As the Medical Director for New Vitae Wellness and Recovery, Muhamad A. Rifai, MD, FACP, FAPA, FAPM brings to the center more than 15 years of experience and progressive training in clinical medicine and psychiatry. He received his Clinical Professor of Medicine and Psychiatry degree from Geisinger Commonwealth Medical College and is President-Elect of the Lehigh Valley Psychiatric Society. Throughout his career, Rifai has advocated for the expansion of progressive treatment options, such as deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS), in an effort to reach more people in need of psychiatric care.
What changes have you seen in treating mental health over the last decade?
This is the decade of the brain. We are on the cusp of great advances in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Individualized medication recommendations are a reality and practiced on a daily basis at New Vitae Wellness and Recovery under the progressive leadership of our chair of the board, Adam Devlin, and our president and CEO, Judith Yanacek. By utilizing cutting-edge genomic markers to choose medications that can lead to psychiatric stability in our patients, we can achieve superior outcomes.
When did you first learn about dTMS and when did you start working with patients using the technique?
I was first introduced to the concept of dTMS while working as a consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health, in Bethesda, Maryland, in 2002. Brainsway, the maker of the only available dTMS machine, was established in 2003. The company holds an exclusive license from the National Institutes of Health for the patent and for dTMS technology. New Vitae Wellness and Recovery started using the technology in 2015 and we’ve had great success treating many patients, with strong outcomes.
How is New Vitae unique among mental health care providers?
New Vitae Wellness and Recovery is a leader in the Greater Lehigh Valley area and in the Northeast as a provider of psychiatric services and long-term residential and rehabilitation services for individuals with severe and refractory psychiatric disorders. Anecdotal and evidence-based figures show that patients at New Vitae achieve better outcomes in terms of remission, psychiatric stability and the reduction in hospitalizations.
People are sometimes skeptical of new treatment modalities. Can you speak to the status of dTMS with the FDA and the research and clinical trials?
dTMS has been approved by the FDA since 2009 and this technology has already been applied in at least 100,000 cases worldwide. It has also been enthusiastically embraced by leading research institutions worldwide, with over 60 clinical trials held across the globe.