HMHI Celebrates Psychiatry Faculty Awarded Tenure and Promotions

Jul 01, 2021 1:00 PM

HMHI is very proud to recognize our incredible faculty for their innovative psychiatric pursuits. Tenure recognizes a scholar's high impact and scientific contributions in their field. Promotions are awarded when a faculty member shows excellence in the college's mission areas.

We applaud the following individuals who have been awarded Tenure or promoted in rank in the School of Medicine. Their work extends beyond HMHI, the School of Medicine, and the Department of Psychiatry and makes a tremendous impact on the field of psychiatry to improve the mental health of our communities here in Utah and beyond. 

Scott Langenecker, PhD portraitScott Langenecker, PhD – Professor (Award of Tenure)

Dr. Scott Langenecker is a clinical neuropsychologist and Professor of Psychiatry, and Adjunct Professor of Psychology. Dr. Langenecker's research and clinical work focuses on the translational cognitive neuroscience of mood disorders across the lifespan. His current work is focused on early detection, primary and secondary prevention in the late adolescent to young adult transitional period - in which risk for mood disorders is at a peak. In addition, his clinical research includes a series of lifespan studies to understand human cognitive and affective functioning and how it goes awry in major depressive and bipolar disorders.  

Dr. Langenecker joined the Psychiatry faculty in 2018. He serves as a critical team leader in the Research and Quality Improvement Program for the SafeUT signature text-based crisis management program at HMHI and directs a clinical trial using an innovative new therapy to reduce rumination and prevent depression recurrence in teens. He also serves as a state-level suicide prevention advocate. 

Notably, Dr. Langenecker has led and collaborated in studies using variants of the Parametric Go/No-go (PGNG) task that he designed using clinical populations with suspected deficits in executive functioning, such as healthy and abnormal aging, depression, traumatic brain injury, obstructive sleep apnea, and adult ADHD. These collaborations have strengthened the understanding of the value and validity/reliability of using the PGNG in clinical settings, including predicting treatment outcomes in mood disorders. He has also designed tasks of list learning, emotion processing of facial expressions (Facial Emotion Perception Test), finger oscillation, a flanker attentional task, a modified visual Sternberg task, a continuous performance task, a self-referential processing task, a modified color-word interference resolution task, and a titrated monetary incentive delay task and would foresee continued task development as an area of expertise that is important for use as evidence-based medicine tools in psychiatry and neurology. These tasks are used in National Institute of Mental Health-funded clinical trials (United States) and related studies worldwide to determine and confirm predictive validity in clinical outcomes.  

robert-welsh.jpgRobert C. Welsh, PhD – Associate Professor (Award of Tenure)

Dr. Robert Welsh is an interdisciplinary neuroscientific investigator and Associate Professor of Psychiatry. Using his technical expertise in neuroimaging and statistical methods, Dr. Welsh generates sophisticated data for translational studies of novel psychiatric treatments. He collaborates with many research colleagues and brings technical physics and rigorous analytical methods to many imaging studies, within the Department, across other departments, and to national and international collaborations. 

Dr. Welsh joined the Psychiatry faculty in 2016. He has an interest in minority health disparities and social justice. In addition to other funding in this area, he has recently been awarded a grant through the University of Utah Office of the Vice President for Research to study COVID-19 related health disparities. Dr. Welsh's developed computational pipelines and software tools are widely used in imaging research around the country. An imaging task that he optimized is now used to collect data from 10,000 individuals across 21 US sites for the longitudinal Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study (including HMHI's Utah site). He also provides critical collaboration for statistical analyses of other large datasets, engaging methods that extend well beyond the analysis needs of neuroimaging data.

