Charles Collins, MD, MBA, executive vice chair of the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience, splits his time between his administrative responsibilities at the UC College of Medicine and his clinical roles at UC Health. But in both positions, he spends time teaching and mentoring medical students, residents and young faculty.
Throughout his tenure at the College of Medicine, Collins has served in multiple roles. Now, he helps lead the department and its faculty.
“We have many different kinds of clinicians. I think we have a very diversified department,” said Collins. “We have a large group and our approaches to psychiatry are varied, which is important because of all of our admissions, because of the education, research, and all the clinical care we provide.”
Collins also oversees the UC’s student mental health services for the university’s more than 45,000 students.
“At least 10 percent of UC’s students will be in treatment at some point, so I think it's important to recognize that part of our mission—to take care of our own, on our campus,” said Collins.
Student mental health services are just one of Collins’ many clinical responsibilities. He’s worked in every mental health service that UC Health offers, including emergency psychiatric care and outpatient clinics. Emergency psychiatric care is an especially critical service, seeing between seven to 10 thousand visits per year.
“I think we're busier than we were before. And, one of the reasons, I think, is that people are realizing that our mental health is very important. It impacts your function so badly, you may not go to work, or school, or do things that you usually do,” said Collins. “We’re seeing larger numbers of people than we have before, which is actually very good because people are looking for treatment, and intervention, and are successful, in terms of going back. That's particularly incredible with the younger group.”
However, one group that Collins says isn’t seeking mental health care as frequently is African Americans. That’s why he’s working with Jean E.S. Anthony, PhD, RN, associate professor in the Department of
Biomedical Informatics, to study depression in the African American community. Collins and Anthony work to educate clergy to recognize signs of depression in their congregation members and help them get care. The goal is to reduce stigma and barriers to care and engage a group that has not engaged well with mental health to reduce health disparities.