The Foundation for Education and Research on Mental Illness (FERMI) was established in 1986 to provide training grants to allow young psychiatrists to come to the Intramural program of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for direct "hands on" research experience. When Dr. Frederick Goodwin retired from the directorship of the NIMH, FERMI moved with him to the George Washington University Medical Center, and expanded it's research and research training mission to include public and professional education about mental illness.
Recent projects supported by the Foundation have included the revision of Manic Depressive Illness, the authoritative text on the illness, used by both physicians and patients for over fifteen years, and an initiative to educate primary care physicians and other health, but non-mental health, professionals on mood disorders, their diagnosis, and treatment.
Currently, Dr. Goodwin and his George Washington University Medical Center colleague, Dr. Daniel Lieberman, have been developing a project to test a novel approach for increasing the "real world" effectiveness of treatments for bipolar disorder, an illness which all too often devastates the lives and families of those afflicted. Their project is an innovative web-based approach to psychotherapy/education designed to enhance adherence among bipolar patients being treated with medications (poor adherence is a major factor in why drugs successfully tested in controlled research environments are not always as successful clinically). This highly efficient cost-effective tool will provide a fully automated highly individualized intervention that is available to thousands of patients simultaneously. Because the program employs artificial intelligence, it can be customized for each individual patient. The aim of the program is to give patients the tools they need to take control of their illness, becoming a co-equal partner with their doctor in its management.