Genetics to Treatment – March 13, 2010 – Richmond, VA

Leaders Speak about Research Findings and Implications


Sponsored by

The National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder
Department of Psychiatry, Virginia commonwealth University (VCU)

Time and Location

8:00 a.m – 4:00 p.m
Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building
1217 E. Marshall St., Richmond, VA
For information on continuing education and special needs, contact conference registrar at

Statement of Need

Since 2002, NEABPD has sponsored or collaborated in presenting 35 conferences and evaluations confirm the need for professional and general education to understand diagnostic issues and potential treatments for this disorder. Recent studies indicate a higher lifetime prevalence (5.9%) than previously thought, thus emphasizing the need to disseminate information and encourage dialogue on this disorder. NEABPD has been awarded two NIMH grants to further this mission of translating research to make information available to clinicians and the public.


  • Diagnosis and treatment interventions of borderline personality disorder should begin as soon as possible
  • Borderline Personality disorder (BPD) is a severe and generally chronic disorder and people who suffer from it are underserved.
  • Friends and families are often bewildered and do not know how to help.
  • Treatment programs for those with BPD need to be more readily available.
  • Families need access to programs such as those already developed for several other mental illnesses.
  • BPD presents patients, their families, clinicians, and researchers with multiple challenges.
  • BPD frequently co-occurs with SUD, confounding all of the above challenges


Research on BPD has lagged behind that of other major disorders. This program will address the impact of genetic research and its impact on current understandings and practice in the treatment of BPD and best practice in current treatment options on the complex challenges associated with the diagnosis and treatment of BPD in order to inform clinicians, mental health professionals, families and consumers.


This conference will provide a forum for professionals, family members, and consumers to better understand the disorder from various perspectives.

The Conference is for physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, family therapists, counselors, nurses, emergency room personnel, law enforcement personnel and agencies, educators, family members, friends, and consumers. Medical and mental health students are particularly encouraged to attend.

Accreditation and Credit Statement

University Health Services Professional Education Programs (UHS-PEP) of Virginia Commonwealth University Health System is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

UHS-PEP designates this educational activity for a maximum of 6 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This continuing education activity meets the criteria of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. .6 CEUs will be awarded and recorded with the University.

Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

Course Description

Research findings are shaping and will continue to reshape a more accurate reflection of the structure and nature of underlying factors in psychiatric disorders. As with other disorders, the research findings impact many aspects of borderline personality disorder including leads to clinical advances in treatments, the reduction of personal and community burdens, and the suffering that psychiatric disorders too often inflict.

Presenters will offer current information on research and best practice relating to BPD. Each session allows time for questions and answers, and the program includes an interactive panel that will discuss emerging issues of understanding the disorder and developing treatments, and the dissemination of current information on BPD.

Conference Focus Points

This conference is for clinical and mental health professionals, and open to consumers, and family members. This program will provide a forum for professionals, family members, and consumers to better understand BPD from various perspectives. Presenters will offer current information on research and best practice relating to BPD, Each session allows time for questions and answers, and the day will close with an interactive panel discussion that will discuss emerging issues of understanding the disorder, developing treatments, and disseminating current information on BPD.

This conference on research in genetics and the implications and impact of research findings on treatment, with a focus on borderline personality disorder, will address topics such as:

  • identify the current paradigms in psychiatric genetics
  • list the core symptoms of borderline personality disorder
  • describe the primary treatment focuses
  • explain the biological factors and associated molecular neuropharmacological principles related to BPD


Perry D. Hoffman, PhD
President, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder

Joel J. Silverman, MD
James Asa Shield, Jr., M.D. Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University



Rupa Murthy
Trish Woodward


Trish Woodward, MAT
Secretary, National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder


Robert O. Friedel, MD
Distinguished Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University
Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

John G. Gunderson, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Treatment and Research on BPD, Mclean Hospital, Belmont, MA

Kenneth S. Kendler, MD
Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry;
Professor of Human Genetics
Director, Psychiatric Genetics Research Program;
Director, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics
Virginia Commonwealth University


Video Audio Slides

Psychiatric Genetics: An Overview and Focus on Borderline Personality Disorder

Kenneth S. Kendler, MD
Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry; Professor of Human Genetics
Director, Psychiatric Genetics Research Program; Director, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetic

1) To understand the current paradigms used in psychiatric genetics — genetic epidemiology and gene-finding methods — and their relative strengths and weaknesses
2) To understand how multivariate genetic analyses can clarify the origins of patterns of comorbidity in psychiatric illness and review the current results obtained by applying these methods.
3) To understand current research on the genetics of personality disorders and particularly borderline personality disorder.

