The Columbia Conference on Mental Health Jounralism and Media - Drew Ramsey MD
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Date(s) - 01/24/2019
8:00 am - 5:00 pm

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Next Frontiers & New Approaches to Age-Old Challenges: A symposium presented by Columbia’s School of Journalism and Department of Psychiatry for journalists as well as treatment professionals and researchers who communicate with the public on mental health and addiction issues.


The event is free. Seating is limited to those who have pre-registered for the event.

To pre-register*, please e-mail Iris Delgado with the following information:

  • Last Name, First Name
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Are you a journalist or an academic?
  • What is your academic or journalistic affiliation?

*Registration is not guaranteed. Working journalists with affiliations and Mental Health professionals who write for the public will get first preference.*

This event will be livestreamed, but we ask that before you subscribe to the livestream link below, please fill out the registration above so we have a list of those interested in Columbia Mental Health Journalism & Media.   

The livestream link is:


8:00-8:30: Speaker and participant check-in

8:30: Brief welcomes from leaders of the two Columbia schools presenting event.

8:45: Brief overview of the day, and the challenges of mental health and addiction journalism, Stephen Fried, mental health journalist and bestselling author, Columbia and Penn, conference coordinator (includes introduction of conference coordinators Meg Kissinger, mental health investigative reporter and editor, Columbia Journalism; Dr. Drew Ramsey, psychiatrist, Columbia, author, Medscape editorial board)

9:00: “I Walk the Line: Challenges and Rewards of a Psychiatrist/Journalist,” Dr. Richard Friedman, New York Times mental health columnist, psychiatrist, Weill-Cornell, (9:30 Q&A)

9:45: “Innovative Mental Health Journalism & Media,” panelist include Sarah Smith, Carter Center Mental Health Journalism Fellow, MH investigative reporter at Houston Chronicle; Dr. Ali Mattu, clinical psychologist, Columbia, host of the “The Psych Show”; Taylor Eldridge, Ida B. Wells Fellow at the Investigative Fund; Dr. Vania Manipod, California psychiatrist who promotes mental health through social media; moderated by Dr. Drew Ramsey (10:25 Q&A)

10:45-10:59: Short break

11:00: “Media Coverage on Mental Illness in the Criminal Justice System: Finding the ‘Right’ Story to Drive Change,” Dr. Elizabeth Ford, Chief of Psychiatry for Correctional Services of NYC, author (11:30 Q&A)

11:45: Participants pick up box lunch and return to seats

12:00: A Conversation with Andrew Solomon, bestselling author, Columbia Psychiatry, moderated by Stephen Fried. (12:40 Q&A)

1:00: “Lessons from the Edgiest Stories of Mental Illness and Addiction,” panelists include Charles Ornstein, ProPublica senior editor, Columbia Journalism, Dr. Mark Olfson, psychiatrist, mental health epidemiologist, Columbia; Tom Jennings, producer, Frontline; Katharine Q. Seelye, New York Times reporter on opiate crisis, obituary writer; Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica reporter on housing issues with serious mental illness; moderated by Meg Kissinger (1:45 Q&A)

2:00: “Real People, Real Struggles, Real Stories: Deepening Coverage by Really Getting the Patient’s Point of View” Marya Hornbacher, bestselling author (2:30 Q&A)

2:45: “Do Journalists and Advocates Understand Each Other’s Roles (and Jobs)?” panelists include Dr. Dan Reidenberg from the National Council on Suicide Prevention; Sarah Nordgren, Deputy Managing Editor for Health and Science at AP, Dr. Sally Satel of the American Enterprise Institute; Pam Belluck, New York Times health and science reporter; Dr. Lloyd Sederer, psychiatrist and editor, Columbia/Mailman School of Public Health; moderated by Stephen Fried (3:20 Q&A)

3:40: Break

3:50: “Biography and Psychopathology: Lessons from Robert Lowell’s Mental Illness, Life and Work,” Kay Redfield Jamison, bestselling author, Johns Hopkins Psychiatry, (4:15 Q&A)

4:30-5:00: Wrap-up conversation with Stephen Fried, Meg Kissinger and Dr. Drew Ramsey


Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon, Ph.D., is a writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology; winner of the National Book Award; and an activist in LGBT rights, mental health, and the arts. He is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and President of PEN American Center.

