Pragmatic Precision Psychiatry
Prof Ronald C. Kessler
McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy
Harvard Medical School
The precision medicine revolution has progressed more slowly in psychiatry than other areas of medicine. In this presentation, I argue that this is because the focus of precision psychiatry up to now has been on under-powered studies of biomarkers predicting differential response across psychotropic medications. Such studies have a very low likelihood of yielding useful information, especially given the lack of substantial variation in mechanisms of action of comparator interventions. However, there are other great unexplored opportunities for precision treatment planning in psychiatry. An overview of these opportunities is presented here along with discussion of some illustrative ongoing studies.
Speaker's brief biography:
Ronald Kessler, Ph.D. is the McNeil Family Professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School. He is a psychiatric epidemiologist whose work involves carrying out mental health needs assessment surveys, advising governments around the world on unmet need for treatment of mental disorders, and collaborating in the design and evaluation of preventive and treatment interventions for these disorders. His intervention work focuses on heterogeneity of treatment effects and developing precision treatment rules.
Kessler is the most widely cited mental health researcher in the field of psychiatry according to the Updated Science-wide Author Databases of Standardized Citation Indicators (https://elsevier.digitalcommonsdata.com/datasets/btchxktzyw/5). He is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Medicine, and American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He earned his PhD in sociology from New York University, completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin, and was on the faculty at the University of Michigan before taking his current position at Harvard Medical School in 1995.