Lydia Chwastiak, MD, MPH supervises the ICTP fellows in a year-long practical experience to implement Collaborative Care in a primary care clinic. Dr. Chwastiak received her MD at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed residency in internal medicine at the University of Colorado. During internal medicine training, Dr. Chwastiak became intrigued by the interactions between mental health and medical illness. She went on to complete psychiatry residency at the University of California, San Francisco, where she first started working in the Integrated Care models that were being introduced in the national Veterans Affairs (VA) system. After residency, she moved to Seattle to complete an National Research Service Award (NRSA)-funded research fellowship in Psychiatry and Primary Care at UW with Wayne Katon MD, during which time she also completed her MPH degree. After fellowship, Dr. Chwastiak accepted a faculty position at Yale School of Medicine, and her research there focused on improving the medical care and medical outcomes for patients with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia.
Over the past fifteen years, she has worked as both a psychiatric consultant in primary care and HIV clinics, and as a primary care provider in community mental health centers. Since joining the UW faculty in 2012, she has provided clinical care as a psychiatric consultant in Washington State’s Mental Health Integration Program, which has implemented the IMPACT model in over 100 community health centers statewide. Dr. Chwastiak believes that her most important work has been to draw attention to the health disparities experienced by persons living with serious mental illness. She hopes that five years from now, Collaborative Care models will be widely disseminated and provide access to high-quality mental health treatment for vulnerable populations. She is enthusiastic about mentoring the ICTP fellows in research projects. Her current NIH-funded research involves the development and evaluation of innovative Collaborative Care interventions for diabetes and depression in low- and middle-income countries, and also for community mental health center patients with serious mental illness.