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Vision of Translating Science to Service in Mental Health Leads to the Opening of Brain and Wellness Institute in July 2018

Journalist Mike Knezovich Interviews the Founding Director of Brain and Wellness Institute, Dr. Mani N. Pavuluri, in Chicago, on May 23, 2018.

Chicago, IL, June 04, 2018 --( The Chicago community is thrilled to finally envision the transformative personalized care and modernized medicine coming together through the vision of Dr. Pavuluri at the much awaited Brain and Wellness Institute.

Dr. Pavuluri’s quest to find the best models of treatment began with joining the forces in resolving the debate on pediatric bipolar disorder in the mid-nineties. Dr. Pavuluri explains, “I was invited to the Roundtable at the National Institute of Mental Health to brainstorm on research methods to better recognize the illness, that would help treat youth with emotion dysregulation. Our team began to solve a series of clinical problems in a logical sequence: Recognition of the problem through developing and testing child mania rating scale (CMRS-P) that parents can complete to alert them to the potential diagnosis of bipolar disorder (available in multiple world languages and they are downloadable from the website; the first medication algorithm, a systematic method to treat pediatric bipolar disorder with medications. This clears the confusion to avoid idiosyncratic guesses or prescribing wrong medications; Psychotherapy model that integrated both the cognitive behavior therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy to meet the unique needs of highly emotionally reactive youth and tested further by. Dr. Amy West; and modernizing medicine beyond diagnostic labels, by looking into the window of the brain function.”

Dr. Pavuluri said, “Once we began looking into the brain, it became very clear that the diagnostic labels are very limiting, especially when several brain circuits are simultaneously affected in early childhood illnesses. Once you learn about how brain regions operate, it is no brainer (pun unintended) to understand that it is highly complex. We began to understand brain functions such as impulsivity, emotion regulation and executive function to dig deeper into learning how an individual may be affected. Understanding at that level opens the doors to understanding a person, even clinically, at a completely different level of how they operate on daily basis.”

When asked how she serves people at all stages of their life span and translate her experience with children to other age groups, she explained, “Very simple. If you work with children and parents’ emotions around them, you develop a natural ability to communicate with simplicity, clarity and thoughtfulness. You learn to be more careful as children are fragile, and yet developing.”

Dr. Pavuluri studied and practiced in several countries bringing a wealth of experience over three decades. When asked how she integrates what’s best from each country into shaping the treatment model at the Brain and Wellness Institute, she says:

- New Zealand offered a solid bio-psycho-social approach to addressing problems at a foundational level, and techniques are taught with certain tenacity
- Australia offered a magnificent view of how to understand the mind through various psychological treatments, as Melbourne is the Mecca for psychoanalysis.
- USA offered the opportunity to examine the brain function and neuropsychopharmacology

“At the end of the day, empathy coupled with customized care of what would work the best for the patient is the key! One must bring in the attitude of going with the flow and being mindful. Especially when folks are frightened of medication, I recall that, in India, no one runs to medicines for minor illnesses and rely solely on family support. In the same breath, working against the stigma against mental illness as we do in the western world is better than in the eastern world, and this concept is very precious to me. So essentially, taking the tools of what works the best for an individual and the family is at the heart of the matter. I also think, with digitalization of the world, global thinking is emerging that is bringing the best of both worlds in synchrony all the time, and everywhere I look. Every street corner in Chicago has not just Starbucks, but also a yoga center!"

Aptitude is the cement that holds the technical craft. In response to what Dr. Pavuluri find most rewarding in the line of work, it becomes clear: “All said and done, it is translating the science to service, and fine-tuning the craft of helping people. The Brain and Wellness Institute will work towards problem solving and being there for each individual and their family. It is wonderful to take the walk of life with them all and see them succeed and find joy. Families always had and will continue to have 24-7 direct access to connect in case of need."

Finally, what is the secret sauce of the Brain and Wellness Institute? “It is essentially, the A-B-C-D framework: Assessment; go beyond labels to find meaning in how the Brain could be functioning; neuro-Chemical treatment via medicines; and attending to the nuances in the Dynamics of relationships and life itself to customize the care.“

With Dr. Pavuluri’s vision, the Brain and Wellness Institute is expected to emerge as a powerhouse of excellence, with the legacy of helping families for many years (
Contact Information
Brain and Wellness Institute
Dr. Mani Pavuluri
(312) 690-6090

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