Development of BPD: Phenotypes, Mentalization, Trauma, and Unshared Environment

John G. Gunderson, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Treatment and Research on BPD, Mclean Hospital, Belmont, MA

1) identify temperamental structures, interpersonal interactions, and significant events that modify expressions of the genes that predispose to BPD
2) understand the strength and limitations of mentalization as a way to understand BPD’s core psychopathology

Psychosocial Treatment of BPD: Stigma, Comorbidity, and the Basic Components of Psychotherapy

John G. Gunderson, MD
Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Director, Center for Treatment and Research on BPD, Mclean Hospital, Belmont, MAObjectives:
1) learn how and why to disclose the BPD diagnosis to patients and families
2) learn why BPD should be the primary treatment focus when co-occurring with bipolar disorder or MDD, but not when co-occurring with substance abuse or antisocial personality disorder

Panel discussion

Discussants: Drs. Friedel, Gunderson, Kendler

The Treatment of BPD with Medications: A Neuropharmacologically-Based Approach

Robert O. Friedel, MD
Distinguished Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Virginia Commonwealth University
Professor Emeritus, University of Alabama at Birmingham

1) Participants will understand the four diagnostic dimensions/domains of BPD, and the frequently co-occurring disorders associated with BPD.
2. Participants will understand how to distinguish the core symptoms of BPD from the overlapping symptoms of the co-occurring disorders.
3) Participants will understand the rationale and the strategies for utilizing medications for the treatment of BPD and any co-occurring disorders.
4) Participants will understand the fundamental biological factors that increase the risk of developing BPD, and the associated molecular psychopharmacological principles that enhance the proper use of medications for patients with BPD.


John G. Gunderson, MD
Dr. John Gunderson is a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. At McLean Hospital he is Director of the Borderline Center’s clinical, training, and research program. His seminal studies on the diagnosis, families, psychodynamics, treatment and pathogenesis of borderline personality disorder helped transform the diagnosis from a psychoanalytic construct into an empirically validated and internationally recognized disorder and earned him recognition as the “father” of this disorder. He has increased awareness of the burdens for families and championed the involvement as collaborators. He chaired the DSM IV work group on personality disorders, and currently leads two major NIMH-funded studies, one on the longitudinal stability and the other on family transmission of borderline personality disorder In 2009 McLean Hospital honored his contributions by establishing a new treatment center in Cambridge, Mass called the Gunderson Residence. He remains actively involved in treating borderline patients using all modalities and brings this experience to bear in his talks and writing.

Robert O. Friedel, MD
Dr. Friedel is Distinguished Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Duke University, and completed an internship in internal medicine and a residency in psychiatry at Duke. He served for two years as a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Previously, Dr. Friedel was Heman E. Drummond Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has also served as chair of the departments of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Michigan, and Executive Director of the Mental Health Research Institute at the University of Michigan. Dr. Friedel has worked in the private sector as Senior Vice President, Physician-in-Chief, Director of Research and as a member of the Board of Directors of Charter Medical Corporation.

Dr. Friedel’s research interests have focused, in part, on developing effective pharmacological treatments for patients with borderline personality disorder, and on identifying biological defects in patients with this disorder. He has founded Borderline Personality Disorder Clinics at UAB and at MCV/VCU, and now directs the MCV/VCU Clinic. In 2004, Dr. Friedel published a book for patients with borderline disorder, their families and mental health professionals titled Borderline Personality Disorder Demystified.

Dr. Friedel serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder, and was named a Psychiatrist of the Year in 2007 by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). He is co-editor-in-chief of Current Psychiatry Reports, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. He is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and a number of other professional and scientific organizations. Dr. Friedel has published over 100 scientific articles, book chapters and books, and is listed in Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare and in Who’s Who in America.

