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A Preview of Elevate 2020 With Cochairs Drs. Edward Kaftarian and Steven Chan

July 20, 2020

In this video, Psych Congress Elevate cochairs Edward Kaftarian, MD, and Steven Chan, MD, MBA, discuss some highlights of the conference, sessions they are most looking forward to, and ways attendees can connect and network during the virtual event.

The conference is being held July 25-27, 2020. View the full agenda here.

Dr. Chan is on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as @StevenChanMD. Dr. Kaftarian is @OrbitTelepsych on Twitter, and can be reached via email at

Read the transcript of the video:

Dr. Edward Kaftarian: Hi, I'm Dr. Edward Kaftarian.

Dr. Steven Chan: I'm Dr. Steven Chan.

Dr. Kaftarian: We are the co‑chairs for Elevate 2020. We wanted to say a few words about this conference. We're so excited about doing this virtually. It's going to be a new experience for us and for you, as well, in the audience. Dr. Chan, what are you excited about with Elevate?

Dr. Chan: Elevate is going to be a different experience this year. Because it's a virtual experience, people can view it from the comfort of their own home. No hassles with flights or transportation and they'll get the same quality content as they have come to expect from Psych Congress. A lot of the tracks that we have are focused on not just the new normal of COVID‑19, but also technology presentations, as well.

Dr. Kaftarian: I agree. I think it's going to be very different, but anything different often comes with opportunity. It's going to be great. The tracks are amazing. I like the fact that there are two tracks. There's a psychopharmacology, the standard track, and then there's a future-oriented track.

You and I are going to both be talking on the future oriented track. In fact, I'm going to be introducing you for your session. I'm excited about that. You'll be talking about the technological age of addiction. What's that going to be like?

Dr. Chan: Yes, what's interesting is that we are all connected with our devices and our smartphones and tablets, so much that we often, in the mainstream media, feel like it is an addiction, but is it really an addiction or is it overuse or something else? I'll be on stage, on the virtual stage, talking about how there's Internet Gaming Disorder, smartphone overuse, and how we can deal with such issues, too.

I think, Dr. Kaftarian, too, you, yourself, are also presenting on cyberpsychiatry and the use of technology, as well.

Dr. Kaftarian: Cyberpsychiatry is something that I'm encouraging everybody to dive into and get used to that term cyberpsychiatry. I think we need residency training in this.

Cyberpsychiatry meaning anything, any way that technology and mental health intersect, whether it's treatment via technology or like what you're talking about with technology addiction and all sorts of other issues.

There's virtual reality. We have a really well‑known PhD doctor by the name of Albert Rizzo out of USC, just down the road from me. He's going to be talking about “Virtual Reality: The New Frontier in Mental Health.” I'll be excited about that one.

Another one that I'm excited about is "Social Media Impact on Mental Health." That's going to be a really interesting lecture, as well.

All of these topics are intersecting, but we also have our tried and true topics, the standards. Anything catch your eye on that track, the psychopharmacology track?

Dr. Chan: The COVID‑19 pandemic has caused so much stress and anxiety in our nation that anxiety levels have really increased. Some of the back to basics psychopharmacology on generalized anxiety disorder is something that I'm looking forward to. The speaker for generalized anxiety disorder will be Manish Jha, MD from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. That's certainly one presentation I'm looking forward to.

Dr. Kaftarian: I have my eye on that one, as well. Another one that has personal significance for me is Dr. James Potash. He's going to be talking about the role of genetic testing in psychiatry. The reason why that's personally connecting with me is because he was one of my professors at Hopkins back when I was in residency. He's the Henry Phipps Professor and Director of Psychiatry for Johns Hopkins. He's a pretty knowledgeable, intelligent man who we feel very fortunate to be able to...I'll be introducing him, as well. That's going to be fun.

This is going to be a great experience. What other thoughts do you have about Elevate?

Dr. Chan: There's so much content that we have a lot of the content...the good content reserved in the on‑demand portion of Elevate. Especially for early career providers, there are talks by John Luo on how to maintain an online professional profile and best practices. We'll also hear from Leslie Citrome on how to get published.

One of my favorites, Dr. Neha Chaudhary, will talk about nonclinical careers in mental health. More recently, Dr. Chaudhary co‑instructed mental health innovation with me and my colleagues at Stanford University. She's also recently published articles in The New York Times and has also produced for mainstream news media, as well. It's really exciting content to hear from her and everyone else, too.

Dr. Kaftarian: You know what I noticed? We have some deeply personal connections with some of these academic institutions and some of the people involved. It strikes me that that's the whole purpose. Not only to learn, but also to connect and to reconnect with old colleagues and make new ones. Are you excited about that?

Dr. Chan: Yeah. We have all these opportunities. Dr. Kaftarian, and I, and so many of the other faculty will be available to meet during our meeting sessions, during the meeting. There are virtual meeting rooms where you get to meet with us more on a one‑on‑one basis and a group basis. We will also be on social media, as well. If you tweet out or even post photographs with the hashtag #elevate2020, we will be online, as well.

Dr. Kaftarian: I think that that's actually good advice because this is new for so many people. I would agree with that advice. Don't just sit back and listen, but also try and engage. Try and connect with people, talk to people virtually. There's going to be some chat rooms. We're going to have lectures followed by discussion.

I think one of the things that I love so much about Psych Congress and Elevate is that it's an opportunity to connect with people. That would be my advice. I would agree with what you said.

Dr. Chan: We'll be on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, as well. Definitely reach out and post away. With everything going on, I think it's such an important time for us to still maintain connections, to continue learning, and helping serve the folks that we treat in mental health and behavioral health, and addictions, as well. What better way to do that than with a virtual conference?

Please join us with Elevate by Psych Congress. It's happening later this July with Dr. Kaftarian and myself.

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