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Pitt Symposium to Focus on Early Intervention in Treatment of Psychotic Disorders

PITTSBURGH, May 14, 2012 – A daylong symposium will focus on research that suggests early identification and intervention may positively influence outcomes in psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.


The Search for Treatments in Early Psychosis Seventh Biennial Symposium, which will be held on Friday, May 18, will bring together international experts who will present findings concerning developmental changes relevant to psychotic disorders, factors that could contribute to psychosis onset, and identification and interventions of early psychosis. Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of UPMC’s (WPIC) Services for the Treatment of Early Psychosis (STEP) Clinic and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine’s Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences are hosting the event.


Schizophrenia spectrum disorders have an age of onset that typically spans from late adolescence to early adulthood. The onset occurs in the context of considerable cognitive and neurobiologic developmental changes that precede and overlap with the clinical manifestation of the disorder.


The symposium aims to address the cognitive and brain changes that occur during human development that provide the context for early psychosis. The event’s speakers will describe the factors that could alter development and contribute to psychosis and will outline recent findings regarding early identification and interventions for psychosis.   


Symposium speakers will include:

  • Vaibhav A. Diwadkar, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences and co-director of the Division of Brain Research and Imaging Neuroscience at Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Deepak Cyril D’Souza, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine and a director at VA Connecticut HealthCare System in New Haven, Conn.
  • Anthony Grace, Ph.D., distinguished professor of neuroscience and professor of psychiatry and psychology, University of Pittsburgh
  • David A. Lewis, M.D., UPMC professor in translational neuroscience and chair, Department of Psychiatry at Pitt’s School of Medicine and medical director and director of research at WPIC 
  • Beatriz Luna, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and psychology at Pitt’s School of Medicine and director of the Laboratory of Neurocognitive Development at WPIC
  • Kanasale Prasad, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry in Pitt’s School of Medicine
  • Judith Rapoport, M.D., distinguished investigator and chief of the child psychiatry branch of the National Institute of Mental Health
  • Scott Schobel, M.D., M.Sc., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and medical director of the Center of Prevention and Evaluation at New York State Psychiatric Institute

While the symposiums’ target audience includes psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, mental health professionals and students, mental health consumers and their families are encouraged to attend. 


Note: Members of the media who are interested in attending the symposium should contact Allison Schlesinger, manager of media relations at UPMC, at 412-523-6922 or

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