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Messages from the Executive Vice President

February 12, 2010

Changes in the Department of Psychiatry

After nearly 12 years as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Leighton Huey will be stepping down as Chair and Training Director. I want to thank Dr. Huey for his service and leadership, and am pleased to say he will continue to work with medical students and residents in Psychiatry as an attending physician, supervisor, and mentor.

Dr. Victor Hesselbrock, the Vice Chairman, has agreed to serve as Interim Chair of the department and Dr. Jonathan Covault, an associate professor of psychiatry who has been a member of the Residency Training Committee since 1999, will serve as Residency Training Director.

Dr. Huey came to the Health Center from Dartmouth in 1998 where he had been Vice Chair and Medical Director. Throughout his career, he has championed quality mental health and addiction services for individuals with psychiatric disorders, especially for those served in public sector systems. He has been a longtime advocate for new clinical delivery and training models in health care and in particular, in Psychiatry, pushing for the integration of Psychiatry with physical medicine. He has served as a national leader on workforce reform initiatives.

Since coming to UConn, Dr. Huey established the UConn Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and established the third floor Medical Psychiatry Unit.

Dr. Hesselbrock is a professor and holder of the Physicians’ Health Services endowed chair in Addiction Studies. He is a co-investigator of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (CICATS) and Principal Investigator and Scientific Director of the Health Center’s NIAAA/NIH funded Alcohol Research Center. Dr. Hesselbrock has had continuous NIH funding since 1976 for research on the identification of psychological and biological factors that contribute to the susceptibility to develop alcohol problems, including dependence. He has authored or co-authored more than 275 peer-review publications.

Dr. Covault joined the Health Center in 1997 from UConn-Storrs where he was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Physiology and Neurobiology. Dr. Covault has been involved in the GCRC since joining the Health Center faculty, serving as the Scientific Director of the GCRC Core Laboratory. He is an attending psychiatrist for several clinical services including the inpatient unit, day treatment program, consultation psychiatry and electroconvulsive therapy.

Please join me in wishing the Department of Psychiatry continued success.

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice President for Health Affairs
Dean, School of Medicine