Reflections on the 2nd Annual NARSAD Silver Ribbon Symposium and Gala

Becky Editor
  • The energy inside the auditorium was nearly tangible as audience members awaited the start of the symposium. The culmination of eight weeks of planning - and years of research - brought consumers, clinicians and researchers together for a scientific research symposium sponsored by NARSAD, the Mental Health Research Association. The event featured leading investigators and promising young researchers, who presented their findings onr some of the most cutting-edge topics in brain research.


    The Second Annual Silver Ribbon Symposium: New Directions and Future Trends in Psychiatric Disorder Research provided the opportunity for patients and psychiatrists to collaborate in a shared learning experience exploring trends and goals in mental health research and treatment. The event was characterized by an open and collegiate atmosphere, which seemed to subtly reinforce the increasingly popular understanding that patients should take an active role in understanding their conditions and treatment.

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    Dr. Tyrone Cannon, whose research strives to discover the causes of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, moderated the symposium. Among his many honors, Dr. Cannon was awarded the top prize for psychiatric research by NARSAD in 2006. Four investigators, including Dr. Carrie Bearden, Dr. Cameron Carter, Dr. David Glahn and Dr. Carol Prescott, presented on topics including, respectively, preventing psychosis, understanding disorganized thought and behavior in schizophrenia, examining the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and analyzing the high rate of comorbidity between alcoholism and depression.


    THCN had the opportunity to attend this symposium as well as the gala, held the following evening at the Beverly Hilton. The gala featured a silent auction of artworks collected through NARSAD Artworks, a non-profit organization that raises funds for mental health research by showcasing quality works of art.


    Gala attendees included:


    Dr. Kay Jamison, professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and co-author with Dr. Fred Goodwin of the standard medical text on bipolar disorder. Dr. Jamison is considered by many to be the leading voice on bipolar disorder. She was presented with the Silver Ribbon Award for her many achievements in this field.


    Thom Bierdz, who uses art to help heal from the tragic death of his mother at the hands of a schizophrenic brother in 1989 and later, the suicide of another brother who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He completed a live painting during the event, which was auctioned off at the conclusion of the gala.


    Joe Greco, director of Canvas, an autobiographical film about a family learning to cope with schizophrenia.


    Actress Linda Hamilton, well-known for her leading roles in Terminator 2 and Beauty and the Beast, who has become an outspoken advocate since her diagnosis of bipolar disorder.


    Dr. Drew Pinsky, medical doctor and host of Loveline, a popular radio show that offers relationship and medical advice to listeners.


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    And more.


    Stay tuned, as personal interviews and video footage from the events will be posted soon!



    Photo Gallery




    Dr. Tyrone Cannon, Moderator




    Geoff Birkett, NARSAD President




    Artist Thom Bierdz,painting live at the Gala




    Joe Greco, Director of Canvas


    Actress and Advocate Linda Hamilton

    NARSAD is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for the research, treatment and prevention of brain disorders. Formerly the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression, NARSAD has expanded beyond schizophrenia and depression to become the world's largest donor-supported organization, raising funds for scientific research in bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, childhood disorders and other mental health conditions.


    Learn more about NARSAD, in the words of NIMH Director Dr. Thomas Insel here: NARSAD: Fueling Research and Innovation.


Published On: December 06, 2007