Finally, Dr. Welsh is deeply committed to mentorship and was recently awarded funding for a 5-year National Institutes of Health R25 course focused on providing high-level training in advanced statistical methods in the overlapping fields of neuroimaging and genetics. This project attracts trainees from many institutions, bringing national recognition to the University of Utah, the School of Medicine, HMHI, and the Psychiatry department.

deborah-bilder.jpgDeborah Bilder, MD - Professor (Clinical) 

Dr. Deborah Bilder is a triple-boarded clinical and research expert in autism and phenylketonuria (PKU) and Professor (Clinical) of Psychiatry and Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Educational Psychology. Her investigations in autism epidemiology, etiology, and adult outcomes are funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Autism Speaks, and the Utah Department of Health. Dr. Bilder is a state advocate for autism research and founded a new clinical service filling a gap in the continuum of psychiatric care for the severely disabled, extending the University's outreach to this patient population across Utah. 

Dr. Bilder joined the Psychiatry faculty in 2003 and has built a strong reputation for excellence as a researcher, educator, scholar, administrator, and clinician. She is past President of the Psychiatric Research Society, past Medical Director of HMHI's Neurobehavior HOME program, and Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic. She serves as a member of the School of Medicine College Council and as Co-Chair of Psychiatry's Department Advisory committee. 

rachel-weir.jpgRachel Weir, MD – Associate Professor (Clinical) 

Dr. Rachel Weir is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist and Associate Professor (Clinical) of Psychiatry. Dr. Weir's commitment to increasing the accessibility of mental health treatment through innovation and consultation is exemplified in her work as Psychiatry's program director and supervisor for the Mental Health Integration rotation. This rotation places psychiatry residents in the University Community Clinics, where they work as part of a team to provide primary care consultation and improve the mental health of clinic populations. She is also the founder of the Huntsman Mental Health Institute's Consult Clinic, where primary care providers can obtain access to a one-time consultation for their patients in a timely manner. 

Dr. Weir joined the Psychiatry faculty in 2009. She promotes the regular use of outcome measures in psychiatry and the importance of measurement-based care and is interested in improving outcomes for populations with depression. She has completed training through the American Psychiatric Association in collaborative care and other mental health integration models. Dr. Weir has received numerous Psychiatry resident training awards and serves as the physician lead for University Hospital's Depression Initiative.

joseph-kim.jpgJoseph Kim, PhD - Assistant Professor (Tenure Track)

Dr. Joseph Kim is a neuropsychologist and Assistant Professor in Psychiatry. Dr. Kim's investigational work focuses on elucidating the neurobiological mechanism of emotion dysregulation and neurocognitive dysfunction in older adults and developing new noninvasive brain stimulation-based interventions. He was recently awarded a CCTS pilot grant to conduct a combined TMS-fMRI study of emotion regulation functions of the prefrontal cortex and a COVID-19 Special Emphasis Research seed grant sponsored by the 3i Initiative and the Office of Vice President for Research to study the psychological impact of social isolation in older adults during the pandemic. 

Dr. Kim joined the Psychiatry faculty in 2018 and sponsors/leads an interdisciplinary Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) journal club. In clinic work, he performs neuropsychological assessments of memory and thinking problems in adults and provides psychotherapy for patients with executive function impairments resulting from various etiologies (e.g., attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, traumatic brain injury, etc.) and comorbid mood disorders.

andrew-smith.jpgAndrew James Smith, PhD - Assistant Professor (Tenure Track)

Dr. Andrew J. Smith is a psychologist and Assistant Professor in Psychiatry. Dr. Smith is the founder and director of the Occupational Trauma Program, which applies a clinical science model to assess and treat occupationally traumatized populations (firefighters, first responders, law enforcement, medical professionals, military service members, and veterans). 

Dr. Smith joined the Psychiatry faculty in 2018. He holds a joint appointment at the VA Salt Lake City Healthcare System as a health psychologist in Primary Care, a research position at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience, and distinction as a Pat Tillman Military Scholar. 

Dr. Smith's current and prospective research focuses on developing resilience-oriented interventions that target functional outcomes in a manner that is personalizable, accessible, and culturally palatable for patients. Ongoing studies are aimed at risk and resilience across time in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, measuring and modeling how social relationship health and isolation change over time, and an intervention to target social functioning. 

mental health