Dr. Charles Raison's work focuses on inflammation and the development of depression in response to illness and stress. He aims to translate neurobiological findings into novel pharmacological and behavioral interventions. These interventions include teaching compassion meditation as a preventive health strategy and using anti-inflammatory pharmacological agents for treatment-resistant depression. Dr. Raison joined the UA to further his research in mind-body medicine with hopes of joining his expertise in immune/neuroendocrine functioning to the strengths in psychiatry in neuroimaging and autonomic nervous system functioning, with the goal of conducting cutting edge work examining how interdependent processes at all levels – from the genes to society itself – contribute to health and well-being. Prior to joining the UA, Dr. Raison was with Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where he was an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, clinical director of the Emory Mind Body Program and director of the Behavioral Immunology Clinic. Dr. Raison serves as a mental health expert for CNNhealthcare.com and frequently appears in other media outlets. He was the 2011 Chair of the U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress. After receiving his medical degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo., Dr. Raison completed his residency in psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he served as chief resident of Adult Inpatient Services. He was the director of Emergency Psychiatry Services and attending physician of the Adult Inpatient Service at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital before moving to Emory University where he secured a Scientist Development Award for Clinicians from the National Institutes of Mental Health to launch his scientific career.
Dr. Raison's current studies look at the effects of different kinds of meditation (compassion vs. mindfulness) on behavioral and physiological responses to stress or on real worl social behavior, the effects of compassion training on brain morphology and functional connectivity, and the effects of chronic cytokine exposure on behavior, physiology, and treatment outcomes.