The mission of the Desert Pacific MIRECC is to improve the long-term functional outcome of patients with chronic psychotic mental disorders, including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychotic mood disorders through innovative research, clinical care, and educational programs. Our approach to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders is to improve understanding of the underlying neurobiology of these illnesses, to translate this improved understanding to improved clinical practices, and to assure that these improved practices are provided to veterans. We approach this mission through an integrated program of research, education, and clinical programs aimed at translating findings from the research laboratory into improved clinical care. The MIRECC program spans the spectrum from basic brain biology to the organization of services for veterans.
The Desert Pacific MIRECC research programs are internationally recognized in a broad range of research areas including cognitive neuroscience, neuroimaging, electrophysiology, neuropsychology, animal models, geriatric psychiatry, psychosocial interventions, cognitive remediation, clinical psychopharmacology, health services, and implementation science. MIRECC faculty have a strong commitment to translational research that links basic science to clinical research and clinical research to interventions and services research. Our specific program has a strong focus on schizophrenia and related psychoses, and we seek to develop the next generation of clinical-researchers who will move the field forward. We have the unique advantages of being a small and individualized program (2-3 trainees per year), supported by the remarkable clinical and scientific resources within the San Diego VA and closely affiliated UCSD Psychiatric Neuroscience community. The UCSD Department of Psychiatry is home to a world-class faculty – many of whom trained within our Department – that is dedicated to the success of our trainees. We believe that we have succeeded in creating a program that fulfills these goals while maintaining a focus on training and early-stage career development. All of our laboratories and units – Neuropsychopharmacology, Clinical Neuroscience, Treatment, Imaging, Data Management, Health Services, and Education and Dissemination – have developed a track record of accomplishment. Our programs have strongly supported VA’s adoption of a recovery model for severe mental illnesses. This support includes research programs that evaluate innovative treatments for improving the community functioning of individuals with psychotic illnesses and programs that facilitate the implementation of recovery-oriented programs in VA clinical settings.