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Assessment and Treatment of Major Depressive Disorders - 3 CME Credits

A review of significant studies and recent developments

Start Date: August 7, 2018
Duration: ~3 hours
Price: $149

Course Description

Course registration is currently closed while we upgrade our learning platform with enhanced functionality and self-service options for learners. If you would like to be notified when the course re-opens in March 2020, please click here.

The objective of this program is to update the practicing clinician regarding recent developments in the assessment and treatment of depression in a primary care treatment setting.

Assessment and Treatment of Major Depressive Disorders focuses on recent developments in the treatment of affective disorders including bipolar depression, psychopharmacology of depression, and depression presenting comorbid with medical illnesses including head injury and cardiovascular disease in addition to other co-occurring medical conditions. This program also discusses strategies for assessment and prevention of suicide, including discussing the issue of suicidal behavior that may be induced by antidepressants.

This course is intended for primary care clinicians and psychiatrists.

(Note: This course was originally released under the title: Treatment of Depression: Emerging Issues. This version includes updates to the original course content. Select the "Course Outline" and "Course Releases" tabs below for more information.)

What You'll Learn

  • Describe the use of clinical interviews to identify subcategories of major depression and prescribe appropriate treatment plans involving medication and pyschotherapy
  • Identify effective treatments for cardiac patients with MDD
  • Describe the diagnosis of major depression in head-injured patients
  • Identify epidemiologic data on prevalence of psychiatric illness in medically ill patients to integrate into clinical practice
  • Identify risk factors that place patients at high risk for suicidal behavior
  • Differentiate between psychopharmacology or psychotherapy as the most optimal initial treatment strategy for depressed patients


Russell G. Vasile, MD

Russell G. Vasile, MD Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Director, Affective Disorders Consultation Program, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center


Assessment and Treatment of Major Depressive Disorders is organized as follows:

Precourse Information:
Accreditation and AMA Credit Designation
Disclosure Statement
How to Take This Course
Viewing Videos
Grading and Certificates

Topic 1: Emerging Issues in Psychopharmacologic and Somatic Treatment of Depression
Emerging Issues in Depression
Contributing Factors for Treatment-Resistant Depression
Bipolar Disorder
Knowledge Check 01
Addressing Treatment-Resistant Depression
Knowledge Check 02
Significant Studies
Topic 1 Summary
Knowledge Check 03

Recent Developments to Topic 1
Medication Management of TRD
Ketamine Treatment
Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Summary of Recent Developments

Topic 2: Depression in Patients with Medical Illness
Depression in Patients with Coronary Artery Disease
Knowledge Check 04
Depression Associated with Traumatic Brain Injury
Significant Studies
Knowledge Check 05
Significant Studies
Knowledge Check 06
Topic 2 Summary

Recent Developments to Topic 2
Cardiovascular Disease and Depression
Psychiatric Aspects of Traumatic Brain Injury
Thyroid Disease
Summary of Recent Developments

Topic 3: Suicide Risk Assessment and Prevention
Knowledge Check 07
Significant Studies
Knowledge Check 08
Topic 3 Summary

Recent Developments to Topic 3
Suicide Prevalence and Treatment
Antidepressants and Risk of Suicidal Behavior
Treatment of Suicidal Behavior
Summary of Recent Developments

CME Certificate
CME Posttest
Course Evaluation



The Harvard Medical School is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.


The Harvard Medical School designates this enduring material for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Creditsâ„¢. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Risk Management

This activity meets the criteria of the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for .5 credits of Risk Management Study. Please check your individual state licensing board requirements before claiming these credits.


Disclosure Policy

Harvard Medical School has long held the standard that its continuing medical education courses be free of commercial bias.

In accord with the disclosure policy of the Medical School as well as standards set forth by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), course planners, speakers, and content reviewers have been asked to disclose any relevant relationship they, or their spouse or partner, have to companies producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. In addition, faculty have been asked to list any off-label uses of pharmaceuticals and/or devices for investigational or non-FDA approved purposes that they plan to discuss.

Such disclosure is not intended to suggest or condone bias in any presentation, but is elicited to provide the course director and participants with information that might be of potential importance to their evaluation of a given presentation.

Disclosure Statement

All individuals including course directors, planners, reviewers, faculty, staff, etc., who are in a position to control the content of this educational activity have, on behalf of themselves and their spouse or partner, reported no financial relationships related to the content of this activity.


Dr. Russell G. Vasile is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and director of the Affective Disorders Consultation Program at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He is a graduate of Princeton University, class of 1970, and Harvard Medical School, class of 1974. He completed his psychiatric residency training at the Harvard Medical School–Massachusetts Mental Health Center program in 1978. He is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Vasile has published in diverse areas related to the assessment and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. These publications have included topics such as the psychopharmacologic management of depression and anxiety disorders, biopsychosocial approaches to affective disorders consultation, and the use of brain imaging in the assessment of neuropsychiatric disorders. Dr. Vasile is a graduate of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute and is certified in forensic psychiatry. He is a past recipient of the Elvin V. Semrad Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center. He has presented an annual program on advances in the treatment of affective disorders for the Harvard Medical School Continuing Medical Education Program over the past 20 years.


Assessment and Treatment of Major Depressive Disorders:
Original Release: 2/6/2012 (This course was originally released as Treatment of Depression: Emerging Issues)
Most Recent Update: 8/7/2018

End Date: 8/7/2021 (Enrollment ends 7/7/2021)


How long will this course take?

This course should take approximately 3 hours to complete. You do not need to complete it all at once. You may come back as often as you like.

How long will this course be available?

This self-paced course will close enrollments three years after its start date.

What web browser should I use?

The platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox, or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 11 and above. See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

What if I want to learn more about this topic?

HMS Continuing Education holds live topic-focused conferences throughout the year. Please see our course catalog for upcoming events.