Welcome to the Department of Psychiatry
We are a unique community, pursuing a singular mission - to provide creative, innovative solutions to the brain health problems of one of the most underserved communities in the country here in the Rio Grande Valley as well as elsewhere in the world.
Our faculty, trainees and students will seek the frontiers of brain science while working on solving the most puzzling problem of all, which is the tailoring of the best knowledge to each individual patient throughout his/her lifespan. We obey the ethos of our art with compassion and altruism.
To attain this goal, we have established strong and extensive cooperative arrangements with multiple community partners in the Valley, and internationally to engage, learn and contribute to global brain health. We have a strong infrastructure of talent and resources available locally and are funded to carry out research in Asia and the Americas on the interactions between genetics and environment in the cause and course of complex illnesses. And, past the boundaries of our world, we look at space as the ultimate frontier, engaging in collaborations with outside researchers to seek solutions to the space adaptation syndrome that may be crucial to the success of future space exploration.
To improve the quality of health of our communities and reduce health care disparities through innovation and excellence in family medicine education, research, clinical practice, and community service.
Our vision for research encompasses:
- Behavioral sciences
- Brain medicine and engineering to focus on identifying factors contributing to individual risk
- Dissecting pathways to disease and developing treatments aimed at prevention
- Disease modification and brain repair
Our laboratories support studies ranging from the genetics and molecular mechanisms underlying neuropsychiatric disorders to global research on predictors of risk, including the development of new therapies with neuromodulation techniques.
We are particularly proud of our innovation in educational programs, with a focus on the use of communication sciences and educational technology to promote the integration of knowledge throughout the lifespan and across disciplines, from undergraduates, medical students, and residents in psychiatry, neurology, and family medicine. We are actively working on adding other disciplines to this mix.
Our clinical programs are nascent, but already span community outreach, acute and emergency treatment, in-patient hospitalization, general outpatient services, and various specialized services, with current plans to add partial and intensive outpatient programs in the near future.
If you are drawn by the frontier spirit, we want to welcome you to our team in the Rio Grande Valley.
Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC) Partnership
The Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium (TCMHCC) was created by the Texas Legislature to leverage the expertise and capacity of health-related institutions of higher education to address urgent mental health challenges, as well as the current mental health care system in the State of Texas. Comprised of the following five initiatives, UTRGV's partnership with TCMHCC has been designed to bridge the gap between the lack of mental health services and our local underage population:
Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT):
TCHATT provides no-cost telehealth services in schools with the aim to increase access and reduce wait time for mental health services for children across Texas. TCHATT is designed to provide short term school-based access to a limited number of telehealth visits with a child and adolescent mental health professional for high-risk children and adolescents identified by school personnel.
Child Psychiatry Access Network (CPAN):
CPAN is a free, government funded venture that was created to provide psychiatric care consultations to pediatricians and primary care providers across the state of Texas. Our program provides healthcare professionals in our community access to consultations with a child psychiatrist about behavioral or mental health concerns regarding children or adolescents.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship (CAP):
Expecting its first class of two fellows in July of 2023, the CAP Fellowship Program is unique in that it is the first psychiatric subspecialty fellowship at UTRGV as well as the first CAP fellowship program in the South Texas border region. As a result, it will increase the number of medical professionals that specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders and associated behavioral health issues affecting children and adolescents in the Rio Grande Valley.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (UTRGV SOM) Department of Psychiatry is involved in two Texas statewide research pertinent to advancing the delivery of child and adolescent mental health services:
- Youth Depression and Suicide Research Network (YDSRN)
- Childhood Trauma Research Network (CTRN)
The goals of the research networks are to better understand and improve mental health services to address youth trauma, depression, and suicide, and to identify regional and statewide service deliver) gaps to inform policymakers and to improve the mental health of children and youth in Texas. Each of the networks is comprised of research teams from 12 participating Academic Research Medical Centers, known as "research nodes" across Texas.
Community Psychiatry Workforce Expansion (CPWE):
The CPWE provides full-time psychiatrists to provide patient care at facilities operated by community mental health providers. Through the CPWE initiative, UTRGV will:
- Collaborate with local mental health authorities to expand patient access to mental health care clinicians.
- Develop training opportunities for residents.
- Increase the number of Texas-trained psychiatry fellows/residents who have experience working in a public mental health system upon completion of their residencies.
Diana Chapa, MD
Diana Chapa, MD
Psychiatry Department Chair
Assistant Professor of Medicine