Chair of the Immunology and Psychiatry Section | Loyola Medicine
Friday, November 14, 2014

Dr. Angelos Halaris of Loyola Stritch elected immunology and psychiatry section chair

MAYWOOD, Ill. –  Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine professor Angelos Halaris, MD, PhD, has been elected chair of the Immunology and Psychiatry Section of the World Psychiatric Association.

During a three-year, renewable term, Dr. Halaris will oversee the organization and implementation of worldwide programs to increase awareness immunology and psychiatry among psychiatrists and other mental health professionals immunology and psychiatry.

The immune system and the central nervous system interact and influence each other in health and disease. For example, 40 to 60 percent of heart disease patients suffer clinical depression and 30 to 50 percent of patients who suffer clinical depression are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Halaris has proposed a new subspecialty to diagnose and treat patients who suffer both depression and heart disease. He's calling it "psychocardiology.”

Stress is the key to understanding the association between depression and heart disease. Stress can lead to depression, and depression, in turn, is a major stress factor. The body's immune system fights stress as it would fight a disease or infection. In response to stress, the immune system produces proteins called cytokines, including various interleukins. Initially, this inflammatory response protects against stress. But over time, a chronic inflammatory response can lead to arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), cardiovascular disease and cerebrovascular disease, which can cause heart attacks and strokes.

During a recent meeting of the World Psychiatric Association Thematic Conference on Intersectional Collaboration, Dr. Halaris was awarded the Athenian Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Psychiatry and Related Sciences. This award was in recognition of Dr. Halaris’ efforts over many years to enhance collaboration between mental health professionals and medical specialists, especially neurologists, obstetricians and cardiologists.

Dr. Halaris is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Stritch.

About Loyola Medicine and Trinity Health

Loyola Medicine, a member of Trinity Health, is a quaternary care system based in the western suburbs of Chicago that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, MacNeal Hospital and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services from 1,877 physicians throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital in Maywood that includes the William G. and Mary A. Ryan Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, Illinois's largest burn center, a certified comprehensive stroke center and a children’s hospital. Having delivered compassionate care for over 50 years, Loyola also trains the next generation of caregivers through its teaching affiliation with Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine and Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing. Gottlieb is a 247-licensed-bed community hospital in Melrose Park with 150 physician offices, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park. MacNeal Hospital is a 374-bed teaching hospital in Berwyn with advanced inpatient and outpatient medical, surgical and psychiatric services, advanced diagnostics and treatments. MacNeal has a 12-bed acute rehabilitation unit, a 25-bed inpatient skilled nursing facility, and a 68-bed behavioral health program and community clinics. MacNeal has provided quality, patient-centered care to the near west suburbs since 1919.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic healthcare systems in the nation, serving diverse communities that include more than 30 million people across 22 states. Trinity Health includes 94 hospitals, as well as 109 continuing care locations that include PACE programs, senior living facilities and home care and hospice services. Its continuing care programs provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually. Based in Livonia, Mich., and with annual operating revenues of $18.3 billion and assets of $26.2 billion, the organization returns $1.1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs. Trinity employs about 133,000 colleagues, including 7,800 employed physicians and clinicians. Committed to those who are poor and underserved in its communities, Trinity is known for its focus on the country's aging population. As a single, unified ministry, the organization is the innovator of Senior Emergency Departments, the largest not-for-profit provider of home health care services—ranked by number of visits—in the nation, as well as the nation’s leading provider of PACE (Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly) based on the number of available programs.