December 21, 2018

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After a busy year for early intervention and the IEPA, we’d like to finish 2018 by once again celebrating the winners of our three major awards. These awards were all presented at the 11th International Conference on Early Intervention in Mental Health in Boston last October.

Dr. Matcheri Keshavan was awarded the inaugural Larry J. Seidman Award for outstanding mentorship. The award honours the late Dr. Seidman’s generosity with his time and intellect, which has shaped so many careers. Dr. Seidman’s wife, Ilene Seidman, presented the award to Dr. Keshavan, who was a close friend and colleague of Larry. As well as being a distinguished researcher, Dr. Keshavan has shown outstanding dedication to teaching and mentoring young scientists, doctors and psychologists throughout his long career. He is a deserving first recipient of this award.

Angelo Cocchi was a great reformer in psychiatry, and an award in his name was created in 2016 to recognise those who have made a significant contribution to the study or implementation of fidelity to an evidence-based model of early intervention for youth with psychosis.

This year the Angelo Cocchi Award went to not one individual, but a whole team – to the people behind the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) initiative in the US.

Presenter Prof Pat McGorry noted that RAISE has had a ‘catalytic effect’ on the mental health landscape in the US since it began in 2008. The research and implementation strategies carried out by RAISE resulted in the provision of evidence-based treatment for first episode psychosis in more than 200 early intervention clinics across the country.

Four driving members of the RAISE initiative were specifically recognised: Dr. John Kane of the RAISE Early Treatment Program; Dr. Lisa Dixon, of the RAISE Connection Program; Mr Paolo del Vecchio, of SAMHSA Center for Mental Health Services; and Dr. Robert Heinssen of the NIMH RAISE Initiative, who accepted the award on behalf of the team.

The third major award presented at the conference this year was the Richard J. Wyatt Award. An IEPA pioneer, Richard Jed Wyatt was a clinician, neuroscientist and educator, and a mentor to a generation of current leaders in schizophrenia research. This award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the area of early psychosis.

This year’s recipient was Dr. Jan Olav Johannessen, whose many contributions to the field include helping to found the successful TIPS project in Norway. Focusing on early detection and intervention, TIPS was a world-first systematic early detection of psychosis program, and it has managed to cut the average duration of untreated psychosis (DUP) by half in the country.

The IEPA would like to congratulate all award recipients this year. All of them have made innovative, significant and lasting contributions to the field of early intervention, improving mental health outcomes around the world.

We hope you have a happy and safe festive season and look forward to more innovation and improvements in 2019.