INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana University School of Medicine is promoting one of its own to serve as the next leader of the Department of Psychiatry.
Leslie A. Hulvershorn, MD, has been named the new chair, after serving as co-interim chair of the department since June, 2021. A graduate of Indiana University, Hulvershorn also received her MD from IU School of Medicine, after earning a master’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Oxford. A tenured associate professor at IU School of Medicine, Hulvershorn works as a child and adolescent and addictions psychiatrist.
As a physician-scientist, Hulvershorn’s research is focused on understanding more about risky decision-making in youth, including how the brain processes hazardous decisions and how it influences health—including acquiring infectious diseases, suicidal behavior and using drugs of abuse. Her lab also focuses on research that promotes child and adolescent behavioral health through improved access to evidence-based interventions, as well as appropriate use of psychopharmacologic treatments.
Hulvershorn’s impact on adolescent mental health has extended statewide throughout her time at IU School of Medicine. She developed Indiana’s psychotropic medication monitoring program for the Department of Child Services—a program that has intervened in the care of nearly 2,000 children to date. Additionally, she co-founded Indiana’s Behavioral Health Access Program for Youth (BeHappy), which provides consultative support to pediatric primary care clinicians who are treating youth with behavioral health concerns.
“Dr. Hulvershorn is an exemplary physician-scientist and example of the outstanding graduates we train here at IU School of Medicine,” said IU School of Medicine Dean Jay L. Hess, MD, PhD, MHSA. “Throughout her tenure at the school, Dr. Hulvershorn has demonstrated a commitment to medical education, research and patient care to improve mental health resources in Indiana. I am eager for her to continue that leadership as our new chair for psychiatry.”
Hulvershorn has also served as the primary consulting medical director to the state agency that oversees mental health and addiction treatment and prevention for Indiana. Since 2012, she has worked for the Family and Social Services Administration’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction—working closely with leaders in all three branches of state government.
Hulvershorn takes over as chair at an exciting time for the department. In late 2021, IU School of Medicine announced a $34.2 million gift to the school’s Evansville campus, an initiative led by regional campus dean Steven G. Becker, MD. The gift is aimed at establishing a child and adolescent psychiatry center and improving access to mental health research and resources throughout the state.
“Indiana is experiencing crisis-level shortages of behavioral health specialists. As a department, one of our strengths is our capacity to train future physicians who will one day be able to use their world-class education to help improve the lives of patients with behavioral health disorders,” said Hulvershorn.
“Pairing that with our leading-edge research—research bolstered by the generosity of donors like Bill and Mary Stone in Evansville—our department is poised to make a very real and lasting impact on the state of mental health in Indiana and beyond. My experiences at IU School of Medicine helped to make me the physician-scientist I am today, and I am thrilled to be able to help lead this charge.”
Hulvershorn completed her general psychiatry residency at IU School of Medicine, and later a research track child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at New York University.
She joined the faculty at IU School of Medicine in 2010.
IU School of Medicine is the largest medical school in the U.S. and is annually ranked among the top medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. The school offers high-quality medical education, access to leading medical research and rich campus life in nine Indiana cities, including rural and urban locations consistently recognized for livability.