Solomon’s memoir, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner, 2001), won the 2001 National Book Award for Nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize, and is included in the London Times One Hundred Best Books of the Decade. It was named a Notable Book by both the New York Times and the American Library Association, and was recognized with the Books for a Better Life Award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society; the Ken Book Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City; the Mind Book of the Year; the Lambda Literary Award for Autobiography/Memoir; and Quality Paperback Book Club’s New Visions Award. Following publication of The Noonday Demon, Solomon was honored with the Dr. Albert J. Solnit Memorial Award from Fellowship Place; the Voice of Mental Health Award from the Jed Foundation and the National Mental Health Association (now Mental Health America); the Prism Award of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (now the Depression & Bipolar Support Alliance); the Erasing the Stigma Leadership Award from Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services; the Charles T. Rubey L.O.S.S. Award from the Karla Smith Foundation; and the Silvano Arieti Award from the William Alanson White Institute.

Kay Redfield Jamison

Kay Redfield Jamison is the Dalio Professor in Mood Disorders and a professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as an honorary professor of English at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. She is the author of the national best sellers An Unquiet Mind, Night Falls Fast, and Touched with Fire, and is the coauthor of the standard medical text on bipolar disorder, Manic-Depressive Illness: Bipolar Disorders and Recurrent Depression. Dr. Jamison is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and is a recipient of the Lewis Thomas Prize, the Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health from the National Academy of Medicine, and a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship. Her most recent book, Robert Lowell: Setting the River on Fire, was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for biography in 2018.

Dr. Richard Friedman

Dr. Friedman is Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Director of the Psychopharmacology Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Friedman has a particular interest and expertise in the psychopharmacology and neurobiology of mood disorders, and in particular, treatment-resistant depression.

Dr. Friedman has authored publications in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Psychiatry, among others. He is also a contributing Op-Ed writer at the New York Times where he writes on mental health, addiction, human behavior, and neuroscience.

Dr. Elizabeth Ford

Elizabeth Ford, M.D. had been the Chief of Psychiatry for Correctional Health Services for New York City’s Health + Hospitals for the past 4 years and is responsible for the mental health care of men and women incarcerated in the New York City jails, including Rikers Island. Formerly the Director of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry at Bellevue Hospital Center and the Training Director for the New York University School of Medicine’s Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, she has spent years specializing in the treatment of individuals with serious mental illness in the criminal justice system.

Dr. Ford is also an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine and teaches and writes extensively about a broad array of topics related to the interface of mental health, law, and correctional settings, including the mental health impact of incarceration. She has authored and co-authored numerous academic articles and books, including a textbook about significant U.S. legal cases related to psychiatry and the law and the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s guidelines regarding psychiatric services in jails and prisons. Her most recent book, a memoir entitled Sometimes Amazing Things Happen: Heartbreak and Hope on the Bellevue Hospital Psychiatric Prison Ward, was published in 2017.

Dr. Ford has appeared on national radio and television, including NPR’s Fresh Air and Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, and has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Time magazine.

Charles Ornstein

Charles Ornstein is a senior editor at ProPublica, overseeing the Local Reporting Network. From 2008 to 2017, he was a senior reporter covering health care and the pharmaceutical industry. In 2004, he and Tracy Weber were lead authors on a series on Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, a troubled hospital in South Los Angeles. The articles won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service. In 2009, he and Weber worked on a series of stories that detailed serious failures in oversight by the California Board of Registered Nursing and nursing boards around the country. The work was a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Ornstein is a past president of the Association of Health Care Journalists and an adjunct journalism professor at Columbia University.

(From ProPublica)

Marya Hornbacher

Marya Hornbacher is an award-winning journalist and bestselling author. Marya is the recipient of a host of awards for her books, journalism, essays, and poetry. Shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for her first book, Marya has spent a prolific twenty-odd years writing and teaching across genres. She was recently honored with the Annie Dillard Award in Creative Nonfiction. Marya is the author of several successful non-fiction titles, including Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia (1998) and Madness: A Bipolar Life (2008). Her next book, We’ve Been Healing All Along: Real Lives and Real Strategies for Mental Health Recovery, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in early 2019.

Katharine Q. Seelye

Katharine Q. Seelye has covered national news and politics for The New York Times since 1994. She has served since 2012 as the paper’s New England bureau chief, based in Boston. She has covered some of the region’s defining events, including the opioid epidemic, the Whitey Bulger trial, the Boston Marathon bombing and its aftermath and, of course, the record snowfall in the winter of 2015, when she managed to quote James Joyce.

