Susan M. Essock, PhD
Edna L. Edison Professor of Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry)
Susan M. Essock, Ph.D. is in the Division of Mental Health Services and Policy Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University where she is the Edna L. Edison Professor of Psychiatry. She served as Division director from its beginning in 2007 until 2015 and was the founding director of the Division’s Center for Practice Innovations. Prior to coming to Columbia in 2007, Dr. Essock was Director of the Division of Health Services Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Mount Sinai School of Medicine from 1998-2007. Before joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Essock was the Director of Psychological Services for the public mental health system in Connecticut for 10 years, where she oversaw quality assurance, including the development and implementation of tools for program monitoring. Her initiatives ranged from establishing routine examinations of secondary data to make inferences about program performance to conducting multi-site randomized clinical trials evaluating the cost effectiveness of alternative treatment approaches for people with serious mental disorders. These clinical trials included investigations of the cost effectiveness of the atypical antipsychotic clozapine and the cost effectiveness of assertive community treatment teams.
From 1990-2011, Dr. Essock was a member of IBM Corporation's Mental Health Advisory Board, a Board charged with monitoring the quality of services provided by IBM's managed care vendor to IBM beneficiaries seeking treatment for psychiatric and substance-use disorders. Hence she is familiar with a wide range of treatment and system challenges posed by people needing behavioral health care, both in the public and in the private sector. Dr. Essock is a past Chair of the NIMH Services Research review committee, past Chair of the NIMH Intervention Research review committee, past member of the NIMH National Advisory Mental Health Council, and, since April 2013, a member of the National Advisory Council for the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institute of Health.
Dr. Essock's main research interests are facilitating the translation of research findings into mental health policy and practice and evaluating the impact of behavioral health services.
Dr. Essock works with the New York State Office of Mental Health and other entities to determine ways to implement and sustain evidence-based treatments for people with serious mental illnesses and to determine the impact of managed care initiatives on people’s health. The specific topics vary from determining the implementation fidelity of teams providing coordinated specialty care for individuals with newly emerged psychosis to assessing the impact of NY State’s Health Home initiative for people with serious mental health disorders.