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Advancing Behavioral Health Care Through Exploration

Vail Health Behavioral Health Innovation Center launches research with three novel studies. In the pursuit of advancing behavioral health care, the Vail Health Behavioral Health Innovation Center (VHBHIC) is on a path to becoming a world-renowned hub for behavioral health research, treatment, and education. Through a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, VHBHIC will enhance behavioral health care for patients in Eagle County and beyond. Thanks to generous gifts from Mike and Mary Sue Shannon and the Ann and Gary Fish Foundation, VHBHIC is poised to achieve its goals.

Under the leadership of Dr. Charles Raison, Director of VHBHIC, the team will collaborate closely with UW-Madison researchers. Together, they are spearheading initial studies centered on basic science and preclinical investigations. Three inaugural studies will explore novel approaches to behavioral health treatments.

Exploring Inventive Approaches to Mental Health Treatment

One study will explore ways to optimize the proven benefits of hyperthermia for depression. The Cold and Heat Investigation to Lower Levels of Depression Study, or CHILL’D, will determine if adding cold to heat will improve outcomes and whether hyperthermia can be effectively combined with standard antidepressants.

Another study, the RECAP Study Program, will be conducted at UW–Madison and will use model systems to develop and optimize neuroscience techniques for assessing the effects of psilocybin on the brain in the context of mental health disorders.

Results of the RECAP Follow-Up Study will inform the next study to be conducted at VHBHIC in partnership with UWMadison, Emory University and SPRI. The Optimizing Psilocybin (OPT-IN) Study will examine novel ways to enhance the impact of psilocybin on depression and anxiety via co-administration of non-invasive vagus nerve stimulation. It will also assess the impact of psilocybin on real-world social behavior and will use advanced strategies to better understand the risks and benefits of psilocybin use in a legalized setting, such as Colorado.

VHBHIC models relationships established among many academic medical centers and research universities. Collaborating with researchers at the UW–Madison on initial studies focused on basic science and preclinical investigations, future collaborations are envisioned with other institutions.

To learn more about VHBHIC, contact the Vail Health Foundation at or (970) 569-7766.
Charles-Raison-Advancing-Behavioral-Health Care
Charles Raison, MD Director of the Vail Health Behavioral Health Innovation Center

Named one of the world’s most influential researchers, Charles Raison, MD, is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Raison’s research focuses on understanding novel mechanisms involved in the development and treatment of major depression, stress-related conditions, and the effects of compassion training.

He has also contributed to the exploration of psychedelic medicines as potential treatments for depression.

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