Wednesday, October 12

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

I Try to Keep Catching His Eye

Ivan Maisel with Michael Gitlin, MD

I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye is a stunning, poignant exploration of the father and son relationship, of how our tendency to overlook men’s mental health can have devastating consequences, and how ultimately letting those who grieve do so openly and freely can lead to greater healing.


In this deeply emotional memoir, longtime ESPN writer Ivan Maisel,  reflects on the suicide of his son Max and delves into how their complicated relationship led him to see grief as love. In February 2015, Ivan Maisel received a call that would alter his life forever: his son Max's car had been found abandoned in a parking next to Lake Ontario. Two months later, Max's body would be found in the lake. There’d been no note or obvious indication that Max wanted to harm himself; he’d signed up for a year-long subscription to a dating service; he’d spent the day he disappeared doing photography work for school. And this uncertainty became part of his father’s grief. I Keep Trying to Catch His Eye explores with grace, depth, and refinement the tragically transformative reality of losing a child. But it also tells the deeply human and deeply empathetic story of a father’s relationship with his son, of its complications, and of Max and Ivan’s struggle—as is the case for so many parents and their children—to connect. 


Ivan Maisel is Vice President/Editorial and Senior Writer at  He has covered college football for nearly four decades from 2002-2021 as a senior writer for ESPN, where he wrote for, appearing on television,  ESPN Radio and on podcasts. He also served as Editor-at-Large for ESPN College Football 150.  Prior to joining, Maisel covered national college football for Sports Illustrated, Newsday and The Dallas Morning News.  He has been honored eight time for Best Story by the Football Writer Association of American and twice by the Associated Press Sports Editors, which in 2019 named him one of the 10 best sports columnists.  

Michael Gitlin, M.D. will join Mr. Maisel in conversation. Dr. Gitlin is Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychiatry, Director, Adult Division of Psychiatry, Director, Mood Disorders Clinic David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email



Wednesday, October 26

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

All That is Bitter & Sweet

Ashley Judd with Jonathan Flint, MD

In her unforgettable memoir, and New York Times bestseller, All That is Bitter and Sweet, renowned actress and humanitarian,  Ashley Judd describes her emotional pain, stemming from the childhood trauma of abandonment and abuse.  Seeking in-patient treatment in 2006 for the grief that had nearly killed her, Ashley found not only her own recovery and an enriched faith but the spiritual tools that energized and advanced her feminist social justice work.


Her story ranges from anger to forgiveness, isolation to interdependence, depression to activism. In telling it, she resoundingly answers the ineffable question about the relationship between healing oneself and service to others.


Ashley Judd is a feminist social justice humanitarian. She has traveled to 22 countries to be in community with girls and women in brothels, slums, orphanages, hospices, and on the streets. Serving as the Goodwill Ambassador for the UNFPA, the agency for sexual and reproductive rights and justice.  She envisions a world in which male entitlement to female bodies and impunity will end. Ashley’s graduate school paper at Harvard Law School, Gender Violence: Law and Social Justice, was awarded the Dean’s Scholar award. An award winning actor since her Sundance Grand Jury Prize winning film, Ruby in Paradise, Ashley equally devotes her time to studying the endangered great apes, the bonobos, deep in the Congo, where her partner has a research camp. Egalitarian, matriarchal, entirely free from male sexual coercion, and undergirded by strong female coalitions, Bonobos give her hope. Ashley has been in recovery from childhood grief, trauma, and other hurts since 2006. 

Dr. Jonathan Flint is a highly regarded scientist and expert in genetic neuroscience. He trained in medicine and psychiatry in London and Oxford before moving to UCLA at the beginning of 2016 to become one of the leaders of UCLA's Depression Grand Challenge, a campus wide initiative to find the causes of depression and use that knowledge to develop new, effective, therapies. He is a British behavior geneticist who fundamentally advanced understanding of the genetic basis of behavior, thereby determining the direction of research in psychiatric genetics. 

Dr. Flint developed the first genome wide association strategy that identified genes and sequence variants underlying complex behavioral traits, particularly anxiety and depression, in mammals. He pioneered the analysis of structural variation in telomeres as a cause of intellectual disability. He also identified the first robust genetic associations for major depression in humans, implying a novel origin for psychiatry’s commonest disorder. 

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


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Monday, November 7

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

Living a Full and Meaningful Life with Bipolar Disorder

Devika Bhushan, MD, FAAP with Michael Gitlin, MD

Please join The Friends of the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital Board of Advisors for an Open Mind program on bipolar disorder with Devika Bhushan, MD, FAAP, California’s Acting Surgeon General and the inaugural Chief Health Officer of the newly founded Office of the California Surgeon General. Michael Gitlin, MD, Distinguished Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at UCLA and the Director of the Adult Division in the Department of Psychiatry, will join Dr. Bhushan in conversation.  


