David V. Sheehan, MD, MBA, DLFAPA

Distinguished University Health Professor Emeritus
University of South Florida College of Medicine
Distinguished Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association

David V. Sheehan, M.D., M.B.A. is Distinguished University Health Professor Emeritus at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He was Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Psychiatric Research and Director of the Depression and Anxiety Disorders Research Institute at the University of South Florida College of Medicine and Professor of Psychology at the University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Sheehan was born and educated in Ireland. He completed his residency training in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. At Harvard Medical School, where he was Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, he was on the full-time faculty for 12 1/2 years. He was the Director of Anxiety Research and Director of the Psychosomatic Medicine Clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital. He received his MBA (summa cum laude) from the University of South Florida. He served as Director of Psychiatric Research for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at the University of South Florida College of Medicine from 1985-2007.  He has written over 550 abstracts and 300 publications including a bestseller The Anxiety Disease (which sold over ½ a million copies). He has edited / served on the editorial board of 9 books/monographs and is the author of 2 books on suicidality. Cumulatively, his publications have been cited over 28,000 times (ResearchGate) and over 30,600 (Google Scholar). One of his scientific publications has been identified in Essential Science Indicators as a “Current Classic” on 3 separate occasions and as the paper with the greatest absolute increase in citations in the fields of psychiatry and psychology in the last decade (1999-2009). His h-index score is 60 (Google Scholar) and 50 (ResearchGate).  His RG Score on ResearchGate is 45.43.  His i10-index score is 149 (Google Scholar).  His scales and structured interviews have been translated into over 80 languages.

He has been awarded over $20 million for 130 research grants.  He was awarded 2 patents by the United States Patent Office in 1996 and 2015.  He has given expert testimony to the Unites States Congress.

He has been a consultant to the World Health Organization, the World Federation of Societies of Biological Psychiatry, the International Academy for Biomedical and Drug Research, the US Food and Drug Administration, and as a research grant reviewer for the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH). He was a consultant to the American Psychiatric Association (APA) Working Group to Revise DSMIII Anxiety Disorders, the APA Task Force on Benzodiazepine Dependency and the APA Task Force on Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders.  He has also served on the national and international advisory boards of numerous pharmaceutical companies and of non-profit foundations including the National Anxiety Foundation, the National Depressive and Manic Depressive Association, the Council on Anxiety Disorders, the Anxiety Disorder Association of America, and the Council on Anxiety Disorders and The Foundation for Improving Data Quality.

He has been invited to give over 2000 lectures in 69 countries throughout the world on anxiety and mood disorders, suicidality, measurement based care, psychopharmacology and biological psychiatry. He was elected as a member of the American College of Psychiatrists and is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and is a Charter Member of the National Academy of Inventors. Among other honors, he has been included in “The Best Doctors in America” published by Woodward/White Inc. every year from 1992 until his retirement in 2010.

Jennifer M. Giddens

Co-founder & Co-director of the Tampa Center for Research on Suicidality
Co-founder & Co-director of the Harm Research Institute / Harm Research Press  www.harmresearch.org
Editor of the Science of Suicidality www.scienceofsuicidality.org

Jennifer M. Giddens is the co-founder and co-director of the Harm Research Institute and of Harm Research Press. In her six years since founding the Tampa Center for Research on Suicidality, her research focus has been to better understand suicidality phenomena and other harm-related conditions.

Jennifer has co-authored 8 abstracts, 8 peer-reviewed publications, and 2 books, all on the topic of suicidality. A review of her first book, Suicidality: A Roadmap for Assessment and Treatment, predicted it would “revitalize the field of suicidology”. She is co-author with D.V. Sheehan of the Suicidality Disorders Module of the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview. She consulted on the development of the Sheehan – Suicidality Tracking Scale and the Sheehan – Homicidality Tracking Scale. She is co-author and co-copyright holder with D.V. Sheehan of the Suicidality Modifiers Scale (SMS) and the Suicidal Impulse Attack Scale (SIAS); and co-author and co-copyright holder with D.V. Sheehan and I.S. Sheehan of the Homicidality Modifiers Scale (HMS) and the Homicidal Impulse Attack Scale (HIAS). Jennifer is also co-author and copyright holder with D.V. Sheehan of the Suicide Plan Tracking Scale (SPTS) and the Homicide Plan Tracking Scale (HPTS).

Jennifer presented at the November 2015 International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology (ISCTM) Conference on Suicidal Ideation and Behavior Assessment, at the May 2017 American Psychiatric Association Annual Meeting, at the June 2017 American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology Annual Meeting, and at the 3rd Annual Western States Conference on Suicide in June 2017. She co-authored scripts used by ProPhase LLC, to develop rater training on all versions of the Sheehan – Suicidality Tracking Scale.

Jennifer is the editor of the Science of Suicidality (SOS) (ScienceofSuicidality.com).

With over 25 years of experience, Jennifer is currently serving as a patient advocate for those with suicidality.

Pre-conference Workshop: Thursday, October 12, 2017
8:00 AM – 12:00 PM
TMCC, Red Mountain Building, Room 256

Suicidality Assessment and Documentation for Healthcare Providers

Educational Learning Objectives:

At the conclusion of this session the attendee will be able to:

  1. Conduct and properly document a thorough suicidality assessment.
  2. Identify the different suicidality disorder phenotypes and identify the treatment most likely to be helpful for each phenotype.
  3. Properly monitor suicidality during the course of pharmacological and other treatments for psychiatric disorders and the limitations of and problems associated with suicide prediction.

Course Content Summary / Brief Abstract:

Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death worldwide and a leading cause of malpractice actions in psychiatry.  Clinicians become alarmed when patients discuss suicidality.

