Thought Leader, Care Redesign

Jürgen Unützer, MD, MPH, MA

Professor and Chair
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington


Dr. Unützer is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and health services researcher. His work focuses on innovative models of care that integrate mental health and general medical services and on translating research on evidence-based mental health care into effective clinical and public health practice. He has more than 300 scholarly publications and is the recipient of numerous federal and foundation grants and awards for his research to improve the health and mental health of populations through patient-centered integrated mental health services.

Dr. Unützer is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. He also holds adjunct appointments as Professor in the School of Public Health (in the departments of Health Services and Global Health) and as Affiliate Investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, WA.

Dr. Unützer founded the AIMS Center (http://aims.uw.edu), which is dedicated to “Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions.” He led the development and testing of IMPACT, an evidence-based model of depression care that has been implemented in more than 1,000 primary care clinics in the United States and abroad. IMPACT has been shown in randomized controlled trials to double the effectiveness of usual care for depression while lowering long- term health care costs. In recent years, Dr. Unützer’s work has focused on developing local, regional, national, and global partnerships that support workforce development and capacity building in primary and behavioral health care.

Dr. Unützer has served as Senior Scientific Advisor to the World Health Organization and as an advisor to the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. He works with national and international organizations to improve behavioral health care for diverse populations. His awards include the Beeson Physician Faculty Scholars Award from the American Foundation for Aging Research, the Klerman Junior and Senior Investigator Awards from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry, the Research Award from the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine, the Senior Health Services Scholar Award from the American Psychiatric Association, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Medicine and Psychiatry.

Dr. Unützer trained in medicine (MD, Vanderbilt University), public policy (MA, University of Chicago), and public health / health services (MPH, University of Washington). He completed fellowships in geriatric psychiatry at UCLA and in primary care psychiatry at the University of Washington.

PCPs for Integrated Care - The Importance of Buy-In Panel Clip Still

Care Redesign

PCPs for Integrated Care: The Importance of Buy-In

How do you get the buy-in from primary care providers to integrate mental and behavioral health services into their practices and build a system of truly collaborative care?

Why We Became Doctors—and How That Changed to Mental Health Care - Panel Clip Still

Care Redesign

Why We Became Doctors—and How That Changed

These specialists in mental health care collaboration, addiction, and chronic pain didn’t start out that way. But they saw huge gaps in care for patients who needed these services and decided to do something about it.

What If We Treated Mental Health Like Cancer Talk Still Jürgen Unützer

Care Redesign

What If We Treated Mental Health Like Cancer?

How would we react if only 1 out of 10 people with cancer saw a doctor trained in that specialty? That’s where we are in mental health care — but collaborative primary care models have the power to change that.

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