Audrey Tyrka, MD, PhD, Appointed Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

(Providence, RI) -- Audrey Tyrka, MD, PhD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, making her the first woman to chair the department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Care New England and Lifespan, effective January 1, 2024. In addition, she will be appointed to the Mary E. Zucker Professorship in Psychiatry and Human Behavior. 

"The Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior is the second largest at The Warren Alpert Medical School and demonstrates excellence in every aspect of our mission: education, research, patient care, and community engagement. As a member of its leadership council, Dr. Tyrka has already contributed extensively to its success. She is well positioned to step into the role of chair and I am thrilled that she will be its next leader," said Mukesh K. Jain, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine and biological sciences at Brown University.

“Dr. Audrey Tyrka’s work here at Care New England has proven an example of how we wish to serve people across our communities, both today and into the future, through research and clinical medicine. As CNE continues our journey to partner with Brown and Lifespan in organizational ways, we are confident that Dr. Tyrka’s leadership will allow for amplification of the impact of Psychiatry work across our teams,” said Michael Wagner, MD, president and CEO, Care New England Health System.  

"Dr. Audrey Tyrka is a highly accomplished psychiatrist, academic, and researcher with a distinguished record of contributions to the field of psychiatry and human behavior,” said Lifespan President and CEO John Fernandez. “Dr. Tyrka’s ability to work across fields, convene diverse constituencies, and build partnerships at all levels, is the exact type of leadership that will advance behavioral health care innovation, treatment, and patient outcomes.” 

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead and support this distinguished and committed department which spans Brown, CNE, Lifespan, and the VA Providence health care systems. I look forward to working with departmental faculty, trainees, and staff, and with leaders across our system to support our training, research, clinical, and community missions and improve the health and wellbeing of our patients and people,” said Tyrka. 

Dr. Tyrka completed the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania and received her MD and PhD in psychology in 1999. She completed residency training at Brown and further research training in clinical neuroscience at the Mood Disorders Research Program at Butler Hospital. Dr. Tyrka joined the Brown faculty in 2003, as a psychiatrist and NIMH K23 research career development awardee at Butler Hospital. She was the Director of the Laboratory for Clinical and Translational Neuroscience at Butler Hospital and served as the Director of Research at Butler Hospital from 2014-2021. Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior since 2015, Dr. Tyrka was most recently Vice Chair of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown and Chief Scientific Officer at Care New England. She is also affiliated faculty of the Carney Institute for Brain Science at Brown.

Dr. Tyrka is known for her groundbreaking work on early adversity and trauma in children and adults, including discoveries of key social, behavioral, and molecular mechanisms of health risk and resilience. This work involves collaborations with dozens of faculty across several departments at Brown in addition to national and international collaborations. She is the founding Co-Director of the Initiative on Stress, Trauma, and Resilience (STAR) at Brown, which includes a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant and a T32 post-doctoral research fellowship program at The Miriam Hospital. Dr. Tyrka has also contributed to pharmacologic, behavioral, and neuromodulation treatment trials for depression and is an attending psychiatrist in the Butler Hospital Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Clinic. A dedicated and accomplished mentor and leader in research training, Dr. Tyrka is Director of the NIMH-funded R25 Research Training Program for physician-scientists in psychiatry training and the Summer Research Fellowship for medical students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. 

An elected fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP), Dr. Tyrka has held several national leadership roles, including as Chair of the ACNP Women’s Taskforce.  Throughout her tenure at Brown, Dr. Tyrka has made important contributions to numerous departmental, University, and hospital committees and leadership initiatives. She served as the Care New England lead for BIRCH, the Brown Innovation and Research Collaborative for Health that will align the administration of research across Brown, Lifespan, and Care New England. Dr. Tyrka has been an active member of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior’s Anti-Racism Steering Committee and Co-Chair of its Communications Working Group, and she served on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee of Butler Hospital. A member of the Community Advisory Board of Sojourner House, Dr. Tyrka is also a painter and mixed-media artist, and she contributes the proceeds from her art toward their mission to support people affected by domestic and sexual violence. 

As chair, Dr. Tyrka will lead this accomplished and committed department of psychiatrists and psychologists to provide strategic direction in support of excellence and impact of the department’s academic programs across Brown and the health systems. Together with other leaders, faculty, trainees, and staff members, she will support programs to promote diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging for our academic community, patients, and community members.

About Care New England
Care New England Health System is a trusted organization that fuels the latest advances in medical research, attracts the nation’s top specialty-trained doctors, hones renowned services and innovative programs, and engages in the important discussions people need to have about their health and end-of-life wishes. Care New England is helping to transform the future of health care, providing a leading voice in the ongoing effort to ensure the health of the individuals and communities we serve.

CNE was founded in 1996, and today it is the parent organization of Butler Hospital, Kent Hospital, Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, Care New England Medical Group, the VNA of Care New England, The Providence Center, and Integra, a certified accountable care organization (ACO). Care New England includes 970 licensed beds and 216 infant bassinets. Through Butler, Kent, and Women & Infants hospitals, Care New England has a teaching and research affiliation with The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. Kent is also a teaching affiliate of The University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine.