More than three million Americans are diagnosed with Schizophrenia, a severe brain disorder that affects one’s ability to perceive reality. Many others suffer from related disorders. These are frightening and chronic diseases, but patients often say the associated stigma is worse than the illness itself. The University of Rochester is partnering with the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA) to increase understanding of schizophrenia in our community.
“Schizophrenia is a much more common diagnosis than Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and insulin dependent diabetes, yet we are reluctant to talk about it.” says Eric D. Caine, M.D., chair of the department of Psychiatry. “That needs to change.”
On Friday, October 24, SARDAA and the department of Psychiatry are hosting “Call to Action: Shattering Stigma,” a daylong event at Staybridge Suites, 1000 Genesee Street in Rochester. Geared toward the general public, as well as health care providers, researchers, and students, the conference will feature keynote speaker Matcheri Keshavan, M.D., a professor at Harvard Medical School. Keshavan is an internationally renowned expert in the diagnosis and management of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders in young adults. He has been investigating the causes and treatments of these illnesses for more than two decades.
“By working to eliminate the stigma, we will help foster early treatment for these disorders. That will make a drastic difference in the lives of patients and their loved ones,” says SARDAA Executive Director Linda Stalters. “It will also have a major impact on our society as we reduce the burden on our health care and criminal justice systems.”
The October 24 event will also include presentations from U of R faculty members, Rochester City Court Judge Jack Elliott, and people who have schizophrenia or are related to someone who does. Ticket prices vary. For more information and to register, click here.
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