Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The COVID-19 pandemic has marked all of us, and it has been my privilege to serve as the Chair of this department as we worked to combat the mental health consequences. I am incredibly proud of the way our department attended to the psychological needs of the Mount Sinai Health System’s 43,000 employees and to the needs of New York City, as rates of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse increased.

As a response to the pandemic, we created a Center for Stress, Resilience, and Personal Growth to provide mental health services to our staff, faculty, students, and trainees. Services include individualized assessments, planning, and coaching; resiliency workshops; and treatment referrals. We also established an on-the-ground mental health liaison program to proactively help our frontline workers mitigate psychological issues. This program was made up entirely of volunteer faculty, social workers, and residents who displayed enormous strength of character while sacrificing their time and energy.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our faculty and clinicians continued to move the needle on understanding and treating mental health disorders. We pride ourselves on being a national model for translating basic neuroscience discoveries into patient care advances. We envision a time when we will accurately diagnose a psychiatric disorder using a combination of biomarkers and clinical indicators, and then select a personalized treatment (whether biological or behavioral) that can prevent, cure, or alter the course of an illness. Although the full payoff may be years away, we are not wasting any time in bringing state-of-the-art treatment to our patients.

Our researchers are blazing new trails in the field, and we use the most robust, evidence-based treatments available to care for our patients and teach these to our trainees. Our culture of multidisciplinary collaboration is a key ingredient in our success, in particular the Friedman Brain Institute, which links the brain-focused clinical departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, and Neurosurgery with the basic sciences via the Department of Neuroscience. Our close affiliation with the Bronx VA hospital also offers many opportunities for pioneering research, patient care, and training.

Finally, I want to emphasize that our department is committed to addressing racism and its effects on our faculty, staff, students, trainees, patients, visitors, and the communities we serve. Learn about the Psychiatry DEI Steering Committee here, and the Mount Sinai Office of Diversity and Inclusion here, including our task force to address racism.

Whether you want to learn about our research, treatment, or educational programs, as a scientist, colleague, patient, or trainee, we hope you find the visit to our website informative. Thank you for visiting, and please think of Mount Sinai Psychiatry as your portal to the latest research on, and treatment of, major mental disorders.

René S. Kahn, MD, PhD
Esther and Joseph Klingenstein Professor & Chair,
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health System