Emory/Grady HIV mental health program receives top award

The American Psychiatric Association has presented its coveted Gold Award to the Grady HIV/AIDS Mental Health Program of Atlanta, a collaborative project of the Grady Health System Infectious Disease Program and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the medical school. The Gold Award is presented each year to recognize one program that has made an outstanding contribution to the mental health field. The Grady HIV/AIDS Mental Health Program was chosen because of its "extraordinary commitment to patients with HIV and AIDS through provision of comprehensive and compassionate patient care, aggressive education of mental health care providers and promotion of mental health services in community AIDS service agencies."

The Grady HIV/AIDS Mental Health Program is directed by J. Stephen McDaniel, assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He and his colleagues began psychiatric services to Grady AIDS patients on a volunteer basis in 1990. In 1992, federal funding was secured and the program was officially established. "This is one of a very small number of programs in the country that provides `one-stop shopping' for HIV/AIDS patients," said McDaniel. "Our program provides a comprehensive multidisciplinary mental health care system that has become a national model for other medical centers across the country."

The program offesr services to all Grady HIV/AIDS patients that range from post-test counseling to treatment for the families of patients. It offers help to staff members who deal with the daily stress of working with AIDS patients and supports a project in the state of Georgia that trains traditional, as well as non-traditional mental health care providers, about HIV and AIDS.

"The multidisciplinary team of physicians, psychologists, social workers and other health care providers has worked together to create a novel program for patients infected by HIV, based both on the best medical research data available and the needs of the patients," said Charles Nemeroff, Reunette W. Harris Professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. "The education, service and research components of this program area are all top notch."

-- Kathi Ovnic

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