Archives     Advertise     Editorial Calendar     Subscribe     Contact Us    


The Science of Mental Health


 

Dr. Richard Shelton Brings the Latest Science to Centerstone Patients

It's not uncommon for medical breakthroughs to take years, or even decades, to roll out in a real world, clinical setting. Richard Shelton, MD, hopes to change that.

In 2017 the clinical researcher was named chief executive officer of Centerstone Research Institute and chief medical officer of Centerstone America. In these roles, Shelton will advance the non-profit organization's national clinical programs and lead its efforts to transform the delivery of care for those with mental health and addiction disorders.


Filling the Gap

"I've been doing research in this field for more than 30 years, and one thing that concerns me is a huge science-to-service gap," Shelton said. "As scientists we generate lots of research data, but the evidence indicates a huge lag in time from when a discovery is made to when it can be operationalized. My objective is to take the best evidence we have in the field and apply that as quickly as we can in a clinical setting."

The biggest hurdle lies in the timely collection and summarization of data from multiple sources. For example, promising research in the complex field of pharmacogenetics has been lingering since the 1990s, although the information was only recently pulled together. Shelton also cited the treatment of addiction as an example of lagging real world application, as breakthroughs typically aren't applied evenly among patients or in the context of a larger program.

"There are a lot of legacy practices that never get updated," he said. "We want to push forward in providing that to clinicians right away. At the end of the day, I think this opportunity will give us resources and the tools we need to be able to pull information together about important treatment approaches and deliver that to clinicians as quickly as possible."


Rich Past, Exciting Future

A veteran researcher and educator, Shelton served on the faculty of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Vanderbilt University Medical Center for nearly three decades. The James G. Blakemore Research Professor, he also served as vice chair for Clinical Research in the Department of Psychiatry, as well as a professor in the Departments of Psychology and Pharmacology.

In 2012, Shelton joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the Charles Byron Ireland Professor, vice chair for Research, and head of the Mood Disorders Research Program. He will maintain his UAB appointment as he joins Centerstone.


The Future of Predictive Analysis

Shelton's research has focused primarily on the treatment of depression, examining both experimental therapeutics and predictive analysis. His hope is to identify patients earlier and intervene to prevent negative outcomes including suicide.

"The approach we're taking statistically is very similar to the approach Google takes in anticipating what you're going to type," he explained. "We think it's relatively unique to take multi-dimensional data, rather than just genetic or lab information, and push it through an algorithm that will help us identify people at higher risk of a particular problem."

It's an area the Tennessee native and father of three has always found fascinating. A graduate of East Tennessee State University, Shelton attended medical school at the University of Louisville and then headed to Boston where he became chief resident at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center (now the Longwood Program), a teaching hospital of the Harvard Medical School.

After residency, he was a research fellow at the National Institutes of Mental Health Intramural Program in Washington, D.C. before entering the faculty at Vanderbilt in 1985.

The son of an anesthesiologist, Shelton had plans to become an internist until his introduction to psychiatry. "Even in medical school so many of the typical medical conditions like hypertension were known, whereas in mental health little was understood," Shelton said. "I thought that was an incredible area, with a massive need for help. There's a tremendous amount of potential for research in mental health, and it continues to fascinate me."


Changing Minds & Outcomes

He's also seen a tremendous shift in views about mental illness over three decades, which he credits to the availability of treatment and the courage of those with mental illness to speak out.

"When I first started, mental illness was something people uniformly hid," he said. "The public perception changed when people would get on TV and say they got help. The stigma also declined as treatment got better, and people starting getting well. One reason I want to get treatment to people is because most can get better or recover and then open up about it."

He's also eager to work with Centerstone's large network of veterans programs and join them in partnering with schools across the U.S. "If you take something like depression, about 40 percent of people who will ever be depressed were depressed by age 21, and most start soon after puberty," Shelton said. "We want to back the clock up and intervene with those kids before that age." Advances in predictive analysis have also allowed researchers to identify children most at risk of mental illness, and Shelton hopes to work with pediatricians and schools to incorporate mental health into existing wellness programs.

"As CMO of Centerstone, one of my major objectives is to develop and deploy models of care for mental illness and addiction, and I want to work with clinicians to see to it that those treatments are delivered with the highest fidelity," Shelton said.

RELATED LINKS:
Centerstone
Centerstone Research Institute
Shelton Joins Centerstone

 
Share:

Related Articles:


Recent Articles

Cancer Care on the Cutting Edge

Nashville physician-scientists are helping lead the way in advancing cancer care.

Read More

The Evolution of Senior Living

The senior living industry is undergoing a makeover as baby boomers shift focus from medical-directed care to hospitality-driven services.

Read More

When Basic Science Becomes a Breakthrough

Noted immunologists joined forces at the recent International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference to discuss the importance of fostering and funding basic science.

Read More

Dr. Meredith McKean Brings New Hope, More Options for Melanoma Patients

Oncologist Meredith McKean, MD, MPH, overseeing Sarah Cannon's Melanoma Research Program

Read More

ONcology Rounds

News of note in cancer research, treatment and partnerships.

Read More

Ascension Saint Thomas Opens Cancer Center

Ascension Saint Thomas recently celebrated the grand opening of their comprehensive new cancer center on the Midtown campus.

Read More

NMGMA 10 Minute Takeaway

Medicare Part B representative from Palmetto GBA offered updates and resources to navigate compliance.

Read More

Improving Quality, Lowering Cost of Care for Seniors

Five years into the Medicare Shared Savings Program, more and more ACOs are beginning to demonstrate the ability to improve quality while lowering costs.

Read More

Planning Ahead: Patients & Power of Attorney

The time to think about a durable power of attorney is long before it's needed. Barbara Moss discusses the importance of the document in healthcare.

Read More

Council on Aging Honors Middle Tennesseans

The Council on Aging (COA) of Middle Tennessee hosted their 27th Annual Sage Awards on Oct. 29. With a belief that aging should be celebrated and embraced and that older adults have a lifetime of wisdom and experience to offer communities, the Sage Awards are presented each year to older adults who have made outstanding contributions to Middle Tennessee.

Read More

Email Print
 
 

 

 


Tags:
Behavioral Health, Bipolar Disorder, Centerstone, Centerstone Research Institute, Depression, MD, Mental Health, Richard Shelton, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Vanderbilt
Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: