Message from the Interim Chair

H. Blair Simpson, MD, PhD

I am deeply honored to lead the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University’s Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons and to direct the New York State Psychiatric Institute at this time of transition.

This is a moment full of opportunity for growth and impact across our four key mission areas: to deliver world-class research, to provide compassionate patient care, to educate the next generation of clinicians and researchers, and to serve our communities. It is also a time of formidable challenges as our nation moves from a pandemic to an unprecedented mental health crisis, especially among youth and people from all ethnic and racial groups.

Equally important is our commitment to equity, inclusion, and excellence across our missions. Our Department has a preeminent academic faculty of more than 900 trained in multiple basic and clinical science disciplines. Additionally, we have incredible staff who support our missions every day. Respect for culture and understanding diversity as part of the fabric of everyday life are essential for a workforce of clinicians, educators, researchers, and staff at all levels who bring these values to our patients, trainees, and the communities we serve.

Our clinical services have never been needed more. Our nationally recognized education and training programs prepare a growing number of professionals each year, including medical students, psychiatry residents, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and research and clinical fellows, who are in great demand and will make meaningful contributions to the fields of mental health and substance use disorders.

Columbia Psychiatry ranks in the top three in National Institute of Health funding in psychiatry. Our world-class research programs include investigations into molecular structures and brain circuitry, clinical trials identifying novel treatments and disease risk in patients, and studies on how to bring the latest advances in care to mental health practitioners in communities in New York State and across the globe.

Our clinical facilities and laboratories are housed in affiliated institutions and health care systems located on the Columbia University Irving Medical Center campus, including the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, an international leader in understanding mental health and mental illness and a collaborative partner for more than 90 years. 

I encourage you to explore our website and learn about new research discoveries, innovative programs, multidisciplinary collaborations, community initiatives, and other news. I am confident that you will be inspired by the many ways we are making a difference in our local, national, and global communities.