||National Network of Depression Centers to tackle depression and bipolar disorder
By: National Network of Depression Centers
Thursday, May 14, 2009
National Network of Depression Centers to tackle depression and bipolar disorder
ANN ARBOR, MI - Imagine if you could walk into a unique medical center created just for treating your depression or bipolar illness. Imagine if all of the doctors, nurses, psychologists, social workers and researchers were dedicated to you and finding personalized solutions for these disorders, known to be among the most disabling and costly in America. What would that feel like for you or your family member? What would that mean for the future of treating the disease?
For cancer patients and cardiovascular patients, centers of excellence have been at the foundation of medical progress for decades. Progress accelerated when cardiovascular and cancer centers joined with their respective peer centers to establish national "networks". These partnerships fostered breakthroughs, information sharing, and rapid dissemination of new treatments into clinical settings.
On April 20, 2007, at the Initial Organizing Meeting of the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), held at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center in Ann Arbor, MI, 14 university-based departments of psychiatry and associated multi-disciplinary colleagues agreed to join together to establish the network and to take the steps to build and integrate the clinical expertise, organizational structure, partners, information technology, and funding to form comprehensive depression centers. Over the next eighteen months, academicians from these institutions worked to define the entity of the network, adopt the network's mission and vision, formulate membership criteria, and define governance rules and policies.
On October 24, 2008, chairs and eminent researchers from 16 university and academic medical centers met for a historic Charter Adoption Ceremony at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center. The ceremony established a charter for the National Network of Depression Centers (NNDC), a 501(c) 3 organization patterned after the National Comprehensive Cancer Center Network, and signaled the formal commencement of the network.
The mission of the NNDC is "to improve the quality, effectiveness, and availability of depression and bipolar illness diagnosis, treatment and prevention so people can live better lives." The Charter members of the NNDC are:
- Columbia University
- Duke University
- Emory University
- Harvard - Brigham & Women's Hospital
- Harvard - Massachusetts General Hospital
- Harvard - McLean Hospital
- Johns Hopkins University
- Stanford University
- University of California, San Francisco - Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute
- University of Colorado Denver Comprehensive Depression Center
- University of Cincinnati-Lindner Center of HOPE
- University of Louisville
- University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center
- University of Pennsylvania
- University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
- Weill Cornell Medical College
The mood in the room during the charter adoption ceremony was one of pure elation. A sense of historical significance was palpable as onlookers smiled and cheered. "This is a symbolic day for those suffering from depression and bipolar disorder," said John Greden, M.D., the Executive Director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center, the first of its kind in the nation, founded in 2001. "With 16 centers working together, the sky is the limit. Stigma also will dramatically lessen. The ultimate goal is to have such a Center within 250 miles of every citizen in America. We can conquer these disorders."
Rabindar Subbian, MSW, MBA, Chief Operating Officer of the network, added that "[the NNDC] would not have been possible without supporters and donors such as George Wiegers, who provided a generous donation to the Michigan Depression Center to launch a Center Assistance Program and to the University of Colorado Denver to help found their Center. More such help will be needed around the country." Mr. Wiegers provided a multi-year, $5 million funding to help establish the University of Colorado Denver Comprehensive Depression Center, which opened in September 2008.
In 2009, the NNDC plans to make progress along several parallel paths. These include:
- Helping Establish Comprehensive Depression Centers Through the Center Assistance Program, the NNDC will help expand existing comprehensive depression centers and establish new centers at member sites. Eight kinds of assistance ranging from business planning to fundraising models, marketing, and membership protocols will be made available for NNDC member institutions.
- Encourage & Support Collaborative Research The network plans to encourage and fund large-scale collaborative research initiatives and develop protocols for cooperation.
- Informatics Infrastructure Large scale collaborative research has its own unique needs for informatics. The NNDC will invest in setting up informatics infrastructure that will facilitate such research, specifically aiming to create infrastructure that endures past the termination of any given initiative and is reused in subsequent efforts.
- Review & Establish Clinical Guidelines Learning from the success of the NCCN's process of developing clinical guidelines, the NNDC will review clinical guidelines in depression, bipolar and related illnesses and establish guidelines for implementation at NNDC member institutions.
- Assist integration of depression and bipolar illness care in Primary Care The NNDC will work to integrate care for depression, bipolar and related illnesses in primary care.
- Expand Education & Outreach The NNDC will expand the network's education and outreach efforts and assistance to member institutions.
For more information on the National Network of Depression Centers, please visit www.nndc.org.