be with us for some time to come.
We face so many challenges that it is easy to become discouraged and pessimistic. At the same time, there are many signals which give us hope. The administration of effective COVID-19 vaccines is underway and holds the promise of controlling and reversing the momentum of the pandemic. The re-doubling of efforts to ensure a peaceful transition in our national government is moving forward, and efforts in many quarters, including our own Department, continue to engage in the important work to take an anti-racist stance to address systemic injustice in its myriad forms.
Throughout the past year, the Department of Psychiatry carried out important work in research, clinical care, and education, enhancing our focus on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. We did this in new and creative ways due to the impact of the pandemic, and because we committed to do our best to identify and undo discrimination now and going forward.
This newsletter highlights selections from our body of work during 2020. In particular, the broad activities of our Addiction Center, ever more important with the recognized impact of the pandemic on increasing the risk of substance use disorders in our community, are described. Department efforts to help other special populations (e.g., older adults), and curate information for the community and providers about the impact of COVID-19 on mental health are highlighted.
We also take the opportunity to introduce you to some of the faces among our faculty, staff, and trainees. The crucible that was 2020 helped us to recognize, even more, how important our department community is to the patients we treat, and to each of us within the department.
As always, our achievements are enabled and enhanced by your interest and partnership. You have supported us in so many ways and we are grateful. The establishment of a professorship designated for the chair of Psychiatry is just one recent example of that support. We are so grateful to all our donors and friends and your continued engagement is important now more than ever as we face the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
I welcome your feedback and invite you to stay connected as we strive to ever advance our work and enhance the impact of Michigan Psychiatry.
Gregory W. Dalack, M.D.
Chair, Department of Psychiatry
Daniel E. Offutt III Professor of Psychiatry