The Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Turns 10: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
Jenni Pacheco (National Institute of Mental Health )
Date: June 17, 2021
Time: 11:00 am Eastern
Abstract: In 2009, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) launched its Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Initiative, a research framework for investigating mental disorders. Traditionally, mental illnesses have been conceptualized as disorders that are diagnosed on the basis of the number and type of symptoms, and the presence of distress or impairment. This view of mental disorders—and the resulting diagnostic systems—provides benefits such as reliability and ease of diagnosis across a variety of contexts; however, this approach has come at the cost of numerous tradeoffs including problems with heterogeneity, comorbidities, lack of representation of the larger spectrum of functioning. The RDoC Initiative was launched in response to the growing awareness of these issues. It integrates many levels of information (from genomics and circuits to behavior and self-report) to explore basic dimensions of functioning that span the full range of human behavior from normal to abnormal. RDoC is not meant to serve as a diagnostic guide, nor is it intended to replace current diagnostic systems. The goal is to understand the nature of mental health and illness in terms of varying degrees of dysfunction in general psychological/biological systems. Since its inception, RDoC has grown into a significant initiative for NIMH, and with this talk I will explore how the development of RDoC came about, how it has begun to shape the field of psychiatric research, and where we think it can take us from here.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the webinar, participants will be able to: (1) describe the development of the Research Domain Criteria as a major priority for NIMH; (2) explain how RDoC can help to uncover informative research findings; (3) discuss the impact RDoC has had on the research field in the past 10 years.
1 BACB CEU available.
Biography: Jenni Pacheco, Ph.D., is a Scientific Program Manager for the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) Unit at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and a Program Officer for the Attention Deficit, Disruptive Behaviors, and Disorders of Behavioral Dysregulation Program within the Division of Translational Research. She received her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Clark University in Worcester, MA, received her PhD at the University of Texas at Austin, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute on Aging. Her background, prior to joining the RDoC unit, has been using techniques of neuroimaging to look at the cognitive and neural changes that occur in healthy aging, dementia, and TBI. Studying such complex and heterogeneous disorders primed her well for a career with RDoC. A member of the RDoC Unit since 2015, Jenni focuses mostly on the information in the RDoC matrix, and how it can be utilized, and updated, by mental health researchers.