The Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA

The UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) was founded in the post World War II era, as a research, education and treatment center with the mission to serve those citizens who suffer chronic psychiatric and neurological disease and behavioral disorder. Initially supported entirely by state funds from the California Department of Mental Hygiene, the Neuropsychiatric Institute, and the Hospital (NPH) that is integral to its provision of clinical care, opened their doors in 1961. Initially, the combined Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, as implied in its name, oversaw two clinical departments, Psychiatry and Neurology, and two clinical services, Neurosurgery and Neuropathology and provided support for other disciplines germane to the study of severe mental illness including applied neuroscience, psychology and anthropology. In 1973 the NPI resources were transferred to the University and the Institute became part of the Health Sciences. Shortly thereafter the Department of Neurology became independent, although the faculty and teaching programs still receive some support through the NPI.

In 2004 with the endowment of the Institute and Hospital, the Jane & Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior was established and the Neuropsychiatric Hospital was renamed the Stewart & Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital.

Helena Hansen, MD, PhD

Helena Hansen, an MD, Ph.D. psychiatrist-anthropologist, is Professor and Interim Chair of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, and Interim Director of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. She is an international leader in the field of social medicine, and of integration of rigorous social science into academic medicine as well as into research on social determinants of health and health equity. She popularized the term "Translational Social Science" by launching UCLA medical school's research theme in Health Equity and Translational Social Science as its inaugural chair from 2020-2023 . She is the author of three books: Whiteout: How Racial Capitalism Changed the Color of Opioids in America (with Jules Netherland and David Herzberg, University of California Press 2023); Structural Competency in Medicine and Mental Health: A Case-Based Approach to Treating the Social Determinants of Health (with Jonathan Metzl, Springer Press 2019); and Addicted to Christ: Remaking Men in Puerto Rican Pentecostal Drug Ministries (University of California Press 2018). She is the author of over 100 articles and chapters in leading clinical and social science journals, serves or has served on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Psychiatry, American Anthropologist, Milbank Quarterly and Medical Anthropology Quarterly among others, serves on the governing boards of the International Society for Addiction Medicine, the Lancet Commission on US Health Policy, the National Academy of Medicine Opioid Action Collaborative and the Drug Policy Alliance among others, and has received numerous awards, including an honorary doctorate from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, and election to the National Academy of Medicine in 2021.