Columbia University Medical Center
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell

Behavioral Medicine

Richard Sloan, PhD, Chief

Research in the Division of Behavioral Medicine aims to understand the contribution of psychological, psychosocial, and behavioral factors to the onset, progression, and management of physical and mental disease, to identify the relevant pathophysiological mechanisms linking psychological states to disease, and to develop treatment interventions targeting these mechanisms. Projects range from the purely behavioral to the cellular, with new studies extending to gene expression.

Our research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, NARSAD, the March of Dimes, the MacArthur Foundation, and the Nathaniel Wharton Fund. Over many years, Division Chief Dr. Richard Sloan and Dr. Peter Shapiro from Consultation/Liaison Psychiatry have investigated the role the autonomic nervous system as a candidate mechanism linking psychological characteristics of depression and hostility to the pathophysiology of coronary artery disease.

Dr. Catherine Monk’s laboratory investigates the possible effects of pregnant women's stress, anxiety, and depression on fetal and infant development, specifically with respect to the future child's biobehavioral reactivity, affect regulation, and risk for psychopathology. Work by Drs. Felice Tager and Paula McKinley examines the impact of adjuvant chemotherapy on cognitive function in women with breast cancer. Dr. Ethan Gorenstein, along with Dr. Laszlo Papp of the Division of Clinical Therapeutics, investigates the novel treatment approaches to anxiety disorders in older adults. Along with colleagues in the Herbert Irving Cancer Center, Dr. Arlene King examines ethnic disparities in cancer.

Division members Drs. Karina Davidson, Joseph Schwartz, Lynn Clemow, and Matthew Burg, who have their home appointments in the Department of Medicine, collaborate in studies of psychosocial factors in hypertension. Post-doctoral fellow Archana Basu is overseeing and developing a feasibility study of a clinical trial of Child Parent Psychotherapy (Lieberman & Van Horn, 2005, 2008), using maternal depression as a risk factor for preschoolers' behavioral and health-related outcomes as part of a NIH Career Development Award. Post-doctoral fellow Julie Spicer is concerned with assessing the association of maternal stress with pregnancy outcomes and maternal neurobehavior in the early postpartum period.

The Division of Behavioral Medicine maintains an active clinical service that provides state-of-the-art, evidence-based, cognitive-behavior therapies for Medical Center patients suffering from a variety of psychological and medical conditions.  Our clinical and research activities are closely related and mutually informative. Clinical services include: Cognitive-behavior therapy for treatment of specific psychological disorders such as: panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety, phobias (including social anxiety), posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, eating disorders, behavioral disorders in children.

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