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Webinar Science and Life

Unmasking mental health issues faced by scientists: Addressing the silent pain among us

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Unmasking mental health issues faced by scientists: Addressing the silent pain among us

Recorded 09 April 2019


Science is built upon a foundation of the thoughts and inventions of its practitioners. The entire enterprise of scientific research—from hypothesis generation and experimental design, to manuscript preparation and grant funding—arises out of the mind-work of those who choose science as a career. With the mind being held in such high regard, it is no surprise that scientists rarely speak of their anguish when suffering from mental illness. This webinar seeks to address the issue of mental health in the scientific community candidly and openly. It is critical that scientific leadership and mental health professionals recognize that scientists, like all members of society, deserve the freedom to have mental illness recognized and treated without fear of repercussion or stigma. It is essential for the scientific community to show compassion and support to all of its members who are enduring mental illness, from undergraduates to professors.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

Click on these links to download some important background reading and additional helpful resources.

Speaker bios

Jennifer Howes, Ph.D.

California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA

Dr. Howes is executive director of the California Institute of Technology’s (Caltech) Student Wellness Services department, which includes primary care, counseling, and occupational therapy. She is a clinical psychologist and the 2018–2019 chair of the Organization of Counseling Center Directors in Higher Education. She completed her undergraduate work at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her graduate degree at the California School of Professional Psychology. During her tenure at Caltech, she has focused on building an integrated approach to student support through collaborations with faculty, staff, and student affairs administration. Through a combination of campus gatekeeper training, increasing options for help-seeking while reducing barriers to care, and support from campus executive leadership, she has helped make the mental health needs of the campus a priority. She has a particular interest in suicide prevention and the development of novel approaches to cultivating protective factors.

Frederik Anseel, Ph.D.

King's College London
London, UK

Dr. Anseel is professor of Organisational Behaviour and vice dean of research of King’s Business School at King’s College London. He is an elected Fellow of the International Association of Applied Psychology and currently serves as president of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology. His recent work focuses on how leaders and individuals can overcome motivational obstacles during the innovation and entrepreneurial process to “keep their fire burning.” One of his recent studies received global attention, as it compellingly demonstrated for the first time that many Ph.D. students are at risk of suffering from mental health problems, precipitating a call for changes in how we organize early research careers. His work has been featured in media and magazines, including the BBC, Harvard Business Review, Science, Nature, Psychology Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Guardian. Apart from his work in academia, he has several years of industry experience founding and managing two consulting firms, including one university spin-off.

Nathan Vanderford, Ph.D.

University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY

Dr. Vanderford is an assistant professor in the Department of Toxicology and Cancer Biology at the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Medicine. He also holds several administrative positions at UK, including assistant director for research for the Markey Cancer Center, director of administration for the Center for Cancer and Metabolism, and director of the Appalachian Career Training in Oncology Program. In these administrative positions, he works to facilitate research and education initiatives across the College of Medicine. Dr. Vanderford has an award-winning history of teaching and mentoring trainees and of creating innovative career development opportunities for them, which include designing a career development course and facilitating experiential learning activities. He recently coauthored ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists (Academic Press), which focuses on guiding trainees’ career development. He has also published several articles on the topic of improving graduate education in high-impact journals, including Science, Nature, and Nature Biotechnology. He is involved in career development activities at the national level, serving on several national committees and advisory groups, including those associated with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Charles Hoogstraten, Ph.D.

Michigan State University
East Lansing, Michigan

Dr. Hoogstraten is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. His work focuses on the biophysics of catalysis and recognition in RNA systems, using a combination of techniques including nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, thermodynamic and kinetic measurements, and computational studies. He earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin under the direction of John L. Markley, and performed postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of California, Davis, before joining the faculty at Michigan State in 2002. In 2017, Science published his “Working Life” essay, entitled “Fighting Through the Darkness.” It described his experiences in building a career in academic science while struggling with clinical depression.

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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