PHILADELPHIA – TIME named Edna Foa, PhD, to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full TIME 100 list and related tributes appear in the May 10 issue of TIME, available on newsstands on Friday, April 30, and now at time.com.
Dr. Foa’s career has been devoted to the understanding of the psychopathology of anxiety disorders and the development of short-term, evidenced-based treatments for these disorders, including obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her theoretical and empirical work has been highly influential among researchers and clinicians in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Foa served as the chair of the OCD and PTSD work groups of the DSM-IV.
The recent dramatic increase of PTSD suffers in the U.S. and around the world, following increased terror attacks and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has resulted in urgent need to disseminate Dr. Foa’s treatment for PTSD, called Prolonged Exposure (PE), to mental health professionals. In response to this need, Dr. Foa has been devoting time to disseminating PE among mental health professionals in Veterans Affairs (VA), the U.S. military and around the world.
Dr. Foa is the director of the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety and is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
“Edna’s work has benefited the lives of patients and the training of practitioners throughout the world. I am delighted that TIME magazine has recognized her enormous contributions to the field,” says Dwight L. Evans, MD, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older have PTSD. The disorder frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; military combat; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.
Dr. Foa is the lead investigator studying PTSD for military personnel serving in and returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research consortium funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program. This program aims to develop and evaluate the most effective early interventions possible for the detection, prevention, and treatment of combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in active-duty military personnel and recently discharged veterans.
She is also leading additional clinical trials for members of the general public with OCD and PTSD. Studies are underway at the Penn Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety for patients with OCD who are partial responders to medication, smokers with PTSD as well as adolescents suffering from sexual trauma. Eligibility criteria for these clinical trials are posted at http://www.med.upenn.edu/ctsa.
Dr. Foa has authored 20 books – some translated into multiple languages, including Spanish, German, Japanese and Chinese – and has published over 200 papers and book chapters. She has been honored for her contributions by the American Psychological Association, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Philadelphia Society of Clinical Psychologists. Dr. Foa received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy (ABCT). She is also the recipient of the Annual Signature Service Award from Women Organized Against Rape.
The Penn Medicine Department of Psychiatry is consistently ranked among the nation’s top five psychiatry departments in its level of funding from the National Institutes of Health. Penn Behavioral Health, the clinical arm of the department, offers access to clinical programs and faculty members. The department is currently ranked#16 in the Best Psychiatry Hospital category by U.S.News and World Report.