In the Spotlight: Kurt Ackerman, MD, PhD


Kurt D. Ackerman, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Throughout his career at the University of Pittsburgh and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, Kurt Ackerman, MD, PhD has been very active as a clinician educator and program administrator.   He is a board-certified psychiatrist with a sub-specialty in psychosomatic medicine, and is the Medical Director for three of WPIC's mental health service areas: Adult Mood and Anxiety Services; the Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service; and Behavioral Health Information Technology.

Dr. Ackerman earned his medical degree and a doctorate degree in Neurobiology and Anatomy from the University of Rochester in New York.  He is a graduate of the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic Residency Training Program and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry.  Under the mentorship of Drs. Charles Reynolds and Christopher Martin, his research focused on interactions between the brain and immune system. More specifically, his studies focused on how the stress may exacerbate the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

Under his guidance, the Psychiatric Consultation and Liaison Program has grown into one of the largest and most diverse programs in the Country, providing inpatient consultations to nine UPMC Hospitals, as well as integrated services in a number of medical programs such as the Starzl Transplant Institute, University Internal Medicine, and Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.  In addition to the Psychiatric Consultation Service, the WPIC Adult Service Line encompasses a number of diverse clinical areas including Traditional Inpatient and Outpatient Care, Intensive Outpatient Programs, Forensic Evaluations, ECT, and Pastoral Care Services.  As the first Medical Director of Behavioral Health IT at UPMC, he is helping to coordinate the initial implementation of an inpatient Electronic Health Record System at WPIC which will go live in early 2013.  A good citizen of the clinical community, Dr. Ackerman is on a number of WPIC committees for safety, ethics and health information management. He has taught numerous classes on confidentiality, consent and privacy, and has been a mentor to several residents and junior faculty. In recognition for his service in these areas, Dr. Ackerman has been the recipient of the Special Recognition Award for Services to Residency Training and an ACES award for Exemplary Service to UPMC.