recorded webinar

How Science Can Be Used to Transform Treatments for OCD

OCD Treatment Webinar
Thursday, May 06, 2021 12:00 pm
- 1:00 pm ET
CE/CME Credit

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This webinar illustrates how patient-oriented translational research advances clinical practice for OCD. First, Dr. Simpson reviews the clinical presentation of OCD and our first-line treatments followed by a discussion of how clinical trials can be used to address clinically important and relevant questions, leading to practice guidelines and treatment algorithms. Dr. Simpson highlights two urgent clinical problems and how research is addressing them. These problems include:

1) Though we have two first-line treatments that can get half of people with OCD well, most people cannot access them. This is due in part to clinicians not knowing how to diagnose and treat OCD. To address this problem, Dr. Simpson describes her research program’s partnership with the New York State Office of Mental Health to study how best to teach frontline clinicians in how to diagnose and treat OCD. This provides an example of implementation science.

2) We have two good first-line treatments but they do not work for all people and we don’t know why. This is due in large part because we do not know what causes OCD or how our treatments work on the brain. Regarding this problem, Dr. Simpson describes how we use brain imaging methods to study the brain mechanisms underlying obsessions and compulsions, with the goal of identifying robust new treatment targets.

In sum, this presentation provides a brief update/overview about OCD, while also outlining how different types of research methods (e.g., clinical trials, implementation science, neuroimaging) can be used to address important clinical problems and how the data can lead to changes in practice that will impact the mental health of our communities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the key characteristics of OCD and its first-line treatments.
  2. Participants will be able to describe what a randomized controlled trial is and the types of questions it addresses.
  3. Participants will be able to describe the science of implementation and how neuroimaging might lead to new diagnostics or targets for treatment development.

If you previously registered for and missed the live webinar, please contact [email protected].

Translating ADAA Live Webinars
Presenter(s) Biography

H. Blair Simpson, MD, PhD

Helen Blair Simpson, MD., PhD., 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 ( 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 is currently ADAA's President-Elect.

Professional Post

ADAA Continuing Education Credits for Live and On-Demand Programming

Learners complete an evaluation form to receive a certificate of completion. You must participate in the entire activity as partial credit is not available.  If you are seeking continuing education credit for a specialty not listed below, it is your responsibility to contact your licensing/certification board to determine course eligibility for your licensing/certification requirement.

Some ADAA professional webinars focused on diversity or cultural competency subject matter are eligible for the Cross-Culture Competency Diversity Credit. If a webinar is eligible for this credit, it will be reflected on your credit certificate.

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