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Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry names inaugural executive director

Indiana University School of Medicine has named its first executive director of the recently announced Mary O’Daniel Stone and Bill Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at IU School of Medicine—Evansville.

Stephen M. Strakowski, MD, will become the new center’s leader, effective April 1. Strakowski joins IU School of Medicine from the University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical School, where he currently serves as the vice dean of research and associate vice president for regional mental health.

“I am thrilled to return to my home state of Indiana and join IU School of Medicine at this exciting time of growth and innovation in the mental health services space,” said Strakowski, an Indiana native who will also serve as a professor with the Department of Psychiatry at IU School of Medicine. “I look forward to building a dedicated team of world-class scientists and clinicians. This team will bring much needed mental health services to Indiana, beginning with the southwestern region and eventually spreading statewide. The center’s potential for groundbreaking research is limitless, with the reach extending far beyond Indiana’s borders.”

In his current roles, Strakowski has been responsible for developing strategic plans for Dell Medical School’s research enterprise. He also has served as leader in a $300 million redesign of the Austin State Hospital—working closely with legislators, public and community stakeholders to revamp the care delivery model for the local state hospital and its service area of about 55 counties.

According to Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA, dean of IU School of Medicine and IU’s executive vice president for university clinical affairs, Strakowski’s background in leading on both the research and clinical fronts—particularly his work in bipolar disorder research—makes him uniquely qualified for this new role at the Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

“This new center allows for IU School of Medicine to harness the incredible strength in neuroscience research we have become nationally regarded for and build on it in a way that will create a lasting impact on mental health services in the state,” said Hess. “We are very excited to welcome Dr. Strakowski as the Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry’s inaugural director, and look forward to the advancements we are certain will unfold under his leadership.”

The Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is the result of a $34.2 million gift to IU School of Medicine by Bill and Mary Stone—a pair of Evansville natives whose generosity is aimed at improving health sciences in southwestern Indiana.

The center seeks to fundamentally alter and improve the standard of care for people with bipolar disorder, and dramatically increase access to psychiatric care for the children and adolescent youth of southwestern Indiana. As part of the new center, three new chairs and six child and adolescent psychiatrist/fellowships will be brought on to provide clinical care in southwestern Indiana—a region in desperate need of mental health services. Additionally, the psychiatrists will be conducting research at the center, with a focus on bipolar and other mood disorders.

In his current faculty role, Strakowski co-directs the Center for Youth Mental Health—an organization focused on improving care access to young people in need of mental health support. His research uses neuroimaging to understand the brain processes that trigger bipolar disorder.

“With the Stone Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, we want Evansville to be at the center of groundbreaking scientific discovery, while at the same time providing everyday mental health services for the people of southwestern Indiana. It’s a tall order, but one we think Dr. Strakowski is incredibly suited to take on,” said Steven G. Becker, MD, associate dean and director of IU School of Medicine—Evansville. “With his years of expertise, we are confident that Dr. Strakowski will help set the center on a path for success as the vision set forth by Bill and Mary Stone becomes a reality.”

Strakowski will serve as interim vice chair for research with the Department of Psychiatry, and will have a faculty appointment with the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. He will continue serving University of Texas-Austin in a part-time capacity. He received his MD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He completed his residency in adult psychiatry at McLean Hospital.