Kenneth S. Kendler, MD
Kenneth S. Kendler, Banks Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Professor of Human Genetics, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University.

Dr. Kendler received his medical and psychiatric training at Stanford and Yale University, respectively. Since 1983, he has been engaged in studies of the genetics of psychiatric and substance use disorders, including schizophrenia, major depression, alcoholism, personality disorders and nicotine dependence. He has utilized methods ranging from family studies, to large-sample population-based twin studies to molecular genetic studies aimed at identifying specific genes that influence the vulnerability to schizophrenia, alcoholism, depression and nicotine dependence. Data collection for these studies has been completed in Virginia, Ireland, China, Norway and Sweden. He has published over 550 reviewed journals, has received a number of national and international awards for his work and serves on several Editorial Boards and is Editor of Psychological Medicine. Since 1996, he has served as Director of the Virginia Institute of Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics.


Perry D. Hoffman, PhD
Perry D. Hoffman, Ph.D. is the President and a co-founder of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD). She has several grants from the National Institute of Mental Health with a focus on families who have a relative with borderline personality disorder. Dr. Hoffman is co-designer of the 12-week psycho-education course for families, Family Connections, which is available in many locations both in the United States as well as other countries. She is a co editor, with John G. Gunderson, MD, of the book Understanding and Treating Borderline Personality Disorder: A Guide for Professionals and Family Member and co editor of Borderline Personality Disorder: Meeting the Challenges to Successful Treatment. Dr. Hoffman, who is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), has been the director of several treatment programs in the New York area and now is in private practice in New York City and Westchester County, NY.

Joel J. Silverman, MD
Dr. Silverman is the James A. Shield Jr., MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Medical College of Virginia at VCU in Richmond, Virginia. He has chaired this department since 1984. Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, he received his BA degree from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1965, and his MD degree from University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1969. He completed a straight medicine internship in Chicago. He then performed psychiatric residency training at University of Kansas School of Medicine and was a Senior Resident and Fellow at Medical College of Virginia. Following residency training, Dr. Silverman was the Chief of Psychiatric Service at the U.S. Army Hospital, Camp Zama, Japan, from 1973-1975. Upon his return, he joined the faculty at the Medical College of Virginia.

Dr. Silverman serves on several American Psychiatric Association components including serving as Vice Chair of the Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning, and was a member of the Council on Advocacy and Public Policy. He serves as a consultant to the APA Scientific Program Committee. He served on the Committee on Public Funding for Psychiatric Services, served on the Consortium on Funding of the Council on Psychiatric Services, and served as Chair of the APA Corresponding Committee on Physician Health, Illness & Impairment. He was also a member of the Public Affairs Committee of the National Depressive/Manic Depressive Association, the Finance Committee of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, and is a member of the VCU Health System Finance and Property Committee and the Board of MCV Physicians. In 1990, Dr. Silverman received the Distinguished Service Award from the APA District Branch, the Psychiatric Society of Virginia.

Dr. Silverman has received numerous honors and awards. He was the President of the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry and was Chair of the Residency Review Committee in Psychiatry of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education.

Virginians for Mental Health Advocacy is a multidisciplinary advocacy group that Dr. Silverman founded in 1988. This organization wrote Virginia parity legislation and has been active in protecting the rights of citizens with mental illness. He has been a senior examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for many years.

In the area of research, Dr. Silverman has played an important role, building a strong research department. An Institute of Medicine psychiatry study chose to review the department as part of its study of departments that have built credible research programs.

Dr. Silverman regularly teaches medical students and almost yearly receives medical student teaching awards. He has built a strong residency training and medical student education program, and in 1975 founded the VCU/MCV division of Consultation/Liaison. In 2000, he was a School of Medicine nominee for VCU Distinguished Service Award. In 1999, he was named Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists. In 1997, he was awarded the American Psychiatric Association Nancy G. A. Roeske Certificate of Recognition in Medical Student Education and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has been recognized in Best Doctors in America for many years.

Dr. Silverman was the Assistant Editor of Psychosomatics from 1986 to 1995 and has been a reviewer for American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychosomatics, Archives of General Psychiatry, and Journal of American Medical Association.