About the Speakers
Michael L. Perlis, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania
Director, Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program, University of Pennsylvania
Associate Professor, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
Course Role: Dr. Perlis is the primary lecturer for the Basic Seminar and co-leads the Advanced Seminar with Dr. Posner. The Basic Seminar was developed nine years ago to provide clinicians from all walks of professional life the education and tools they need to provide CBT-I. Dr. Perlis has been continually updating the course material and course offerings since 2005. Over this course of this time the seminar has been given in venues around the world and has attracted increasingly multidisciplinary audiences. The seminar, according to Dr. Perlis, represents his best effort towards a singular goal: "Make CBT-I widely available". The Advanced Seminar (first given in 2014) represents the effort to address more complex practice issues and to do so in a highly interactive manner where attendees and course faculty learn from one another. His role in the Advanced Seminar, like those of Drs. Posner and Ellis, is as both a lecturer and discussion leader.
Background: Dr. Perlis is internationally known for his work in the area of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (BSM). He is a coauthor of the first text book in this field and he is the senior author of a published CBT-I treatment manual and a larger text summarizing all BSM treatments. In addition, he conducts two annual CBT-I training workshops per year (the basic workshop has been ongoing for the last 10 years and the advanced workshop was first offered in 2014), has available a video mock case vignette DVD, and offers mini-fellowship BSM practica and supervision through his group at Penn. Note: The Basic CBT-I workshop has also been provided, on request, in England, Sweden, South Africa, Israel, Korea, and Japan and the CBT-I manual has been translated into Spanish, Italian, Korean, and Chinese. In addition to the above mentioned activities, Dr. Perlis has served as mentor to a number of students from many backgrounds, including 29 undergraduates, 6 medical students, 4 residents/psychology interns, 4 graduate students, 9 postdoctoral fellows, and ~15 junior faculty. Most notable among his prior mentees (i.e., those who have gone on to research careers) are Sean Drummond PhD, Kenneth Wright PhD, Michael Smith PhD, Carla Jungquist PhD, Wilfred Pigeon PhD, Philip Gehrman PhD, Subhajit Chakravorty MD, and Michael Grander, PhD.
Dr. Perlis serves on the editorial boards of Sleep, the Journal of Sleep Research, the journal of Sleep Medicine Research, and the journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. Dr. Perlis has also served as a member, or chair, of several committees and task forces of the Sleep Research Society and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and he was the assistant chair for the training program of the SRS for five years. Finally, Dr. Perlis was one of the five organizing and founding members of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine (SBSM). He also served as the SBSM’s first president (2010-2011).
Dr. Perlis has published, as an author or co-author, more than 100 articles and chapters on sleep research related topics.
Donn Posner, PhD
Clinical/Research Psychologist, Palo Alto VA
Dr. Donn Posner is a clinical/research psychologist at the Palo Alto VA. Currently he is working on a grant, which hopes to clarify the relative efficacy of each of the components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I) and for whom each piece works best.
Prior to his role at the VA he spent 25 years serving as the Director of Clinical Behavioral Medicine for Rhode Island and Miriam Hospitals, and was also the Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine for the Sleep Disorders Center of Lifespan Hospitals. Finally he was a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. In his years at Brown he worked treating Sleep and Anxiety Disorders in at Rhode Island Hospital, and contributed to its administrative leadership and research mission.
For 20 years Dr. Posner had served as the primary supervisor for a rotation of the Behavioral Medicine track of the clinical psychology internship at Brown. The rotation focuses on the assessment and treatment of Sleep and Anxiety Disorders, and is one of the few rotations of its kind in the US. He also mentored post-doctoral fellows and lectured on Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Anxiety Disorders to interns, fellows, and residents in internal medicine and psychiatry. In addition, he was a consultant for the Veteran’s Administration roll out of CBT-I and trained VA clinicians across the country in the implementation of this treatment.
Most recently Dr. Posner has joined Pulsar Informatics Inc. as a medical advisor and has been working with them to develop an online interactive CBT-I program to be used in primary care settings and healthcare systems as an entry point into a stepped care system of insomnia treatment delivery. In addition, he was a consultant for the Veteran’s Administration roll out of CBT-I and continues to consult with clinical psychology programs and sleep centers assisting them on how to set up a Behavioral Sleep Medicine program and how to effectively deliver these treatments.
Dr. Posner is one of the authors of Cognitive Behavioral Treatment of Insomnia: A Session-by-Session Guide (New York: Springer/Verlag). The book is intended for clinical trainees, and non-insomnia sleep specialists, as well as more experienced clinicians from outside the sleep medicine field, who wish to learn how to provide empirically validated cognitive behavioral treatment for insomnia (CBT-I). He also he co-authored Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia in Those with Depression, which is a clinical guide for clinicians working with insomnia in the context of mood disorders.
The grant he is currently working on is an NIH funded dismantling study looking at the efficacy of the various components of CBT-I as well as mediators and moderators for successful outcomes of this therapy. Two other grants on which he previously consulted, used the book as a model for the clinical intervention protocol. One was a federally funded grant looking at the effect of CBT-I in patients who suffer from alcohol abuse and another involved using CBT-I in a cohort of veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Dr. Posner is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and is one of the first certified behavioral sleep medicine specialists recognized by that group. He is also a founding member of the Society of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and was recently awarded the society’s Peter Hauri Career Distinguished Achievement Award.
Jason Ellis, PhD
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Northumbria University Director, Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research
Course Role(s): Dr. Ellis is an internationally prominent sleep researcher and an experienced CBT-I therapist. His role in the Basic Seminar, like Dr. Posner's, is to: 1) Provide the "in-clinic point of view" on the didactic material presented during the seminar, 2) Highlight and flesh out issues that arise during lectures or during the QnA components of the course, and 3) Provide "color commentary." Dr. Ellis, along with Drs. Perlis and Posner, is available throughout the Basic Seminar to provide one-on-one responses to questions and concerns. His role in the Advanced Seminar is as both a lecturer and a discussion leader.
Background: Dr. Ellis is a Professor of Sleep Science and Director of the Northumbria Centre for Sleep Research in the United Kingdom. He splits his time between his basic research interests: the pathophysiology of sleep disorders (Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome, and Circadian Rhythm Disorders), the natural history of Insomnia, and his applied work on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). Within the latter framework he examines the impact of novel adjunct therapies, the influence of social factors on adherence, and the effective delivery of CBT-I in complex cases. He has worked within the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, delivering CBT-I to individuals with a range of physical and psychological conditions and serves on the editorial board of Behavioral Sleep Medicine. He is a serious advocate of public engagement and professional education with regard to behavioral sleep medicine and regularly trains CBT-I to clinicians and primary care physicians in the United Kingdom.