Letter of support from the American Psychiatric Association

“We are writing to voice support for Dr. Ned Kalin’s research. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the world’s largest psychiatric association and represents more than 36,000 psychiatrists who work to ensure humane care and effective treatment for all persons with mental disorders. An important part of our mission is to promote psychiatric research aimed at reducing the suffering of patients who are disabled from psychiatric disorders.

“Research in animal models is essential to deepening our understanding of the human brain, how it works, and how alterations in brain function result in mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, and autism. Dr. Kalin and his colleagues have made significant contributions to our understanding of the brain mechanisms that lead to anxiety and depressive disorders. His work is particularly relevant to children suffering from these disabling illnesses. Dr. Kalin’s earlier work with young rhesus monkeys has revealed the brain alterations and molecular underpinnings that create childhood risks that can develop into anxiety and depression. This work not only demonstrates the specific parts of the brain that have altered function but also shows that this altered brain functionality is inherited. Findings from his primate studies have also identified new molecular targets that have the potential to create novel treatment strategies aimed at early intervention or even prevention.

“Mental illnesses are common in the United States as over 43 million Americans suffer from some mental illness. We need more effective treatments and we do not have a cure. Studies in rhesus monkeys are critical because they provide an animal model that is most relevant to human psychiatric illness.

“The monkeys involved in Dr. Kalin’s research are treated humanely and their use and care is overseen by numerous entities including the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition, the University of Wisocnsin’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee has approved and supports Dr. Kalin’s research.

“Dr. Kalin has a superb record of extramural NIH funding and his publications have been cited in numerous journals including the Journal of Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and Nature Neuroscience. As measures of his respect in the field, he was president of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, as well as a member of the American Psychiatric Council on Research. He will receive the 2015 Anna Monika Award, and international honor given to an individual who has made important and outstanding achievements to the field of psychiatry. In addition to his research and leading major department of psychiatry, he also treats patients suffering from treatment-resistant anxiety and depression.

“We are proud that Dr. Kalin is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the fact that his research is critical for developing new and better treatments for our patients. We wholeheartedly support his work. Thank you for your consideration.”

— Saul Levin, CEO and medical director, American Psychiatric Association

Read the letter here. (PDF)