Our team is as diverse as our members. We are doctors, nurses, psychologists, researchers, mental health advocates, administrators, teachers, website developers, lawyers, and writers. We are moms, dads, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, aunts, and uncles. Some of us live with depression or bipolar disorder. Some of us have family members or friends with a mood disorder. Some of us have devoted our lives to treating these illnesses.
What we all share is a deep commitment to changing how mood disorders are understood and treated in our society. We believe that if we share ideas and experiences and work together in a community of learning, we will make a difference.
Research and Website Development Team
Andrew A. Nierenberg, M.D., is director of the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. MoodNetwork’s co-principal investigator and a practicing clinician, Andrew believes that the network will be essential to filling in the gaps in our knowledge about how best to understand and treat mood disorders.
Allen Doederlein is co-principal investigator of MoodNetwork and president of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA), a national mental health advocacy organization that provides hope, help, support, and education to 3.1 million Americans who have a mood disorder. Allen is deeply committed to collaborating with peers who, like him, have a mood disorder diagnosis, so that we can transform the way we understand, treat, and experience these conditions—moving away from an attitude of merely surviving symptoms to one of creating thriving lives.
Louisa Sylvia, Ph.D., is a psychologist in the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and MoodNetwork’s director of operations. Louisa recently co-authored The Bipolar II Disorder Workbook: Managing Recurring Depression, Hypomania, & Anxiety (the first self-help workbook for individuals with bipolar II disorder) and authored The Wellness Workbook for Bipolar Disorder, which has a step-by-step, evidence-based behavioral lifestyle program to help people with bipolar disorder live healthy lives, regulate moods, and lose weight. Louisa believes that as a society, we are not meeting the needs of individuals with mood disorders, and she hopes the network will transform how we treat and prevent these conditions.
Thilo Deckersbach, Ph.D., is a psychologist in the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, an associate professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, and is MoodNetwork's director of patient-reported outcomes. Thilo recently co-authored Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Bipolar Disorder, which presents an empirically supported mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) program for healthcare professionals. Thilo's work focuses on helping people with bipolar disorder through advanced psychotherapies and investigating the effectiveness of different treatments.
Roberta Tovey, Ph.D., is a writer, editor, and teacher and MoodNetwork’s director of communications. Roberta has written, edited, and worked on website content and design for a variety of organizations and publications and is a former college professor of literature and journalism. She believes that giving people with mood disorders a voice can lead to a better understanding of—and more effective treatments for—these illnesses.
Anthony DeBenedictis, M.S.E., is a Platform Architect in the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital and oversees MoodNetwork's technical infrastructure and software development team. Anthony believes that building a digital platform that emphasizes community and collaboration as well as research is essential in both understanding and improving the lives of people with mood disorders.
Nicha Puvanich, M.S., is a web developer in the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program for MoodNetwork. Nicha is very interested in developing technological advancements to improve an individual’s experience with using internet-based tools.
Kailin Chang, M.S., is a software developer in the Bipolar Clinic and Research Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. He would like to contribute his abilities to help people with mood disorders. Kai believes that building a web platform is imperative in both research and software development in order to help improve the lives of these individuals.
Samantha Walsh, B.S., is a clinical research coordinator in the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and MoodNetwork’s project administrator. She is excited to have the opportunity to help build the MoodNetwork online community and create innovative ways to help individuals with mood disorders. Samantha hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology after her time at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Jessica Janos, B.A., is a clinical research coordinator at the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and MoodNetwork’s outreach administrator. After her time at Massachusetts General Hospital, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Jessica hopes that MoodNetwork will provide patients and caregivers with the resources to better understand their symptoms, and provide researchers and clinicians with the information to better alleviate those symptoms. She is excited to see the new and unique ways in which MoodNetwork will change mental healthcare.
Jake Dinerman, B.A., is a clinical research coordinator in the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and the administrator for the Health eHeart study. He is particularly excited about MoodNetwork as it will afford him the opportunity to help build a community for those with mood disorders. It is through such a community, which is built upon the symbiotic relationship of patients and researchers that Jake believes great advancements in quality of life can be achieved. After his time at Massachusetts General Hospital, Jake plans to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.
Steven Dufour, B.A., is a clinical research coordinator at the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and is responsible for coordinating MoodNetwork’s Cell Phone and Yoga studies. He is particularly interested in reducing gaps in access to healthcare by adapting traditional treatments into online formats that can better reach more individuals in need. Steven plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology after his time at MGH.
