Medalia Garners Award for Cognitive Remediation Program
Alice Medalia, PhD, who developed a widely used program to help people with mental illness improve their thinking skills, was awarded the 2012 Productive Lives Award from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in October.
Medalia, professor of clinical psychiatry, is an international leader in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation and director of the Lieber Recovery Clinic in the Columbia University Department of Psychiatry. She developed the widely used NEAR (Neuropsychological & Educational Approach to Remediation) model to help people with mental illness improve their thinking skills in such areas as attention, memory, processing speed, and problem solving.
Though many people think that hallucinations and delusions are the biggest factors preventing people with mental illness from holding a job or living independently, Medalia says that when researchers started to study the issue, they found that the principal impediments were cognitive impairments.
People with mental illness often struggle with attention and memory problems that make job skills like multi-tasking and prioritizing information impossible. Basic independent living tasks such as remembering appointments or keys become difficult. And problem-solving deficits can make it a challenge to maintain a household budget or negotiate public transportation.
At the Lieber Recovery Clinic, clients learn about their condition and how to live successfully with it in a supportive environment. The clinic’s model is now used worldwide to promote productive lives for people with severe mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, depression and ADHD.
With the Productive Lives Award, the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation has recognized Medalia’s energy, resolve and talent in helping those living with mental illness realize their potential to live full, productive lives.