Behavioral Medicine Center

Location and Contact Information

  • Phone: (434) 924-5314
  • Fax: (434) 924-0185
  • Address: Behavioral Medicine Center PO Box 800223 University of Virginia Health System Charlottesville, VA 22908
  • The Behavioral Medicine Center is located in UVA Hospital West, Collins IV (formally Barringer), room 4472.

Faculty: Virginia Andersen, Ph.D., Heather Bruschwein, Psy.D., Amit Shahane, Ph.D., Jaclyn Shepard, Psy.D.., and Joanna Yost, Ph.D.

Clinical: The Behavioral Medicine Center provides outpatient psychological assessment, intervention, and consultation services for a wide variety of patient populations and presenting problems. Referral sources include UVA medical clinics, providers in private practice, and UVA Student Health. Patients referred present with psychological factors that impact medical symptoms or conditions, including, but not limited to:

  • Insomnia
  • Diabetes
  • Gastrointestinal conditions
  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Neurological conditions

Common goals for treatment include improving adjustment to, and coping with, emotional and behavioral demands of acute, chronic, and life-threatening medical problems, reducing anxiety, improving mood, improving adherence to medical regimens.

Patients’ ages range from early childhood to the geriatric years. Presenting problems are typically treated with evidence-based treatment protocols that are individually-tailored to a patient’s personality and needs. A cognitive-behavioral approach to treatment is typically utilized. While many of these interventions are brief in duration, there is longer-term work with some patients. In addition to specific cognitive-behavioral interventions, state-of-the-art computer-based assessment and treatment tools are utilized.

Education: The Behavioral Medicine Center faculty members have primary responsibility for training three postdoctoral fellows in Behavioral Medicine. These faculty members are also primary supervisors for psychology graduate students and psychiatry residents. They provide supervision and training to these fellows, students, and residents in evidence-based psychotherapy within the Behavioral Medicine Center and in the Out-Patient Psychiatric Clinic.

Research: The Behavioral Medicine Center faculty members are heavily involved in their own government and industry funded research as Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators in the areas of diabetes, encopresis, ADHD, insomnia, e-health, and driver simulation. Their NIH and industry funded research includes the following project areas:

  • Evaluating the real-world benefits of long acting stimulant medication for young adults diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Evaluating the benefits of a behavioral intervention for drivers with type 1 diabetes to aid them in the prevention, detection and treatment of hypoglycemia while driving.
  • Develop a virtual reality driving simulator that can quantify tactical and operational skills/deficits of driving and that can aid in the rehabilitation of patients/soldiers suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
  • Development of a scale that quantifies driving-specific risk taking.
  • Parent-child co-regulation of pediatric diabetes through development of a behavioral training program for parents of children with type 1 diabetes.
  • Biobehavioral open-loop control: Human intelligence and algorithmic feedback in an artificial pancreas project, aiming at the creating of closed loop algorithms for treatment of type 1 diabetes.
  • Development of patient education materials for clinical interpretation and use of continuous glucose monitoring in type 1 diabetes management.
  • Development of a web-based system for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy treatment of insomnia.

The Virginia Driving Safety Center of Excellence, located in the  Center for Behavioral Medicine Research, utilizes unique, state-of-the-art, virtual-reality driving simulation to assess, rehabilitate and train driving skills and safety in a low risk, protected environment. This and other computer based assessment tools are employed to address two assessment questions:1) following an acute insult, e.g. stroke, is the person ready to resume independent driving, and 2) at what point in the course of a progressive disease, e.g. Alzheimer’s Disease, is it time to discontinue driving. Further, this technology is used to rehabilitate driving skills for individuals recovering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or stroke, as well as to aid nervous drivers to become more comfortable with driving. Additionally, this is an active research facility funded by NIH, DoD, and pharmaceutical companies.

In addition, the Behavioral Medicine faculty members provide significant service regionally, nationally and internationally as grant reviewers for government other funding organizations. This includes membership on NIH Study Sections and Special Emphasis Panels, service on international non-profit organization grant programs, such as Diabetes U.K.