Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D.
Professor of Psychiatry
Helen Blair Simpson, M.D., Ph.D., is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, Director of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Director of the Center for Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders. Dr. Simpson graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She then completed the M.D.-Ph.D. program at The Rockefeller University/Cornell University Medical College. After completing internship and residency training at the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center/New York State Psychiatric Institute, she joined the Anxiety Disorders Clinic in 1996 first as a research fellow, then as an independent researcher, and since 2006 as its director.
Dr. Simpson's own research program focuses on anxiety disorders and OCD. For the patients of today, she uses clinical trial methodology to examine current treatments and the best way to deliver them. For the patients of tomorrow, she collaborates with brain imagers and basic scientists to study the underlying brain mechanisms of obsessions, compulsions, and anxiety, with the goal of identifying novel targets for treatment development. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and private foundations like the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation and NARSAD. She helped the American Psychiatric Association develop practice guidelines for the treatment of patients with OCD. She has advised the American Psychiatric Association and the World Health Organization on the classification of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.