Meet the Department of Psychiatry’s new director of practice implementation and evaluation, Deb Hrouda (pronounced ROAD-a).

Tell us about your role as the director of practice implementation and evaluation.

I work with the Best Practices in Schizophrenia Treatment (BeST) Center, which is housed in the Department of Psychiatry. The BeST Center has a unique role at the University. We provide consultation, training and evaluation to clinicians throughout the state of Ohio who are working in the mental health field. We work with psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, counselors, peer specialists, and those in different disciplines who interact with someone who has a mental health diagnosis, especially schizophrenia spectrum.

I support all of our practices and our consultant trainers who are out in the field. We help clinicians implementing such practices as Coordinated Specialty Care for First Episode Psychosis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis, Cognitive Enhancement Therapy, Family Education and Support, Integrated Mental Health and Primary Care, and Pharmacology.

We want to figure out how these practitioners are learning and changing their practices based on our work with them.

What brought you to NEOMED?

I came to NEOMED after 14 years at a similar center at Case Western Reserve University. I had been collaborating with the BeST Center recently, so I was aware of its scope before I began working here.

How are you using a career in psychiatry to make a difference in others’ lives?

I started doing individual work with people at a mental health agency doing case management and counseling. Later I ran a partial hospitalization program where I facilitated groups, so instead of one-on-one, there was a bigger level of influence. I started teaching, then was offered the position doing consultation, training and evaluation. I have worked with individual clinicians and with local, state and national organizations, helping with policies and practices to support implementation of best practices in real-world settings. I’m trying to touch as many lives as I can.

Tell us something people might not know about you.

Criminal justice and forensics have always been part of my career. When I was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, I was fortunate enough to work with Park Dietz, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H.—a forensic psychiatrist who has consulted or testified in many of the highest-profile US criminal cases. We were studying what is now referred to as stalking. If you ever watch the rolling credits at the end of “Law and Order,” he’s credited as a consultant. The work that’s done in our Department of Psychiatry through the Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence was another reason I was attracted to NEOMED.

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