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NCIRE-The Veterans Health Research Institute is the leading private nonprofit institute devoted to Veterans health research in the United States. Our mission is to advance Veterans health through research.

We support the work of some of the nation's foremost physicians and scientists at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the premier biomedical research facility in the VA system. All have faculty appointments at the University of California, San Francisco, which has its own proud traditions of research and patient care. We also partner with the U.S. Department of Defense to support health research on behalf of our men and women in the Armed Forces.

Those who have served in uniform have given their best for their country. In return, we believe that they deserve nothing less than the best health care research we can provide.

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Jennifer E. Boyd, PhD

Associate Chief for Psychosocial Recovery Services, Mental Health Service, SFVAHCS
Associate Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, UCSF
Email: Jennifer.Boyd@ucsf.edu

Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness

Dr. Boyd's research investigates the influence of sociocultural factors on psychopathology and the effect of internalized stigma on the course of severe mental illness. When stigma is internalized, it contributes to a cycle of demoralization that works at cross-purposes with mental health treatment and impedes recovery. As a result, patients whose psychotic symptoms are resolved may still feel alienated from, and poorly integrated with, the community outside of the mental health treatment system. Dr. Boyd found that even among patients with an average of over 25 years of mental illness, internalized stigma predicted further noticeable deterioration in morale (depressive symptoms and lowered self-esteem) over the course of just four months. Her Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness questionnaire (written under her former name Ritsher) has been translated into over 50 languages and is being used in many projects around the world and across the US, as well as in several VA projects. Overall, Dr. Boyd's research and clinical work supports the idea that VA services that work against internalized stigma should help patients maximize their morale, mental illness coping skills, and community integration, and minimize their mental illness symptoms, substance use, and inpatient service use. Recent publications can be found here: http://profiles.ucsf.edu/ProfileDetails.aspx?Person=4882622

To see Dr. Boyd on Pub Med, click here.