Prodromal Clinic (Center of Prevention and Evaluation: COPE)

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The Center of Prevention & Evaluation (COPE) is an outpatient research program for teenagers and young adults experiencing changes in thoughts and feelings that have led to problems in relationships, school or work. Our research focuses on the causes and course of these symptoms. Individualized treatment is provided.

COPE was developed to provide a setting for the evaluation and treatment of prodromal symptoms. These are symptoms which develop relatively early in life (from childhood to young adulthood) and which resemble symptoms found in some psychiatric disorders, but occur in individuals who do not have a definite psychiatric illness. In some individuals, these symptoms may represent the early stages of a disorder which will develop over time, while in others the symptoms seem to fade with time or remain mild, and no psychiatric illness develops.

Examples of prodromal symptoms include:

  • Being socially isolated or withdrawn
  • Difficulty in functioning at school, work or home
  • Worsening personal hygiene and grooming
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts or speech
  • Loss of usual interest in activities or of motivation and energy
  • Development of unusual ideas or behaviors
  • Unusual perceptions, such as visions or hearing voices

COPE has three primary goals, reflecting our dual focus on research and clinical treatment:

  • Understanding the nature of prodromal symptoms, including how they change over time and relationships between different symptoms
  • Detailing the relationships between prodromal symptoms and a variety of clinical and biological features, such as family history, substance use or abuse, stressful life events, and the structure and function of the brain
  • Clarifying whether specific prodromal symptoms or patterns can help us predict which individuals with prodromal symptoms will eventually develop a full disorder

We believe that this work will help in the development of more specific and targeted treatments to reduce prodromal symptoms and to prevent the development of psychiatric disorders in those individuals at highest risk.

While working to understand the meaning of prodromal symptoms, the clinicians at COPE (psychiatrists and psychologists) will provide a range of treatment options for individuals who are appropriate for and desiring of treatment. Depending upon individual need, these can include:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Family support and education
  • Medication treatment

We recognize that changes in thoughts and feelings can be very confusing and even frightening. Our research clinic provides an opportunity for young people and their families to discuss these problems with mental health professionals and learn how to handle these upsetting changes.

All clinical services (with the exception of any medications that may be prescribed) are provided for up to 2.5 years and are free of charge for participants in research.

All services are confidential.



Ragy Girgis, MD

Assistant Director

Gary Brucato, PhD

Research Coordinator 

Allegra Califano, BA

COPE Researchers and Clinicians

Larry Yang, PhD


You may be eligible for participation in the COPE clinic if you are between the ages of 14 and 30 and are experiencing changes in thinking and behavior which may include:

  • withdrawing from friends and family
  • problems in school or at work
  • loss of interest or lack of motivation
  • trouble thinking clearly
  • feeling sad, angry or irritable
  • changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • less concern with appearance or clothes
  • feeling suspicious of others
  • feeling like things are unreal
  • changes in perception
  • changes in personality


Call (646) 774-5232 for more information about the clinic and to schedule an evaluation. We may ask about your interest in the program, and problems for which you are seeking help.

Financial Information

All evaluations and treatment, with the exception of medication, are provided free of charge.