Devika Bhushan, MD is a pediatrician, public health practitioner, and California’s former Acting Surgeon General. She has led systems innovation at a statewide level, conceiving of and launching efforts to enhance resilience and promote health equity for millions. She is also a leading voice in destigmatizing living with mental illness.

Dr. Bhushan has served as California’s Acting Surgeon General (2022) and the inaugural Chief Health Officer of the Office of the California Surgeon General (2019-2022). In these roles, she served as a key public health spokesperson and advisor to the Governor and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Bhushan co-launched and led implementation of the ACEs Aware Initiative, the first-in-the-nation, $500 million program focused on treating toxic stress after childhood adversity to transform health. So far, the Initiative has trained more than 24,000 clinical team members and has directly screened nearly 1 million patients. Dr. Bhushan conceptualized and led development of the Initiative’s clinician-facing online curriculum, Becoming ACEs Aware in California, in addition to other key clinical tools and resources. She also served as Editor-in-Chief and lead author of the first California Surgeon General’s report that presents a cross-sector blueprint to prevent and address early adversity, entitled Roadmap for Resilience: The California Surgeon General’s Report on Adverse Childhood Experiences, Toxic Stress, and Health. Dr. Bhushan has authored other timely public health advisories, publications, and public service announcements, including on addressing youth and caregiver mental health needs, the infant formula shortage, and COVID-19 vaccination.


Dr. Bhushan has research, policy, and clinical expertise in adversity and resilience, toxic stress, trauma-informed systems, mental health, the impacts of sex and gender on health, health equity, and addressing the structural determinants of health. Dr. Bhushan has served on Stanford’s faculty in the General Pediatrics division, where she taught pediatrics residents and medical students at a federally qualified health center. She is a skilled communicator with significant journalism and editorial experience. Dr. Bhushan’s work has been published in The Lancet, Pediatrics, The Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, and The Sacramento Bee.


Dr. Bhushan earned a BA with research Honors in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University, with distinctions of Summa Cum Laude as a John Kluge W. Scholar and an inductee into Phi Beta Kappa. She earned an MD at Harvard Medical School, Cum Laude. She undertook a general pediatrics residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Bloomberg Children’s Center.


In her spare time, Dr. Bhushan enjoys writing, travel, photography, and making pottery. Having grown up between the Philippines, India, and the United States, she is an immigrant and a first-generation American. She lives in San Francisco with her long-time partner and their son.


In addition to being the Director of Adult Division of Psychiatry, Dr. Michael Gitlin is the Interim Director of the Geriatric Division in the Department of Psychiatry, Medical Director of the Neuropsychiatric Behavioral Health Services and Director of the Mood Disorders Clinic at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Hospital. From 1980 until 2004, he was the Medical Director of the Aftercare Clinic, a research clinic in schizophrenia. He is the author of over 160 scientific articles and book chapters as well as five books, including: two editions of a solo authored psychopharmacology textbook written for nonphysician therapists.  He served as Chief of Staff at the Neuropsychiatric Hospital from 1997-1999. Among his awards are: Distinguished Educator Award in Teaching from the UCLA Department of Psychiatry (1999), Outstanding Housestaff Teaching Award, 1994 and 2008, Teacher of the Year from the Psychiatric Times in 2002; Dadone Clinical Teaching award from the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2010; and the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award from the Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in 2010. 

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email



Thursday, November 17

5:00 PM - 6:15 PM PT

Open Mind Documentary


Patrick Sammon with Andrew Solomon, PhD

The critically acclaimed documentary, CURED by filmmakers Bennett Singer and Patrick Sammon, depicts the inner workings of the campaign that led to homosexuality being delisted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 1973.  


Mentally ill. Deviant. Diseased. And in need of a cure. These were among the terms psychiatrists used to describe lesbians and gay men in the 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. According to the medical establishment, every gay person—no matter how well-adjusted—suffered from a mental disorder. And as long as lesbians and gay men were “sick,” progress toward equality was impossible. 


CURED chronicles the battle waged by a small group of activists who declared war against a formidable institution—and won a crucial victory in the modern movement for LGBTQ equality. This feature-length documentary takes viewers inside the David versus-Goliath struggle that led the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from its manual of mental illnesses in 1973. Viewers meet the key players who achieved this victory, along with allies and opponents within the APA. The film illuminates the strategy and tactics that led to this pivotal yet largely unknown moment. Indeed, following the Stonewall uprising of 1969, the campaign that culminated in the APA’s decision marks the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBTQ Americans. 


