ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan has experts to address the 21st Century Cures Act, expected to be signed by President Obama in the coming days.
The law will provide extensive funding for biomedical research and speed the approval of new drugs and medical devices. U-M experts available to discuss include:
Daniel Eisenberg, professor of health management and policy at the School of Public Health, works to improve understanding of how to invest effectively and efficiently in the mental health of young people. He and other U-M colleagues created the Athletes Connected program that seeks to remove the stigma surrounding mental health for those who participate in sports activities.
"As with most major spending legislation, the reaction depends on whether you focus on what's in it versus what's not in it," he said. "In terms of mental health, this could do a lot to help people who are experiencing or are at risk for severe mental illnesses such as psychotic disorders, but at the same time it's not clear if it will do much for early intervention in childhood or more prevalent conditions such as depressive and anxiety disorders."
Kyle Grazier, the Richard Carl Jelinek Professor of Health Services Management and Policy at the School of Public Health and professor of psychiatry in the Medical School, is an expert on health care finance and delivery, with a special emphasis on mental health and addiction services, costs and quality of care. Her work also concerns insurance and payment systems and benefits design.
"While Congress would still need to provide funding for the programs, the act could enable both targeted and coordinated behavioral health services for those burdened with mental and substance use disorders," she said. "With grants, states can choose to build facilities and set up treatment teams for patients with serious illness, and support for families.
"There are also overarching structures at the federal level that will help coordinate funding and coordinate the evidence needed to determine how to provide the highest quality care for these individuals with these complex, often chronic, conditions. One area that did not get the funding it needs in the act is prevention. Hopefully, states and agencies can assure that the continuum of identification, treatment, recovery and full health is considered when creating programs."
Dr. James Woolliscroft, professor and former dean of the Medical School, led the school during the time when the 21st Century Cures Act was originally written, and helped U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, the bill's champion, engage with scientists from across the school about their experiences with the current funding and commercialization environment for biomedical research.
Dr. John Greden is executive director and founder of the Comprehensive Depression Center, the first multidisciplinary center dedicated to depressive and bipolar illnesses. He led efforts to establish similar centers throughout the country and integrate them into a National Network of Depression Centers. His major research themes have focused on studying biomarkers and developing treatment strategies to prevent recurrences of depression and bipolar disorders.
Dr. Gregory Dalack, chair of the Department of Psychiatry, conducts research in the treatment of chronic and persistent mental illnesses, particularly focusing on schizophrenia. He has conducted studies examining nicotine addiction and smoking cessation interventions in schizophrenia, health behaviors in schizophrenia, and metabolic effects of second-generation antipsychotic medications in schizophrenia.
James Dalton is dean and professor of pharmaceutical sciences at the College of Pharmacy. He has a deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and regulatory processes, both as a former chief scientific officer of a publicly traded pharmaceutical company and as a research scientist with more than 400 U.S. and international patent applications.