Russell McCann is an acting assistant professor in the UW Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and is the Deputy Director of the Telemental Health Program for the VA Puget Sound Region. He specializes in mental health services delivered via clinical video teleconferencing (CVT) and is broadly interested in using technology to facilitate access to mental health care. Dr. McCann leads the telepsychiatry curriculum development for both the fulltime Integrated Care Fellowship and the Community-Based Integrated Care Fellowship.
What do you find most satisfying about working on the Integrated Care Training Program (ICTP)?
I really enjoy the opportunity to provide telepsychiatry training to the ICTP fellows. It has been rewarding to help foster an appreciation for telepsychiatry and see the fellows leave the year-long experience with interest in making telepsychiatry a part of their careers.
From your perspective, what do you feel are the greatest successes of ICTP to date?
I think the greatest success of the ICTP project has been the impact it’s had throughout Washington State. The map showing the reach of ICTP is remarkable. I also count the development of the ICTP didactic series as a great success. The trainings that were produced for ICTP are fantastic and together make this didactic series the best that I’ve ever come across.
What led you to where you are today professionally?
So many things! A couple notable ones. As an undergraduate I took a social psychology course that I found intensely interesting. This class really started me on my professional journey. Another seminal moment took place years later when I attended a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the National Center for Telehealth and Technology. My experiences during that fellowship showed me the potential for technology to augment and improve access to mental health services.
Who is the most inspirational person to you?
I am inspired by people who exhibit resilience. One such person is ex-UW football player Deontae Cooper. He was a highly-rated recruit coming out of high school and didn’t end up with gaudy statistics by the time he left the UW. While on campus he experienced three torn ACLs that kept him off the field for as many seasons. He never quit. He rehabbed after each injury, kept returning to the field, and used the extra time on campus to earn two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree. Such a story of perseverance.
Tell us about your favorite vacation. What makes it your favorite?
My favorite vacation spot might be Maui. The weather is fantastic, the water is warm, the location is not too populated, tons of natural beauty to experience. My spouse and I have been there a couple times together and love it. It’ll be fun for us to share Maui with our four year-old son someday.
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
(One of) my favorite teachers was UW professor Geoff Loftus. Geoff shared with me his passion for statistics and gave me the opportunity to work as a teacher’s assistant for his statistic series. This was my first real exposure to being in front of a group of learners and showed me what it took to know a topic well enough to teach others.