MoodNetwork Advisory Board
Susan Edgman-Levitan, P.A is the Executive Director of the John D. Stoeckle Center for Primary Care Innovation at Massachusetts General Hospital and advocates for the understanding of the patient's perspective on healthcare. Ms. Edgman-Levitan has been the co-principal investigator on the Harvard Consumer Assessment of Health Plans Study (CAHPS) study since 1995 and is the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Fellow for Patient and Family-Centered Care. Ms. Edgman-Levitan believes that patient engagement is essential to giving and receiving excellent care.
Rose Desilets is a program manager at the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Academy, a division of the hospital committed to provider and patient education. Rose is currently pursuing a health care MBA. She sees MoodNetwork as an opportunity to harness the power of health data to improve outcomes that matter to patients with mood disorders.
Kenneth Duckworth, M.D., is the medical director of both the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Before joining NAMI, Ken served as medical director and acting commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. As director of NAMI, he supports more active engagement and collaboration among people who live with—and thus have personal expertise about—mood disorders and researchers who bring a scientific approach to studying treatments and outcomes. In working to advance the efficacy of mood disorder treatments, these two groups are much stronger together than either would be alone. Ken has several family members with mood disorders.
Massoud Farahbakhsh, DBA, is the founding executive director of the Center for International Business and Economic Studies (CIBES) at Salem State University, where he is a professor in the management department. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2000, Massoud has participated in numerous studies of the disorder. He believes that MoodNetwork’s scope and commitment to bringing together many people with mood disorders is a novel and promising approach.
Lucinda Jewell is a leader in peer-driven mental health advocacy and the immediate past chair of the board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA). Lucinda co-founded and served as the first editor of the Boston Book Review, a political and literary magazine. As someone who has experienced both mania and depression, she is committed to transforming the mental health conversation from one about pathology and illness to one about resilience and contribution.
Lisa Johnson is an attorney for a finance and leasing institution and also holds an MBA. A patient-partner who was diagnosed with depression in her 30s, Lisa hopes that MoodNetwork’s inclusive approach will help both those with a similar diagnosis and their family members.
David H. Rubin, MD, is the Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Training Program of Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital and the Director of Postgraduate Education for Massachusetts General Hospital. He also serves as the Executive Director for the MGH Psychiatry Academy.
Susan K. Gurley, JD, is the Executive Director for the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). ADAA promotes the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety and mood disorders, OCD, and PTSD through education, practice, and research. Joining the ADAA staff in 2015, Susan has more than 15 years of leadership experience in the access to health and justice-centered nonprofit sector, international development, and higher education administration, as well as in global membership-association management. She has held senior-level positions with organizations such as Georgetown University School of Law, Equal Justice Works, the East West Management Institute, and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives. Susan has been involved in strategic planning, operations, finance, HR, communications, event planning, as well as program design, development, and delivery.
Yasamin Brown, MPH, MSN, has spent the past 15 years working for and with government, academic institutions and non-profit organizations as a dedicated public health epidemiologist, consultant and leader committed to improving the health and quality of life of individuals and communities. Having lost her father, the late Ronald Chance Brown, MD, FACP board-certified internist and Vice-President of Medical Affairs and Corporate Policy at Oxford Health Plans to suicide in 2002, she is currently the Executive Director of the National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide. Ms. Brown has attended Muhlenberg College, Yale University School of Public Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Seton Hall University College of Nursing.
Cassie De Almo is a mental health advocate who founded and started the website Breaking the Stigmas (breakingthestigmas.com) in early 2016. As someone who actively lives with Anxiety and Depression, Cassie decided to create a space were people could share their stories with mental illness and learn about the experiences of others. She has since become an active speaker visiting high schools and colleges to speak out about her story and the stigmas associated with mental illness. She hopes to reach as many young people as possible to help foster a more inclusive and supportive generation.
Former MoodNetwork Team Members
Muffy Walker, MSN, MBA, is a master’s-level psychiatric nurse and the founder and former chair of the International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF). The mother of a son with bipolar disorder, Muffy has dedicated her life to increasing public awareness and raising funds to provide programs and services for those with mental illness.
Casey Hearing was a clinical research coordinator in the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and MoodNetwork’s project administrator. Casey left the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program in June 2016 to pursue her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.
Alexandra Gold was a clinical research coordinator at the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program and MoodNetwork’s outreach administrator. Alexandra left the Massachusetts General Hospital Bipolar Clinic and Research Program in June 2016 to pursue her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.