Research Programs 

The Department has several on-going research projects that aim to reduce mental health disparities for diverse populations and underserved communities. It is a priority to seek public and private sources of grant funding for future investigations. Research activities have included the following:


Research Development Committee

Strategies to bolster research infrastructure and activities within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences have been led by efforts of the Research Development Committee (RDC). It is comprised of Dr. Kisha Holden (chair), Dr. Brian McGregor and Dr. Glenda Wrenn, These professionals convene on a bi-monthly basis and delineate approaches to enhance research within the department.


Research Proposal and Grant Submission Guide

The RDC developed and distributed a research proposal and grant submission guide to faculty and residents in the department. This document was intended to provide professionals with information to support the development of research grant applications for public and private resources. Specifically, the following topics were covered in the guide: (1) identifying research grant opportunities, (2) selecting research grants to pursue, (3) planning research grant application, (4) development and submission of research grant applications, and (5) resources to support the development of research grants.

Annual DeWitt Alfred, Jr., MD Psychiatric Research Symposium

Our department hosted the annual Dr. Alfred DeWitt Psychiatric Research Symposium. It is event to honor the founding chairperson of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The symposium was chaired by Dr. John Gaston, and co-chaired by Dr. Kisha Holden and Dr. Brian McGregor. This year, the symposium featured keynote speaker Dr. Parinda Khatri, Chief Financial Officer at Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville, Tennessee. Dr. Khatri was joined by Dr. Dominic Mack, Associate Professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of the National Center for Primary Care (NCPC), as the clinician speaker; and Ms. Christine Beatty, Strategist and Inspirational Speaker, as the community speaker. Three (3) psychiatry residents (Dr. Sanjeev Rally, Dr. Swathi Krishna, and Dr. Vipan Kumar) provided research presentations concerning work they had engaged in during residency training.

Health Disparities Research Seminar Series

The Health Disparities Research Seminar Series is a regularly scheduled opportunity for intellectual discourse among MSM’s multi-disciplinary faculty, students, residents, and fellows. Presentations will be provided by professionals regarding a myriad of health, mental health, and public health research topics that are relevant to diverse populations. We will strive to delineate better understanding about psychosocial, socio-cultural, and environmental issues that contribute to health disparities; and identify innovative and emerging models that may be useful for improving the well-being of communities. The seminar series is jointly sponsored by the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Center of Excellence on Health Disparities, Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, the Master of Public Health program, and National Center for Primary Care. In recognition of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute’s 10 Year Anniversary, the seminar series was renamed the David Satcher, MD, PhD Health Equity Seminar Series.

Research Grants

Faculty members have secured several research grant funds from public and private sources. Some current funding include:

  • Braithwaite, R. (PI), Campus and Community HIV and Addiction Prevention (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 3 years, $900,000)
  • Holden, K. (Co-PI), Wrenn, G. (Core Director), and McGregor, B. (Core Director). Building a Culture of Health through Models of Leadership, Discovery, and Equity (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 18 months, $3,000,000)
  • Holden, K. (PI). Philanthropic Donation to Support Community-Based Programs and Education (Medtronic Philanthropy, 1 year, $10,000)
  • Holden, K. (Co-PI) and Wrenn, G. (Co-I). Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH). (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Community Health, 3 years, $3,000,000)
  • Holden, K. (PI), Wrenn, G. (Co-I), and McGregor, B. (Co-I). Development of an Evidence-based, Culturally Centered Integrated Care Model to Address Depression and Selected Co-Occurring Chronic Diseases In a Community Based Primary Healthcare Center: Implications for Health Policy (National Institutes of Health/National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities 1U54MD008173, 5 years, $1,000,000)
  • Wrenn, G. (PD). Integrated Care Health Leadership Program. (Kaiser Permanente National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, 3 years, $582,999)
  • Mattox, G. (PI), Historically Black Colleges and Universities Center for Excellence in Behavioral Health (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), 3 years, $1,500,000
  • Wrenn, G. (PI). Early Childhood Policy to Reduce Health Disparities. (National Institutes of Health/National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities 1U54MD008173, 5 years, $2,000,000)
  • Wrenn, G. (Co-I). Smart and Secure Children. (National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, 5 years)
  • McGregor, B. and Wrenn, G. (Co-PIs). Fulton County Justice Reinvestment Initiative (Contract, 3 months, $92,000).

Concerning publications, faculty authors have been featured in various academic journals including the Journal of the National Medical Association, Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved, Health Promotion Practice, Psychiatric Annals, American Journal of Public Health, Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychological Services and others.


Mentoring and Advising

Senior faculty research investigators have established a culture of support and provided guidance to junior faculty and residents concerning the development of mental health research. We intend to offer more structured activities on a monthly basis, including research writing workshops and training on a myriad of research related topics (i.e., using secondary data sets, grantsmanship, quantitative and qualitative data analyses etc.).