Pam Belluck

Pam Belluck is an award-winning health and science writer for The New York Times, whose recent honors include sharing a Pulitzer Prize and other national awards for coverage of Ebola. She was selected to be a Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University, is a member of the TEDMED Editorial Advisory Board, served on a journalism advisory committee for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a Knight Journalism Fellowship. Her work has been chosen for The Best American Science Writing. She is author of the acclaimed book Island Practice, a true tale about a colorful, contrarian doctor on Nantucket whose patients have included a hermit living in a vine igloo, Kennedys, Jimmy Buffet, and a sheep with a prolapsed uterus. Belluck has given talks in many venues, from the National Academy of Sciences to the Galapagos Islands. She is also a jazz flutist.

Dr. Sally Satel

Sally Satel, M.D., a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine, examines mental health policy as well as political trends in medicine. Her publications include PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine (Basic Books, 2001); The Health Disparities Myth (AEI Press, 2006); When Altruism Isn’t Enough: The Case for Compensating Organ Donors (AEI Press, 2009); and One Nation Under Therapy (St. Martin’s Press, 2005), coauthored with Christina Hoff Sommers. Her recent book, Brainwashed – The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience (Basic, 2013) with Scott Lilienfeld, was a 2014 finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science.

Dr. Mark Olfson

Mark Olfson, MD, MPH currently directs several studies on the delivery of mental health services in community settings with an emphasis on the pharmacoepidemiology of psychotic and mood disorders. His research interests focus on national patterns and trends in the utilization of mental health services and quality of care. Dr. Olfson serves as Co-Director of the AHRQ Center for Education and Research on Mental Health Therapeutics and the Scientific Director of Columbia University TeenScreen.

Sarah Nordgren

Sarah Nordgren is deputy managing editor at Associated Press, overseeing all coverage of health, science & business. She was previously AP’s director of U.S. operations and executive director of AP Media Editors, and deputy director of state news.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is an investigative reporter for the Houston Chronicle and is a recent recipient of the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship Mental Health Journalism. She has written for the Associated Press, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlantic, National Journal magazine, POLITICO and ProPublica. She reports on mental health, criminal justice, religion, and sexual violence.

Dr. Lloyd Sederer

Dr. Lloyd is an Adjunct Professor at the Columbia/Mailman School of Public Health and Chief Medical Officer of the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), the nation’s largest state mental health system.

In 2013, Dr. Lloyd was given the Irma Bland Award for Excellence in Teaching Residents by the American Psychiatric Association, which in 2009 recognized him as the Psychiatric Administrator of the Year. He also has been awarded a Scholar-in-Residence grant by the Rockefeller Foundation and an Exemplary Psychiatrist award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He has published seven books for professional audiences and five books for lay audiences, as well as 500 articles in medical journals, non-medical publications and book, film, TV and theatre reviews including in, The New York Times/The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The NY Daily News, The Washington, Commonweal Magazine, and Psychology Today. He has been Medical Editor for Mental Health for the Huff Post where over 250 of his posts and videos appeared and also wrote a regular column on mental health and the addictions for US News & World Report.

Dr. Ali Mattu

Dr. Ali Mattu creates entertaining, empowering, and educational mental health media. Dr. Mattu is a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City and provides cognitive behavioral therapy to children and adults with anxiety disorders. His YouTube channel, “The Psych Show” features over 100 videos which have been viewed over 500,000 times. He has been interviewed by the New York Times, appeared on Buzzfeed, MTV, CBS, NBC, PBS, and has the honor of being referenced, and not made fun of, on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

Taylor Eldridge

Taylor Eldridge is an investigative reporter specializing in mental health issues. She is currently the Ida B. Wells Fellow at the Investigative Fund and was previously a fellow at the Marshall Project. She is a 2017 graduate of the investigative program at Columbia Journalism School; her work has appeared in The New Yorker and the Washington Post, and she was part of the WNYC team that recently won a 2019 duPont-Columbia University Award for audiovisual reporting in the public interest, for is nine-episode podcast on juvenile justice.

