Rutgers names inaugural executive chair of psychiatry, director of new genomic psychiatry center

Husband-wife team of Dr. Carlos Pato, Dr. Michele Pato will oversee behavioral health, addictions and genomic psychiatry research

Dr. Carlos Pato has been selected as the first executive chair of psychiatry at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and vice president of research, training and academic affairs for behavioral health and addictions at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care/University Correctional Health Care and RWJBarnabas Health Behavioral Health and Addictions Service Line, the school announced.

In his new role, Pato will help develop a robust, multifaceted, externally funded behavioral health and addictions research program at UBHC, UCHC, Rutgers’ two medical schools, the Rutgers Brain Health Institute and RWJBH. He will also oversee the development and implementation of collaborative research, training and academic initiatives, looking for opportunities to expand and improve those missions at these RBHS institutions.

In his system role, he will be working to build strong partnerships with the health system hospitals and community providers related to these behavioral health and addictions research, training and academic initiatives.

Dr. Michele Pato, who is director of SUNY Downstate’s Institute for Genomic Health and executive director of IGH’s Clinical and Translational Science Center, will continue these and other research efforts, as she joins her husband at Rutgers as professor of psychiatry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and New Jersey Medical School and the inaugural director of the new Rutgers Center for Genomics of Psychiatric Health and Addiction.

In this role, she will oversee the establishment of a new institute focused on genetics of psychiatric disorders and addiction, with opportunities to expand the breadth of inquiry in genomics, and with the ultimate goal of becoming a national and international leader in genomic health.

Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Chancellor Brian Strom welcomed the additions.

“Dr. Carlos Pato is the perfect candidate to lead this new initiative across RBHS,” Strom said. “His experience and leadership ability will serve to create the foundation for extremely effective collaborations across all schools and units to expand and enhance behavioral health sciences.

“Moreover, the addition of Dr. Michele Pato to head our newly created Center for Genomics of Psychiatric Health and Addiction will combine the skills of both highly accomplished researchers and leaders to drive Rutgers’ efforts and advance the field of genomic psychiatry nationally and internationally.”

The relationship between health outcomes in a community, learning and discovery defines an academic health system, Carlos Pato stressed, noting that he believes strengthening organizational structure with the broader leadership team is accomplished by defining an integrated vision and mission, and designing and implementing a strategic plan that addresses each of those missions.

Both Patos are distinguished fellows of the American Psychiatric Association and charter members of the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. Dr. Carlos Pato has held leadership positions with the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry, among his many professional associations.