About Us

The idea for a Catatonia Information Center emerged from the experiences of two families, one in Virginia and another in Texas that had contacted Dr. Max Fink in 2015. These families described difficulties with locating knowledgeable caregivers for their family members with catatonic illnesses. They were chagrined to discover that sometimes even at prominent academic medical centers the knowledge and experience in treatment of catatonia is lacking.

Since that time, the director Dr. Andrew Francis along with Dr. Fink have been in extensive communication with these families who have shared much of their frustrations and successes with their loved ones.

Working with the families challenged us to develop a information and referral center with which families and providers could be better equipped to recognize and manage the treatment of their loved ones and other patients.

Andrew Francis, PhD, MD

Dr. Andrew Francis serves as director of this program. He is currently Professor of Psychiatry at Penn State Medical School/Hershey Medical Center, where he is the director of Neuromodulation Services and Associate Director of Residency Training.

Dr. Francis received a PhD in Psychology from SUNY Stony Brook, served as a postdoctoral research fellow at Cornell Medical School, obtained an MD from the University of Buffalo, and completed residency training at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Dr. Francis is one of the co-developers of the Bush-Francis Catatonia Scale, published in 1996, which is generally recognized as the standard clinical tool to detect and quantify catatonic symptoms. He is also a recognized authority on Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome, ECT, and delirium. He is widely published in these areas and has presented at regional, national, and international medical conferences as well as lecturing at many major academic medical centers.

Max Fink, MD
Senior Advisor

Dr. Max Fink is the senior advisor for the program. He is currently Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Neurology at SUNY Stony Brook and widely recognized as a seminal figure and contributor in many areas of neuropsychiatry including catatonia and related conditions, melancholia, and convulsive therapy (ECT). His textbook Catatonia: A Clinician’s Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment [2003], written with Michael Taylor of Ann Arbor, is the detailed guide to Catatonia.

Advisory Board

  • Gabor Ungvari, MD, PhD – University of Western Australia, Perth
  • Teresa Rummans, MD – Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN
  • Gregory Fricchone, MD – Harvard Medical School, Boston MA
  • Stephan Heckers, MD – Vanderbilt University, Nashville TN
  • Sandeep Grover, MD – Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, 160012 Chandigarh, India
  • Lee Wachtel, MD – Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore MD
  • Stanley Caroff, MD – University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia PA
  • Edward Shorter, PhD – University of Toronto, Toronto CANADA
  • Pascal Sienaert, MD, PhD – University of Leuven, Kortenberg Belgium