Dr. Dan Reidenberg

Dr. Dan Reidenberg is the executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) and managing director of the National Council for Suicide Prevention. He is former the U.S. Representative to the International Association for Suicide Prevention and now on their Executive Board and is the author of a number of books and journal articles about suicide prevention and media reporting. Dr. Reidenberg created and led an international consensus initiative to develop the Best Practices for Media Reporting on Suicide which he wrote and released in 2011. He also wrote the Best Practices for Media Reporting on Mass Shootings released in 2017. In 2011, he was named a Champion of Change by the Obama Administration at The White House for his work in the area of suicide prevention.

Dr. Vania Manipod

Dr. Vania Manipod, D.O., board-certified psychiatrist, is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Western University of Health Sciences and currently in private practice in southern California. Dr. Manipod has built an international following on social media based on her work to reduce the stigma of mental health, particularly through her Instagram, @freudandfashion, and blog, Freud & Fashion. Her work and writing include features and collaborations with SELF Magazine, Medical Economics, Healthline, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and She has also been an invited speaker on topics such as burnout, social media, and traumatic brain injury.

Joaquin Sapien

Joaquin Sapien is a reporter at ProPublica, covering the areas of criminal justice, military healthcare, and environmental issues. In 2010 he partnered with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune to produce an award-winning series of stories about contaminated drywall. In 2009 he was part of a team whose work on natural gas drilling won the Society of Professional Journalists award for online non-deadline investigative reporting. From 2005 until 2008 he was a reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, where he led a year-long investigative project, “Superfund’s Toxic Legacy,” which received the 2007 Society of Professional Journalists award for non-deadline online reporting.

Tom Jennings

Tom Jennings has been producing for FRONTLINE since 2009, when he first collaborated with the investigative news group ProPublica. His resulting film, Law and Disorder, about police shootings of civilians during the week after Katrina, won the prestigious George Polk Award for television reporting and was nominated for an Emmy Award. Jennings subsequently produced Doctor Hotspot(2012) and Being Mortal (2015) with New Yorker writer Atul Gawande and the Emmy-nominatedA Perfect Terrorist (2011), and its sequel American Terrorist (2015) again with ProPublica. He was a producer for Rain Media on the 2012 landmark economy miniseries, Money, Power & Wall Street, which also won a George Polk Award.

Jennings has also won two national Emmy Awards, the duPont-Columbia Silver Baton Award, the Overseas Press Club Award, the Edward R. Murrow Award and three Writers Guild of America Awards. Jennings also teaches documentary writing and development at NYU’s Tisch School.

Dr. Drew Ramsey

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He founded the Brain Food Clinic in New York City, offering treatment and consultation for depression, anxiety, and emotional wellness concerns. The clinic incorporates evidence-based nutrition and integrative psychiatry treatments with psychotherapy, coaching, and responsible medication management.

His media work includes two recent TEDx talks, BrainFork and Brain Farmacy, a video series with Big Think, and the BBC documentary Food on the Brain. His work and writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post,, Prevention, Lancet Psychiatry, and NPR, which named him a “kale evangelist.” He is a member of the Well+Good Wellness Council, the editorial board of Medscape Psychiatry, and the co-founder of National Kale Day. He is the author of Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients that Fuel Brain Power, Boost Weight Loss and Transform Your Health (HarperWave 2016), 50 Shades of Kale (HarperWave 2013), and The Happiness Diet: A Nutritional Prescription for a Sharp Brain, Balanced Mood and Lean, Energized Body (Rodale 2011).

Meg Kissinger

Meg Kissinger is an award-winning investigative reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and teaches investigative reporting at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She is writing a book about her family’s struggles with mental illness, including the suicides of her brother and sister. She was a 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist for investigative reporting and is a two-time George Polk Award winner: 2013 for “Chronic Crisis” and 2009 for “Chemical Fallout.”

Stephen Fried

Stephen Fried is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author who teaches at Columbia University (in the Graduate School of Journalism and the Department of Psychiatry) and at the University of Pennsylvania.

Stephen Fried is the author of seven acclaimed nonfiction books, including Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West—One Meal at a Time (a New York Times bestseller that was the subject of a PBS documentary); Thing of Beauty: The Tragedy of Supermodel Gia (which inspired the Emmy-winning HBO film Gia starring Angelina Jolie); Bitter Pills: Inside the Hazardous World of Legal Drugs (which triggered an FDA inquiry into CNS adverse reactions to antibiotics); The New Rabbi (a behind-the-scenes look at one of the nation’s most powerful houses of worship struggling to choose a new spiritual leader) and a collection of his magazine columns on being a spouse, Husbandry. He is also co-author, with Patrick Kennedy, of the 2015 New York Times bestseller A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction.

