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 the interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, interim director of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) at UCLA, and interim physician-in-chief of the Resnick Neuropsychiatric. Dr. Hansen is professor of psychiatry and co-chair of Research Theme in Translational Social Science and Health Equity at DGSOM, as well as associate director of UCLA’s Center for Social Medicine. She has published widely in clinical and social science journals ranging from JAMA and NEJM to Social Science and Medicine and Medical Anthropology, on faith healing of addiction in Puerto Rico, psychiatric disability under welfare reform, opioids and race, ethnic marketing of pharmaceuticals, and structural competency.