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Brief, Accessible Reviews & Clinical Commentaries  Clinical Neuroscience Conversations  |  This “Stuff” is Really Cool

Neuroscience Lab  |  Neuroscience in the Media  |  Translational Neuroscience

Integrative Case Conference  |  Progressive Case Conference  |  Expert Videos


Brief, Accessible Reviews & Clinical Commentaries

Brief, Accessible Reviews each take one concept in modern psychiatry that individuals might not be familiar with (e.g. the Default Mode Network) and explain them in a clear and accessible manner.  These short articles are peer-reviewed and published on the NNCI website.

Clinical Commentaries are brief articles (< 1500 words) written in collaboration with the journal Biological Psychiatry. Each piece is intended to capture one core concept in translational neuroscience and bring it to life for a broad audience using a narrative and accessible format. The pieces are peer-reviewed and then published as open-access, online articles via the journal.

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Clinical Neuroscience Conversations

The “Clinical Neuroscience Conversation” module includes a collection of short teaching videos, each 10 minutes or less, directly linked to a hypothetical clinical scenario. This collection of resources is intended to bridge the gap between the classroom and the clinic in order to bring an understanding of neuroscience to the day-to-day practice of psychiatry. Although these resources could be used in the classroom or for self-study, they are particularly suited to teaching in clinical settings. Loosely modeled on the “One Minute Preceptor,” these resources can be used with trainees in the moment, with minimal preparation, and adapted for discussion of real-world cases.

Participants first discuss and formulate a clinical case (either from their own clinical service or one provided). They then watch a brief educational video highlighting a core neuroscience concept related to the case at hand. Afterwards they return to the case and discuss how this new information might enrich their original formulation or treatment plan. Participants may take this a step further and role play how they might incorporate a neuroscience perspective directly into conversations with patients.

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This “Stuff” is Really Cool

These are a series of brief (~7-8 minute) talks that we conceptualize as being something of a hybrid between a Moth story, a TED talk, and a Pecha Kucha talk. Each one is designed to take one core concept in neuroscience and psychiatry and make it clear, relevant, and accessible to a clinical or lay audience. Each presenter takes part in an Effective Scientific Communication workshop and then receives extensive one-on-one coaching. These talks have been performed at regional events and as part of several national conferences.

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Neuroscience Lab

The overall goal of the “Neuroscience Lab” is to teach core neuroscience concepts though exercises that capitalize on multimodal sensory learning. These sessions include a variety of interactive approaches, such as drawing, constructing a collage, playing games, and making a brain out of playdoh.  Sessions also include online learning modules as well experiential exercises that reinforce key learning objectives (for example, to learn about the concept of reward prediction error, students participate in a taste experiment that is designed to generate positive and negative prediction errors).  In order to reinforce the importance of neuroscience to patient care and the future of psychiatry, most sessions are crafted around a clinical case or real-life scenario that mental health professionals might encounter in clinical practice. 

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Neuroscience in the Media

Popular media is saturated with stories about psychiatry and psychiatric illness. As medical professionals and mental health providers, we have all had the experience of being approached by a friend at a party — or by a patient or a family member in our clinic – who is eager to ask for our opinion on the latest media story. Being able to thoughtfully field these questions is a core professional skill.

To this end, we have developed the “Neuroscience in the Media” module. The overall goal of this course is that participants will be able to serve as ambassadors of psychiatry, psychology, and neuroscience who can thoughtfully communicate findings from the field to a lay audience.

In this interactive exercise, participants review and appraise media content on a neuroscience-related topic (for example, a recent newspaper article, blog, podcast, or tv show).  They imagine what a patient or family member might ask if they saw the piece and assess the face-validity of any media claims.  Participants then identify and appraise scientific literature related to the content and role play how they might discuss the media piece with a patient or family member.

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Translational Neuroscience

The overarching goal of the “Translational Neuroscience” course is to enhance the learner’s attitudes towards neuroscience and its applications towards clinical psychiatry. In these interactive sessions, participants independently review a clinical case and develop a treatment plan.  As a group, they discuss the various current treatment options as well as their current limitations.  Participants then break up into small groups – each reviewing a different article on a new approach to treatment informed by cutting-edge neuroscience.  They then report back on what they learned (using a worksheet guide) as part of a larger group discussion. 

The supplementary articles chosen for this course demonstrate how current neuroscience work could change the way we think about treating our patients in the future. Through this learning module we are able to think about what’s interesting & exciting about neuroscience and what could have the potential to change the field. As with many of the articles/ideas we review during the course, the majority will probably not pan out — that’s okay. The goal is to think about the ways in which current neuroscience has the potential to reshape our field.

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Integrative Case Conference

The goal of the “Integrative Case Conference” is to demonstrate how a neuroscience perspective can be incorporated into a comprehensive case formulation. Each session focuses on the presentation of a patient with a particular psychiatric illness. Participants are expected to read and formulate the case prior to the session. Time is reserved for peer supervision around case formulation. A panel of experts reflecting diverse clinical perspectives – typically including neuroscience, psychotherapy, and social psychiatry— is then asked to comment on how each clinician would approach the case material and how their formulation would affect treatment. Ample time is left for questions and for general discussion.

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Progressive Case Conference

In our “Progressive Case Conference,” students are divided into small groups, presented with the beginning of a case vignette, and given a brief period of time to answer a set of questions. Answers are discussed as a full group. Students then go back to their small groups to work on the next portion of the case. Over the course of 4-6 breakout exercises, students have the opportunity to integrate clinical management planning with key scientific concepts

Expert Videos

Our “Expert Videos” are a series of brief videos (typically 3-5 minutes) in which leading neuroscience experts describe core findings of their work and discuss what they think are the most exciting aspects of contemporary neuroscience and psychiatry.

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