His latest book is Rush: Revolution, Madness, and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown).

Eat Complete

Winner of a 2017 IACP Cookbook Award  •  Finalist for a Books for a Better Life Award

Named one of the top health and wellness books for 2016 by Well + Good and MindBodyGreen


From leading psychiatrist and author of Fifty Shades of Kale comes a collection of 100 simple, delicious, and affordable recipes to help you get the core nutrients your brain and body need to stay happy and healthy.

What does food have to do with brain health? Everything.

Your brain burns more of the food you eat than any other organ. It determines if you gain or lose weight, if you’re feeling energetic or fatigued, if you’re upbeat or depressed. In this essential guide and cookbook, Drew Ramsey, MD, explores the role the human brain plays in every part of your life, including mood, health, focus, memory, and appetite, and reveals what foods you need to eat to keep your brain—and by extension your body—properly fueled.

Drawing upon cutting-edge scientific research, Dr. Ramsey identifies the twenty-one nutrients most important to brain health and overall well-being—the very nutrients that are often lacking in most people’s diets. Without these nutrients, he emphasizes, our brains and bodies don’t run the way they should.

Eat Complete includes 100 appetizing, easy, gluten-free recipes engineered for optimal nourishment. It also teaches readers how to use food to correct the nutrient deficiencies causing brain drain and poor health for millions. For example:

• Start the day with an Orange Pecan Waffle or a Turmeric Raspberry Almond Smoothie, and the Vitamin E found in the nuts will work to protect vulnerable brain fat (plus the fiber keeps you satisfied until lunch).

• Enjoy Garlic Butter Shrimp over Zucchini Noodles and Mussels with Garlicky Kale Ribbons and Artichokes, and the zinc and magnesium from the seafood will help stimulate the growth of new brain cells.

• Want to slow down your brain’s aging process? Indulge with a cup of Turmeric Cinnamon Hot Chocolate, and the flavanols found in chocolate both increase blood flow to the brain and help fight age-related memory decline.

Featuring fifty stunning, full-color photographs, Eat Complete helps you pinpoint the nutrients missing from your diet and gives you tasty recipes to transform your health—and ultimately your life.


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The Happiness Diet

For the first time in history, too much food is making us sick. It's all too apparent that the Modern American Diet (MAD) is expanding our waistlines; what's less obvious is that it's starving and shrinking our brains. Rates of obesity and depression have recently doubled, and while these epidemics are closely linked, few experts are connecting the dots for the average American.

Using the latest data from the rapidly changing fields of neuroscience and nutrition, The Happiness Dietshows that over the past several generations small, seemingly insignificant changes to our diet have stripped it of nutrients--like magnesium, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin D, as well as some very special fats--that are essential for happy, well-balanced brains. These shifts also explain the overabundance of mood-destroying foods in the average American's diet and why they predispose most of us to excessive weight gain.

After a clear explanation of how we've all been led so far astray, The Happiness Diet empowers the reader with simple, straightforward solutions. Graham and Ramsey show you how to steer clear of this MAD way of life with foods to swear off, shopping tips, brain-building recipes, and other practical advice, and then remake your diet by doubling down on feel-good foods--even the all-American burger.


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Fifty Shades of Kale

Kale gets sexy in Fifty Shades of Kale by Drew Ramsey, M.D., and Jennifer Iserloh, with 50 recipes that are mouth-wateringly delicious and do a body good.
Release yourself from the bondage of guilt and start cooking meals with the ingredients you love: meat, cheese, and yes—even butter. Nutrient-rich kale provides essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy, happy, and lean—so you can indulge in your most delicious desires. Whether you’re a cooking novice or a real kale submissive, you will undoubtedly succumb to Kale’s charms.

From Mushroom and Kale Risotto to Kale Kiwi Gazpacho, Fifty Shade of Kale offers simple ways to have your kale and eat it, too, as well as nutritional information, cooking tips, and a tutorial on kale in all her glorious shades.
Indulge your culinary passions with Fifty Shades of Kale: 50 Fresh and Satisfying Recipes That Are Bound to Please.


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