H. Blair Simpson, MD, PhD - President

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Helen Blair Simpson 2018 _0.jpgHelen Blair- Simpson, MD, PhD

Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Irving Medical College (CUIMC), the Director of the Center for the OCD and Related Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and the co-research director of the New York Presbyterian’s Center for Youth Mental Health. Funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) since 1999, she uses clinical trials to identify the best treatments for anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and partners with basic and clinical neuroscientists to elucidate how the brain produces anxiety, obsessions, and compulsions. 

Currently, Dr. Simpson leads an NIMH-funded grant to identify brain signatures of OCD in collaboration with OCD experts around the globe. She also partners with New York State to train front-line clinicians in the early detection and treatment of OCD (https://practiceinnovations.org/initiatives/impact-ocd/overview). She serves as Associate Editor of JAMA-Psychiatry and is President-Elect of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Advisor to the World Health Organization on the classification of OCD and author of the American Psychiatric Association’s Practice Guidelines for OCD, Dr. Simpson works to transform care for people with anxiety and OCD. 

Dr. Simpson graduated summa cum laude from Yale College, completed the MD-PhD program at The Rockefeller University/Cornell University Medical College with PhD training in basic neuroscience, and trained as an intern and resident in psychiatry at Columbia University/New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She joined the Anxiety Disorders Clinic in 1996 as a research fellow, developed an independent research career as a faculty member, and served as its Director (2006-2016). While continuing her OCD research, she then served as the Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Director of Psychiatric Research at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (2017-2022) and as Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Interim Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute (2022-2023).

Dr. Simpson has been a member of ADAA since 2003 and currently serves as ADAA Board President.