Ellee Pai Hong

Ellee Pai Hong currently serves as a host of Comcast Newsmakers in Chicago. She also hosts the daily program "Through the Decades" on the Decades Network.

Hong is a former news anchor for WMAQ-TV in Chicago, where she worked from 2003-2009. Prior to that, she was anchor of the top-rated weekday morning newscast at WFSB-TV in Hartford, Conn., for three years.

Hong moved to the United States from Korea as a child, then returned to finish high school. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Ewha Womans University in Seoul and a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Hong is heavily involved with the community and serves as a board member for the Chicago Children’s Choir. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two children.

Videos hosted by Ellee Pai Hong

Digital Mental Health Initiative

The UI Center on Depression and Resilience has launched a new innovative artificial intelligence (AI) and technology based treatment initiative, creating a digital based mental health safety net, to address Illinois' mental health crisis, and treat suicide risk factors. The UICDR has developed numerous digital tools, apps and inventions to reduce mental health disparities and offers these cutting-edge products to the public. This pioneering concept potentially can serve as a blueprint for the cost-effective integration of AI and technology to give greater access to mental health resources to poverty stricken areas and combat the growing national mental health crisis. This initiative is the “Digital Mental Health Initiative” (DMHI). The DMHI is a collaborative, transdisciplinary group of scientist, researchers, engineers and physicians working across 19 labs in at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Psychiatry Department to improve equitable access to mental health treatment with innovative smart, connected technology. The DMHI employs cutting-edge research to develop evidence-based digital tools and other technology based mental health treatments, which have already effectively treated thousands of patients. 1.5 million people in Illinois live with serious mental illness. According to the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide in Illinois has risen 23 percent, and is now ranked as the 11th leading cause of death in the state. The prevalence of depression in Illinois has increased, as it has globally, catapulting depression to the number one cause of disability worldwide.

This crisis has come at a staggering cost; estimates place the economic cost of untreated depression/behavioral health in the state to be more than 1.4 billion dollars a year.

Lack of access to treatment, and inefficient models of care, lie at the heart of this crisis. These numbers are a sobering reminder that we as a society have not adequately addressed the core reasons nor put forth the proper solutions to confront this health crisis, and necessitated the creation of UI Center on Depression and Resilience “Digital Mental Health Initiative” (DMHI).

Mental Health Equity

UICDR is a multidisciplinary science/medical collaborative for advancing mental health research of depression, bipolar and other mood disorders. UICDR is devoted to destigmatizing depression and bringing it into the mainstream of medical research, healthcare, education, and public policy. Through its innovative team science approach, UICDR advances the treatment and understanding of depression that affects an estimated 17 million adults in the U.S. For the past five years UICDR has provided comprehensive and compassionate care for children, adolescents and adults; transforming more than 49,000 patients’ lives annually, through innovations in prevention and treatment for depression and bipolar disorders, and reducing suicide risk. As a national leader in defining and advancing high-quality depression care and suicide prevention, the UICDR is positioned to address the mental health crisis the state of Illinois currently faces. 1.5 million people in Illinois live with serious mental illness. According to the most recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide in Illinois has risen 23 percent, and is now ranked as the 11th leading cause of death in the state. The prevalence of depression in Illinois has increased, as it has globally, catapulting depression to the number one cause of disability worldwide. This crisis has come at a staggering cost; estimates place the economic cost of untreated depression/behavioral health in the state to be more than 1.4 billion dollars a year. By combing scientific research, clinical care, inventions and public awareness UICDR will create a model of suicide prevention and education that is poised to take a major role in the future of how we should approach the causes and treatment of depression. UICDR’s pioneering science accelerates research by decades potentially saving many lives, improving countless others, and reducing the overall cost of health care in the process.

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