August 13, 2008

Unique Collaborative Alliance Prepares to Launch a Performance Improvement Initiative to Address Healthcare Gaps for Treatment- Resistant Depression

MJ Consulting Group

Seanne Murray, 201-984-1349

[email protected]

The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), and Baylor College of Medicine, along with MJ Consulting Group, announced today the development of a curriculum-based, performance improvement initiative for better identification, diagnosis and management of people living with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). The initiative is designed for healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and psychiatrists.

"Currently about 15% to 20% of patients don't respond to standard therapy for depression and these data don't capture all patients with TRD, since there isn't really a clear definition of what TRD is, which leads providers to misdiagnose and/or not provide proper management of the condition. Consequently, educating primary care providers, nurses and psychiatrists on identifying, diagnosing and managing TRD appropriately is crucial." states Rakesh Jain, MD, MPH, Director of Psychopharmacology Research at R/D Clinical Research in Lake Jackson, Texas.

"Treatment resistant depression is a common problem, where a relative minority of patients are completely well on their first regimen. Several studies have shown that incomplete recovery from depression leads to increased risk of relapse and poorer outcomes," Glenn Treisman, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He adds, "Aggressive treatment of refractory depression is a priority for our field, but the options for treating patients are still poorly defined. Because depression is so common, research and education regarding difficult to treat depression should be one of our highest priorities."

Through inter-organizational collaboration, the goal for the initiative is to increase the identification and recognition of TRD, as well as the utilization of appropriate therapeutic strategies among specific healthcare providers who manage those with TRD. The initiative will provide patient-level outcomes, through a performance improvement component, utilizing nationally recognized clinical measures on how such education was able to improve healthcare provider knowledge, skill and competency.

"The collaboration between DBSA and these prestigious organizations will ensure that providers receive education that will enhance their overall approach and communication with those living with TRD," states Sue Bergeson, DBSA President.

Seanne Murray, Esq., CEO of MJ Consulting Group, added that "At MJ, we believe that a critical success factor in the development and implementation of effective medical education resides in a collaborative framework, where each partner brings their core competencies to the table."

Steve Garlow, MD, PhD, Director of Adult Mental Health Services at Emory University in Atlanta, sheds light on the tragedy of TRD and the need for this type of education: "For many of these patients, having been in pain for such a long time, a certain desperation develops for even a modest degree of relief. It is this desperation that also leads to the suicide risk in these individuals, especially after having failed yet another course of treatment. Having a coherent, reasoned and evidence-based strategy to approach the treatment of all forms of depression especially the resistant forms is essential if we want to have a positive impact in the lives of our patients."

About Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

In July 2007, US News & World Report ranked The Johns Hopkins Hospital #1 among American hospitals for the 17th consecutive year. Johns Hopkins remains the nation's leading medical school recipient of research funds from the National Institutes of Health. In 2006, the Johns Hopkins Office of CME received "Accreditation with Commendation" for 6 years, the highest ranking issued by the ACCME. Hopkins CME has been recognized as a center for "Best Practices" as a resource to ACCME-accredited providers.

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About Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

DBSA is the leading consumer-directed national organization focusing on the most prevalent mental illnesses, depression and bipolar disorders. The organization fosters an environment of understanding about the impact and management of these life- threatening illnesses by providing knowledge-based tools and information written in language the general public can understand. DBSA supports research to promote more effective, tolerable treatments and person-centered care. The organization works to ensure that people living with mental illness are treated equitably.

To learn more about DBSA, please visit our organizational web site at

About Baylor College of Medicine

Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, the only private medical school in the greater southwest, is recognized as a premiere academic health science center and is known for excellence in education, research, and patient care. For 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked BCM 13th overall among the nation's top medical schools for research and 7th for primary care. BCM also is listed 13th among all U.S. medical schools for National Institutes of Health funding, and No. 2 in the nation in federal funding for research and development in the biological sciences at universities and colleges by the National Science Foundation. During the reaccreditation process in March 2007, BCM received "Accreditation with Commendation" for exemplary performance in fulfilling the accreditation requirements as a provider of continuing medical education.

For additional information about Baylor College of Medicine, please visit the Web site at or

About The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing

The Institute for Johns Hopkins Nursing designs and delivers leading-edge continuing education for nurses. The Institute accesses the expertise of world-renowned faculty, researchers and educators from both The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

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About MJ Consulting Group

MJ Consulting Group (MJ) collaborates with academic medical centers of excellence, nonprofit associations and medical education companies dedicated to advancing medical education. MJ's mission is to deliver communications strategies that improve the knowledge, skills and clinical behavior of healthcare providers and raise awareness of educational gaps and needs to positively impact patient care and outcomes.

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