The fall usually comes with back to school excitement and eager anticipation for change in leaf colors and wardrobes. Instead, the summer and spring threw our world into so much change that many of us yearn for the calm of routine and fresh brisk air of the changing seasons. Despite all that we have endured in the last seven months, we continue forward, just like you. Now mostly remote, we are working to advance research and evaluation for mental health across the state. Here are a few of our updates! 
Psychotic Disorders Conference
The virtual conference will be hosted by Cameron S. Carter, MD, C. Bryan Cameron Presidential Chair in Neuroscience, and feature the following presentations: 
Managing Treatment-Resistant Psychosis
Stephen R. Marder, MD
Dismantling Structural Racism in the Diagnoses and Management of Psychotic Disorders
Ruth S. Shim, MD, MPH
Bipolar or Schizoaffective Disorder: Does it matter?
Stephen M. Strakowski, MD
You may register for the event here. More information is available on our website.
pilot grants awarded
The goal of these pilot grants is to help position UC Davis faculty and researchers so they can compete for funding. These projects also are designed to strengthen our collaborations with community, regional, and statewide partners.
The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence funded three studies: 
The role of norepinephrine-induced neuronal plasticity in attention and learning
Timothy Hanks, assistant professor of Neurology 

Investigating the risk of dose reduction for patients prescribed long-term opioid therapy 
Alicia Agnoli, assistant professor of Family and Community Medicine 

Improving medical trainees’ empathy and effectiveness in caring for people who use drugs
Philip Summers, an Emergency Medicine resident physician
Read more about the pilot grant program here. 
RICH Research
The Behavioral Health Center of Excellence partnered with the Cannabis & Hemp Research Center to fund the following two grants: 
The development of dihydrocannabidiol (H2CBD) as a safer and more effective form of CBD
Mark Mascal, Professor of Chemistry and Michael Rogawski, Professor of Neurology and Pharmacology 
The effect of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannbinol (THC) in a congenital muscular dystrophy
Henning Langer, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Physiology & Membrane Biology, and Keith Baar, Professor of Physiology & Membrane Biology, and Agata Mossakowski, MD/PhD, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
Watch the video here, and read more about the grant program here
Maternal Infection and Brain Health
Exposure to viral infection during pregnancy increases the risk of a range of brain disorders, including autism, schizophrenia, depression, and neurodegenerative disease. 

The Center for Neuroscience's interdisciplinary team of scientists shared how maternal immune activation causes long-lasting neurodevelopmental and behavioral changes in offspring. They also described ongoing efforts to develop novel diagnostic tests and new approaches to prevent and treat brain diseases caused by maternal infection.
In case you missed the August 10th Maternal Infection and Brain Health Webinar view the video recording available for public access. 
Coping with COVID
Dr. Peter Yellowlees, Chief Wellness Officer at UC Davis Health, presented a webinar in June on strategies for coping during COVID-19. He shared how we can care for our mental wellness through the period of re-opening and respond to the world's new normal.  He explored coping in the short-term as well as how to prepare for the long-term effects of the pandemic on our mental health.
Watch a recording of the webinar here
The Learning Health Care Network (LHCN) project, led by Dr. Tara Niendam, is in its second year. This project is funded by county, state, private, and federal funding totaling $14,208,061. The LHCN primarily aims to increase the quality of mental health services, including measurable outcomes, and brings client and clinic data to clinician's fingertips using a custom application. The LHCN represents one of the first partnerships between the University of California, Davis, University of California, San Diego, and UC San Francisco with multiple California counties, building a foundation to implement and expand a collaborative and integrated Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Innovation project. Through this endeavor, all parties hope to have a larger impact on mental health services than any one county can create on their own.
The San Joaquin County Behavioral Health Services (SJCBHS) contracted the BHCOE to evaluate two of their state-funded projects: the Homeward Bound Initiative and the Progressive Housing Initiative. 

The Homeward Bound Initiative aims to address previous gaps in the substance use disorder continuum of care previously available to residents of San Joaquin County. In collaboration with the local non-profit healthcare provider Community Medical Centers (CMC), the project delivers a range of new community-based treatment services including medication-assisted treatment, substance use disorder counseling, sobering, and case management to county residents free at the point of use. The role of the BHCOE is to evaluate the impact of these services on recovery outcomes and recidivism. 

The Progressive Housing Initiative is an innovative housing program for housing insecure individuals with comorbid substance use and serious mental health disorders. The initiative adopts a modified Housing First approach, where clients are housed in a shared home at the level that corresponds to their stage of recovery. The project is being delivered as a joint effort between SJCBHS and Stockton Self Help Housing. The BHCOE is adopting a mixed-methods approach to evaluate the implementation and impact of this program.
The Progressive Housing Initiative is supported by an innovation grant from the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC), while Homeward Bound is supported both by the MHSOAC and the California Board of State and Community Corrections.

News Updates

Book Project: All About Mental Health. The Campus Council on Community and Diversity at UC Davis chose mental health as the theme for the 2020-2021 Community Book Club Project. The book selected for the year is the graphic memoir Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo & Me by the author-cartoonist Ellen Forney. Read more here. (UC Davis, 10/06/2020)
Women Leading COVID-19 Research at UC Davis. Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Ecology, Clare Cannon, brings social and psychological health issues to light through her recent research paper examining how people’s differing socio-demographic characteristics and perceived stress correlated with their resilience. Read more here. (The Aggie, 09/08/2020) 
Building research innovation that leverages the strengths of UC Davis in basic, translational and clinical neuroscience and enhancing its impact on patient care, public policy, and lives of all Californians affected by mental health challenges and their loved ones.
If you are interested in helping the Behavioral Health Center of Excellence improve the lives of those touched by mental illness, please consider making an online tax-deductible gift today. For additional giving opportunities or funding priorities, please contact Jennifer Scott, Senior Director of Development, at or (530) 752-5304. Thank you!
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