The product information on most psychiatric drugs advises clinicians to assess and monitor their patients for suicidality before starting and throughout the course of treatment.  The expectations on how to properly conduct and document suicidality assessments increased significantly following the inclusion of boxed warnings on suicidality for most psychiatric medications.  Healthcare providers need guidance on how to do this in a time efficient manner.  Skillful assessment protects their patients, and the documentation protects the healthcare provider.

This course operationalizes how to properly assess and document suicidality:

  1. Conduct a detailed assessment with a suicidality tracking scale
  2. If clinicians want even more detailed information on the suicidality they can use an expanded suicidality tracking scale and a suicide plan tracking scale
  3. Regardless of 2, use the structured diagnostic interview to classify patient’s suicidality symptoms into the 12 suicidality disorder phenotypes
  4. Decide a course of treatment based on suicidality disorder phenotype
  5. Document and summarize the findings from the above in the medical record for medico-legal protection
  6. Use the suicidality tracking scales to monitor response to treatment

The faculty will involve the audience interactively at frequent intervals throughout the course through liberal use of questions and answer discussions, small group discussions, role playing, a simulation exercise, and instructional simulation games.  The faculty will provide all course participants with templates and practical assessment tools that are useful in clinical practice settings.

This workshop will use the following instructional methods:

  • Audience questions and interaction
  • Small group discussions
  • Instructional games
  • Take home templates and practical assessment tools that are useful in clinical practice settings

This course provides practical assessment tools and templates for time-efficient assessment and documentation of suicidality in the form of a recently published eBook on by the course faculty, that will be provided to all course participants.


  1. Sheehan, DV and Giddens, JM. 2016. Suicidality Assessment and Documentation for Healthcare Providers: A Brief, Practical Guide. Available from: http://www.HarmResearch.org
  2. Koslow, S. H., Ruiz, P., & Nemeroff, C. B. (Eds.). (2014). A Concise Guide to Understanding Suicide: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology and Prevention. Cambridge University Press.
  3. Shea, S. (1999). The practical art of suicide assessment.
  4. Sheehan, DV and Giddens, JM. Suicidality Disorders Criteria. In: Sheehan, DV and Giddens, JM. 2015. Suicidality: A Roadmap for Assessment and Treatment. p. 82-126. Available from: http://www.HarmResearch.org

Keynote Address: Friday, October 13, 2017
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
TMCC, Sierra Building, Room 108

Suicidality: Assessment and Pharmacological Treatment

Long cherished views of suicide are undergoing revision. Once thought to be mainly a complication of depression, suicide is elevated in a range of neuropsychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, PTSD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, anorexia nervosa, substance dependence and fibromyalgia. There is increasing evidence that suicidality may have a genetic component that may be transmitted independently of transmission of depression and other Axis I and Axis II psychiatric disorders.  Inflammatory factors, autoimmune factors, dietary intake of some substances, may also play a role in some cases.  Suicidality may not be linear as often assumed, but may follow non-linear dynamics as it changes over time.  Suicidality may be a group of separate Axis I disorders, needing separate pharmacologic treatments.  A classification of suicidality disorders will be presented.

We face new questions about the effectiveness of current treatments for suicidality. Antidepressants, once the mainstay of treatment, increase suicidality in some people up through age 24 and only improve suicidal symptoms compared to placebo in people over age 65. Other medications, not formally classified as antidepressants (e.g. lithium, clozapine and ketamine) appear to lower suicidality. Understanding the mechanisms of action of anti-suicidality medications and having a good animal model for suicidality could lead to the future development of medications that target suicidality more specifically.

These revisions in our understanding of suicidality have led to calls for more sophisticated methods of assessment of suicide, the need for a phenotypic classification of suicide disorders and improved and more targeted anti-suicidality medication treatments. It has resulted in the development of new assessment interviews and scales to capture these domains of suicidality with greater precision and reproducibility.

Suicidality is the leading cause of mortality in psychiatry and the 15th cause of death from all causes worldwide. It merits more research investment than it currently receives.

The presentation will challenge and stimulate the audience to rethink cherished views on suicidality.

Learning Objectives:

Following this presentation, participants will be:

  • Better able to assess suicidality in clinical settings in ways that will protect their patients
  • Better able to assess suicidality in a clinical setting in a way that will improve their medico-legal protection
  • Be familiar with suicidality rating scales used in research studies and in clinical practice with their strengths and limitations
  • Better able to understand the Boxed Warnings from regulatory agencies with many psychiatric medications, the data supporting these warnings and the associated recommendations to clinicians for suicidality monitoring
  • Be aware of which medications are not approved to treat suicidality and the data supporting the anti-suicidality properties of any psychiatric medications.


  1. Sheehan, D. V. and Giddens, J. M. 2015. Suicidality: A Roadmap for Assessment and Treatment. Harm Research Press. Florida. Available from: http://www.harmresearch.org
  2. Sheehan, D. V. and Giddens, J. M. 2016. Assessment and Documentation of Suicidality for Healthcare providers: A Brief, Practical Guide. Harm Research Press. Florida. Available from: http://www.harmresearch.org
  3. Sheehan DV, Giddens JM, Sheehan IS. Status Update on the Sheehan-Suicidality Tracking Scale (S-STS) 2014. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2014;11(9–10):93–140.
  4. Sheehan DV, Alphs L, Mao L, et al. Comparative validation of the S-STS, the ISST-Plus, and the C–SSRS for assessing the suicidal thinking and behavior FDA 2012 Draft Guidance suicidality categories. Innov Clin Neurosci. 2014;11(9–10):32–46.
  5. Amado DM, Beamon DA, Sheehan DV. The linguistic validation of the Pediatric versions of the Sheehan-Suicidality Tracking Scale (S-STS). Innov Clin Neurosci 2014;11(9–10):141–163.