Latest program developments

Meet Henry Montero, GFDD/FUNGLODE Fellow Researching Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

New York, February 3, 2014

The Fellows Program, an initiative of GFDD and FUNGLODE, is pleased to announce the fellowship of our most recent scholar, Henry Montero Tapia, Ph.D candidate in psychology at Capella University. Henry’s research will examine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy evidence-based treatment for symptoms related to Parkinson’s disease psychosis. This research will be conducted for three months between February and May 2014 in the Dominican Republic.

Henry will realize his fellowship under the guidance of in-country Fellows advisor, Dr. Marcia Castillo, a neurologist and Parkinson’s specialist at Centro Médico Moderno, and one of the founders of Fundación Dominicana Contra el Mal de Parkinson, and his US advisor, Clinical and Board Certified Psychiatrist and Geriatric Psychiatrist, and Clinical Assistant Professor at Rutgers-RWJ UMDNJ, Olga B Soto- Moise, MD. Through the Program, Henry will also have the opportunity to connect with other professionals conducting work on similar topics in order to round out his research.

About Henry Montero
In addition to his current enrollment in Capella Unviersity’s Ph.D program, Henry holds a Master’s in Mental Health Psychology from Manhattan College, where he concentrated his studies on psychosocial behavior body language, gestures, postures and consequences. He completed his thesis on self-image and the use of androgenic steroids. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Computer Science from Monroe College, and completed a course workshop on the Impact of Information Technology in the Development of Adolescents and Adults. In addition, he completed an internship at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Department of Psychosocial Oncology Behavior.

He is credentialed from Tavistock Institute on Group Counseling and Relations from Tavistock, England.

Montero is also licensed in the states of New York and New Jersey to practice mental health, and credentialed to treat alcohol and substance abuse.

Henry previously worked for Emma L. Bowen, a community mental health center that serves an underrepresented population diagnosed with Axis I and Axis II clinical disorders.

About Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis
Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative movement disorder, affecting over six million people worldwide. The pathological finding associated with PD is the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons of the pars compacta of the substantia nigra leading to the depletion of dopamine in the striatum.

Parkinson’s disease psychosis (PDP) is a common symptom of PD but is difficult to distinguish. Although it can occur at any stage of the illness, it is a particularly salient issue for patients who are in the late stages of PD and have been unremittingly treated with dopaminergic medication. The exact pathophysiology of PDP remains unknown.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a combination of behavioral as well as cognitive therapies. A psychotherapeutic approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors, and cognitive processes through a number of goal-oriented, explicit systematic procedures based on evidence based treatments. CBT has proven to assist individuals with different mental and physical conditions. Some of these different conditions include depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, chronic pain, drug and alcohol abuse, psychotic symptoms, health issues and even relationship problems. The more specific an identified issue is; more beneficial the outcomes of CBT. It is sometimes used alone and in other instances medication can be added to it, depending on the severity or condition (Burdekin, Guilfoyle & Hall, 1993).

CBT is one of the most extensively researched evidence-based psychotherapy treatments in use today. It has been applied to a broad range of psychiatric disorders.  CBT applied to psychosis has been developed in the United States and United Kingdom over the past 20 years and derives some of its theoretical framework from the stress-vulnerability models of psychosis (Beck, Rush, Shaw, & et, 1979). Cognitive behavioral therapist seeks to help the patient to overcome difficulties by identifying and changing dysfunctional thinking, behavior, and emotional responses (Beck, Rector, Stolar, & Grant, 2008). The application of CBT involves helping patients develop skills for modifying beliefs, identifying distorted thinking, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.

About the Research
Mr. Montero’s research will focus on answering the question, “Can initial treatment using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy increase the positive quality of life for Parkinson’s disease psychosis patients?” To answer this, he will recruit two groups of ten PD or PDP patients from two hospitals in the Dominican Republic to participate in a randomized controlled trial of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy where some patients will receive the treatment and some will not. Randomized controlled trial is the most rigorous way of determining whether a cause-effect relation exists between the treatment and outcome. This research will be essential as an identifiable method of treatment for PDP that can be used by therapists in the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries.

About the Fellows Program
The Fellows Program, an extension of the internship and academic exchange program InteRDom, was developed in 2009 to respond to the  desire of GFDD and FUNGLODE to develop a community of scholars that contributes to the Foundations’ growing body of research on matters of international concern that directly impact the Dominican Republic, complementing the overall mission of GFDD and FUNGLODE to promote academic exchange, generate scholarship, and influence the creation of public policy related to economic and social development both at the national and international level.

Through The Fellows Program, GFDD and FUNGLODE seek to generate scholarship on issues at the forefront of the United Nations’ agenda in order to give voice to national and regional concerns and offer viable solutions to domestic and international challenges.

The Fellows Program provides opportunities for M.S., M.A. and Ph.D. candidates interested in conducting high-level research in the Dominican Republic on issues related to sustainable development. The final output of the investigation is a comprehensive report which includes empirical data. Fellows realize research in coordination with GFDD and FUNGLODE staff, National Advisor and their university professors. Fellows that carry-out exemplary work have the opportunity to present their findings before the United Nations community on behalf of GFDD and FUNGLODE.

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