Advances on the Scientific and Medical Front

The Tourette Association of America (TAA) is thrilled to announce Dr. John Piacentini as the new co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Board (SAB). Dr. Piacentini is currently director of the TAA Center of Excellence UCLA Child OCD Anxiety and Tic Disorders Program (Psychiatry). As a well-respected doctor with his robust involvement in neurodiverse conditions, Dr. Piacentini is a valued leader who will be joining Dr. Aryn Gittis as SAB co-chair.  

Dr. Piacentini’s new position comes as Dr. Carol Mathews steps down. The TAA offers a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Mathews for her many years of service to the Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorder community. Dr. Mathews has been active in Tourette Syndrome (TS) research since 2001.  She is a leader in TS genetic research and was co-author of the landmark 2019 genetics study, “Concordance of genetic variation that increases risk for Tourette Syndrome and that influences its underlying neurocircuitry,” which identified gene markers for TS.

Dr. Mathews is the Brooke Professor and the Vice Chair for Strategic Development in the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Center for OCD, Anxiety, and Related Disorders at University of Florida. 

“I am honored to have been involved with the TAA for my entire professional career. The TAA provides critical seed funding to encourage the best and the brightest researchers around the world to apply their expertise to Tourette Syndrome. Pilot funding from the TAA helped to launch my career in TS research. I originally began my psychiatric and research training with the intention of studying bipolar disorder, but serendipity and outstanding mentoring from TAA funded investigators led me to become involved in the world of TS, and I have never looked back. The work that I have done and continue to do on behalf of the TS community has been infinitely rewarding. Although I am stepping down as co-chair of the scientific advisory board, I will continue to be involved with the TAA and the TS community.” – Carol A Mathews, MD.

Her hard work and dedication motivate us all and we are excited to see the torch passed from one luminary to another. 

John Piacentini

Dr. John Piacentini
TAA SAB Co-Chair 

More about Dr. John Piacentini

Dr. John Piacentini is Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Chief of Child Psychology (in Psychiatry) in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Semel Institute where he directs the Center for Child Anxiety, Resilience, Education and Support (CARES), and the Child OCD, Anxiety and Tic Disorders Program, a TAA Center of Excellence.  Dr. Piacentini received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Georgia and completed post-doctoral training and was a faculty member at NY State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University.  A board-certified clinical child and adolescent psychologist, his work focuses on the development and dissemination of science-based individual- and family-based treatments for youth with tic, OCD, anxiety, and body-focused repetitive behavior disorders. He has authored over 300 scientific publications, including seven books, and his research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, PCORI, IOCDF, TAA, TLC and other leading foundations and philanthropic organizations.  Dr. Piacentini is also SAB Chair for the TLC Foundation for BFRBs, and past-president of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) and the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, and a founding fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy.  He is a frequent lecturer and actively involved in training mental health practitioners how to treat youngsters with anxiety and similar problems.