While CURED is indisputably about science, medicine, and politics, at its core this is a film about activism and the process of social change. It features a diverse group of crusaders with stubborn dedication and big personalities who came together at a crossroads in LGBTQ history. Their tenacity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity brought about a change that transformed not only LGBTQ people’s perceptions of themselves, but also the social fabric of America.


Patrick Sammon who conceived, co-directed and co-produced CURED along with LA-based filmmaker, Bennet Singer,  will participate in a discussion about the film with world-renowned author, Andrew Solomon, PhD.  Mr. Sammon previously served as creator and executive producer of CODEBREAKER, an award-winning drama-documentary about the life and legacy of gay British codebreaker Alan Turing that reached more than three million viewers world wide.   


Andrew Solomon, Ph.D. is a  writer and lecturer on politics, culture and psychology.  He is the author of numerous critically acclaimed books including Noon Day Demons that he won the National Book Award for, and Far From the Tree that was made into a documentary film. Dr. Solomon is also a Professor of Clinical Medical Psychology (in Psychiatry) at Columbia University Medical Center, former President of PEN American Center ; and an activist in LGBTQ rights, mental health, and the arts

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email



Tuesday, December 6

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

Heartbreak, A Personal and Scientific Journey

Florence Williams with Steve Cole, PhD

In her new book, Heartbreak - A Personal and Scientific Journey, renowned journalist and author, Florence Williams, offers a gripping account of grief and healing.  Through a remarkable merging of science and self-discovery, Williams explores the fascinating, cutting-edge science of heartbreak while seeking creative ways to mend her own. With warmth, daring, wit and candor, Williams offers new evidence-based ways to think about loneliness, health and what it means to fall in and out of love. 


When her twenty-five-year marriage suddenly falls apart, Florence Williams expects the loss to hurt. But when she starts feeling physically sick, losing weight and sleep, she sets out in pursuit of rational explanation. She travels to the frontiers of the science of “social pain” to learn why heartbreak hurts so much—and why so much of the conventional wisdom about it is wrong.


Soon Williams finds herself on a surprising path that leads her from neurogenomic research laboratories to trying MDMA in a Portland therapist’s living room, from divorce workshops to the mountains and rivers that restore her. She tests her blood for genetic markers of grief, undergoes electrical shocks while looking at pictures of her ex, and discovers that our immune cells listen to loneliness. Searching for insight as well as personal strategies to game her way back to health, she seeks out new relationships and ventures into the wilderness in search of an extraordinary antidote: awe. Florence Williams is also the author of Breasts, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The Nature Fix. A contributing editor at Outside magazine, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, National Geographic, and many other outlets. She lives in Washington, DC.

Dr. Steven Cole will join Ms. Williams in conversation. Dr. Cole is a Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences and Medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His research utilizes molecular genetics and computational bioinformatics to analyze the pathways by which social and environmental factors influence the activity of the human genome, as well as viral and cancer genomes. He pioneered the field of human social genomics, and discovered the "Conserved Transcriptional Response to Adversity" that mediates health disparities via fight-or-flight stress signaling to the immune system. He serves as Director of the UCLA Social Genomics Core Laboratory, and is a member of the the Semel Institute's Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email



Tuesday, January 17, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

Platonic: How the Science of Attachment Can

Help You Make–and Keep–Friends 

Marisa G. Franco, PhD

What’s the single best action a person can take now to live a longer life? How do you take the edge off of depression? What can single people do to flourish, and married people do to revitalize their marriage? The answer to all of these questions is good friendship.


Yet, despite friendship’s essential benefits, people are experiencing friendship famine. According to a survey of 2000 adults, the average American hasn’t made a new friend in the last five years, and yet, 45% of people would go out of their way to make a new friend if they only knew how. Platonic: How The Science of Attachment Can Help You Make–and Keep–Friends leverages the best of psychological research to provide an easily digestible guide for how to make, maintain, and deepen friendships.


Platonic unearths a jackpot of psychology research that demonstrates how sustaining friendship is a process, not just of behaviors, but of fundamentally reconciling with how we view ourselves. Platonic sets itself apart by not just providing hot tips for friendship but rumbling with how people’s underlying psychological architecture sabotages or harmonizes with their ability to sustain friends. In Platonic, the world of friendship cracks wide-open and the data is used to glue it together again.


An enlightening psychologist, author, and national speaker, Dr. Marisa G Franco is known for digesting and communicating science in ways that resonate deeply enough with people to change their lives. She works as a professor at The University of Maryland and writes about friendship

for Psychology Today. Dr. Franco has also been a featured connection expert for major publications like The New York Times, The Telegraph, and Vice. She

speaks on belonging at corporations, government agencies, non-profits, and universities across the country. On her website,,

 you can find a free quiz to assess your strengths and weaknesses as a friend.  

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.


For questions email


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Thursday, February 9, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

The Grieving Brain

Mary-Francis OConnor, PhD with Dr. Brenda Bursch

Loss of a loved one is something everyone experiences, and for as long as humans have existed, we have struggled when a loved one dies. Poets and playwrights have written about the dark cloak of grief, the deep yearning, and devastating heartache of loss. But until now, we have had little scientific perspective on this universal experience. In THE GRIEVING BRAIN: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss, renowned grief expert, neuroscientist, psychologist, and the first recipient of The Friends of Semel/Drown Foundation Scholar Award in 2006,  Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD, shares groundbreaking discoveries about what happens in our brain when we grieve, providing a new paradigm for understanding love, loss, and learning.


In The Grieving Brain, Dr. O’Connor, who has devoted decades to researching the effects of grief on the brain, reveals a fascinating new window into one of the hallmark experiences of being human. She makes cutting-edge neuroscience accessible and guides us through how we encode love and grief. With love, our neurons help us form attachments to others; but, with loss, our brain must come to terms with where our loved ones went, and how to imagine a future that encompasses their absence. Significantly, O’Connor debunks Kubler-Ross’ enduring idea of the “Five Stages of Grief” and sets a new paradigm for understanding grief on a neurological level.


Based on O’Connor’s own trailblazing neuroimaging work, research in the field, and real-life stories, The Grieving Brain brings together accessible science and practical knowledge that provides a more nuanced understanding of what happens when we grieve and how to navigate loss with more ease and grace.


Mary-Frances O’Connor, PhD is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Arizona, where she directs the Grief, Loss and Social Stress (GLASS) Lab, which investigates the effects of grief on the brain and the body. O’Connor earned a doctorate from the University of Arizona in 2004 and completed a fellowship at UCLA. Following a faculty appointment at UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, she returned to the University of Arizona in 2012. Her work has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Biological Psychiatry, and Psychological Science, and featured in Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Having grown up in Montana, she now lives in Tucson, Arizona. 

Dr. Brenda Bursch will join Dr. O'Connor in discussion.  Dr. Bursch is a medical psychologist and a professor in the UCLA departments of both Psychiatry and Pediatrics. She spent 30 years working with medically ill youth hospitalized in Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA. In recent years, she has been working to embed medical psychologists into many of the UCLA subspecialty pediatric medical clinics.  

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2023

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM PT

Open Mind Lecture

This Is What It Sounds Like - 

What the Music You Love Says About You

Susan Rogers

When you listen to music, do you prefer lyrics or melody? Intricate harmonies or driving rhythm? The “real” sounds of acoustic instruments or those of computerized synthesizers? THIS IS WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE: What the Music You Love Says About You, by cognitive neuroscientist and legendary record producer Susan Rogers and neuroscientist Ogi Ogas, distills a lifetime of musical and scientific research into a musical journey that reveals why your favorite songs move you.


Drawing from her successful career as one of the most successful female record producers of all time—engineering hits like Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Barenaked Ladies' "One Week"—Susan Rogers (along with neuroscientist Ogi Ogas) leads readers to musical self-awareness. Rogers explains that we each possess a unique “listener profile” based on our brain’s reaction to seven key dimensions of any record: authenticity, realism, novelty, melody, lyrics, rhythm, and timbre. Are you someone who prefers lyrics or melody? Do you like music “above the neck” (intellectually stimulating), or “below the neck” (instinctual and rhythmic)? Whether your taste is esoteric or mainstream, Rogers guides readers to recognize their musical personality, and offers language to describe one's own unique taste. In helping readers to explore this profile, Rogers takes us behind-the-scenes of record-making, using her insider's ear to illuminate the music of Prince, Frank Sinatra, Lana Del Rey, and many others.

This Is What It Sounds Like will deepen your connection to your favorite records, refresh your playlists, and uncover new aspects of your musical personality, and undoubtably change the way you listen to music.


Susan Rogers, PhD, is a cognitive neuroscientist and a professor at Berklee College of Music, as well as a multiplatinum record producer. She was Prince’s sound engineer during his peak productive era (1983-1987). In 2021, Rogers was the first woman to receive the Music Producer’s Guild Outstanding Contribution to U.K. Music award

Registration is required for this free live private Zoom event.

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Resnick Family Foundation, Inc.

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