Featured Member -James Findley, PhD, DBSM, FAASM 

In addition to providing treatment for patients with insomnia and circadian rhythm disorders in clinic, Dr Findley also provides treatment to study participants. He has trained and now supervises 5 CRNPs in his clinic who provide CBT-I and he supervises therapists treating research subjects.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE TO SPECIALIZE IN BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE (what got you started, who did you decide to work with along the way)?

I got involved in sleep medicine at Gaylord Hospital in Wallingford Connecticut. I was doing Rehabilitation Psychology at the time, but was encouraged to get involved in the Sleep Medicine Program by the then Medical Director, Carlos Fragoso. I started doing CBT-I as well as reading studies and seeing patients with sleep disorders other than insomnia. Carlos encouraged me to get boarded in Clinical Sleep Medicine. I was reluctant to start something that would be so difficult for a non-physician as well as time-consuming, but he was persistent and finally wore me down. He and the other the physicians in the department, including Janet Hilbert Howard-Flanders, Rochelle Turetsky, and later on, Meir Kryger, were all very supportive. When presented the opportunity to come to Penn to specialize in insomnia and work with Michael Perlis and Phil Gehrman, it was a no-brainer.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO EARLY CAREER INDIVIDUALS, OR THOSE RE-SPECIALIZING INTO BEHAVIORAL SLEEP MEDICINE?

First, don’t limit the scope of your experience or training. Try to acquire the broadest knowledge base about sleep and co-morbid conditions that you can, and not just about interventions. Knowledge of those myriad factors that influence sleep will inform your interventions and boost your credibility with patients. Secondly, never forget that you are a clinician, not a technician. There is an of art to the application of BSM science as there is with any behavioral intervention. Finally, be thankful every day that interesting people are willing to invite you into their lives.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE THINGS TO DO AWAY FROM THE OFFICE?

My lovely wife Diane and I enjoy a variety of music genres, including blues, jazz, Americana, traditional Irish music, and punk (me more than her on that last one, Ramones rule!). We try to get out to see live music from time to time. We also like good food, whether we go out or cook at home. I make a mean crawfish etouffee. Great food deserves a great beverage, so I’ve also developed a strong affinity for Belgian beers. Walking our foxhound, Daisy, can be great fun if she’s not acting like a maniac. We do like to travel and really love New Orleans (AKA, The Happiest Place in the World). I want to suggest it as the perfect location for an SBSM event and I don’t want to hear any whining about the heat and humidity.