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Meet the PI Lecture May 9, 2014, 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm WPIC Auditorium

Why Does Suicidal Behavior Run in Families?

David A. Brent, MD

Academic Chief
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Endowed Chair in Suicide Studies and 
Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Epidemiology, and Clinical
and Translational Science
University of Pittsburgh



Dr. Brent was born in Rochester, NY and grew up in the Philadelphia area. He received his undergraduate education at Pennsylvania State University and graduated from Jefferson Medical College of the Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Brent trained in pediatrics at the University of Colorado, in general and child psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, and completed a master’s degree in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health. He is currently Academic Chief, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic and Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics & Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Brent co-founded and now directs Services for Teens at Risk (STAR), a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania-funded program for suicide prevention, education of professionals, and the treatment of at-risk youth and their families. In 2002 he received an Endowed Chair in Suicide Studies. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and has been recognized for his research by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the  American Psychiatric Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and received the Ruane Prize for research in child psychiatry from the National Association for Research on Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders.  His work has focused on the epidemiology of adolescent suicide, and has helped to identify the role of firearms, substance abuse, and affective disorders as risk factors for youth suicide. Consequently, he and colleagues at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic have helped to establish the role of cognitive therapy as a treatment for depressed adolescents and developed guidelines for the management of treatment resistant depression in NIMH-funded clinical trials. Dr. Brent has also focused on the familial and genetic aspects of suicide, which will be topic of this talk. In this work, he and colleagues have endeavored to understand possible intermediate phenotypes for suicidal behavior and mechanisms by which suicidal behavior is transmitted from parent to child.

 Learning Objectives:   At the conclusion of this lecture, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the adoption, twin, and family studies demonstrating that suicidal behavior runs in families.
  2. Describe the evidence to support possible mechanisms to explain unique patterns of familial transmission of suicidal behavior.
  3. Understand the possible intermediate phenotypes of suicidal behavior that may be familially transmitted.

Continuing Education Credit: The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits TM. Each physician should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Other health care professionals are awarded .15 continuing education units (CEUs), which are equal to 1.5 contact hours. In accordance with Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education requirements on disclosure, information about relationships of presenters with commercial interests (if any) will be included in materials which will be distributed at the time of the conference.  WPIC is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists.  WPIC maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.  This program is being offered for 1.5 continuing education credits. 

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