Dr. Bradley C. Riemann '87
2020 Recipient for Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
At the International Conference of Psychological Science in Paris during March 2019, Dr. Brad Riemann ’87 presented quantitative data showing that highly trained paraprofessional therapists are as effective as doctoral clinicians in reducing symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). When it comes to use of data to improve care for individual patients and at the program and system level, Dr. Riemann is considered a pioneer.
Dr. Riemann currently serves as the chief clinical officer for Rogers Behavioral Health. He is also the clinical director of the OCD Center and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Services at Rogers. He is considered one of the foremost leaders in the behavioral health field and a preeminent contributor to the treatment for OCD, anxiety disorders and use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) treatment. His renown as an expert extends both nationally and internationally.
Widely regarded in the healthcare community for helping more people recover from OCD than any other clinician in America, Dr. Riemann’s model has shown how a team of supervised, highly trained paraprofessional experts in the treatment can vastly expand the number of people receiving effective treatment for mental health problems. Clinical scientists have established efficacy for certain CBT programs for diverse disorders, but there is a shortage of therapists trained to deliver them.
In addition to that now industry standard model, one of Dr. Riemann’s most significant contributions to both Rogers and the industry overall is his leadership in driving measurement-based and standardization of care.
OCD is a type of mental illness. People with OCD can have either obsessive thoughts and urges—or compulsive, repetitive behaviors, and some people have both, where the thoughts and actions are beyond the individual’s control. It affects approximately six million people in U.S., and it is the tenth leading cause of disability overall including behavioral health and medical conditions.
In Dr. Riemann’s position at Rogers, he oversees the supervision of the training of graduate and post-graduate students from around the country for CBT in anxiety disorders and collaborates with colleges and universities on research projects investigating OCD and anxiety disorders. He guided Rogers’ growth from a small single site entity to the largest OCD treatment provider in the nation, with 17 satellite programs in cities throughout the country.
Over the past 20 years, they have collected the largest data set of outcomes from patient assessments in behavioral healthcare, capturing and analyzing approximately a million assessments a year. Dr. Riemann also led a team that created care protocols and training that have improved patient outcomes and satisfaction and reduced readmissions, among many other metrics.
Dr. Riemann is a prolific researcher and serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder Foundation, acting as expert consultant to the organization on research matters.
Early in his career, Dr. Riemann taught at Carroll upon completing graduate school and has continued to serve as a guest lecturer over the years. Most significantly, Dr. Riemann also partnered with Carroll to develop a class for undergraduate students that he co-teaches at Rogers. The class combines didactics with program shadowing experiences resulting in Carroll graduates having opportunities for positions at Rogers and elsewhere upon graduation given their clinical experience and insights.
Another significant part of his contribution to the field is his work to develop and oversee Rogers’ CBT Academy. Developed and refined over the last two decades, this internal education program has trained thousands of individuals and has facilitated a highly effective and cost-efficient model for providing OCD treatment. More recently the model has expanded to train individuals to deliver treatment in other conditions including depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders.
A sought-after subject matter expert, speaker and prolific author, Dr. Riemann has amassed a plethora of achievements including national television appearances, authoring books and articles, speaking at national and international conferences and workshops, and conducting webinars and continuing education events. His research has been published in nearly 100 articles in professional journals, which is a rare and noteworthy accomplishment, especially for someone in a practice setting. In addition to his work in the U.S., he has presented and conducted trainings in 11 countries from England and France to Peru and Haiti.
Another example of Dr. Riemann’s contributions to research and advancement of the behavioral health field is his focus on developing and testing the efficacy of smartphone apps used to reduce symptoms from OCD and anxiety or depression. He also led a partnership with Cerner Math, a division of the electronic health record company, to develop a machine learning algorithm to assess suicide risk in the inpatient psychiatric environment. That work could lead to lives saved and other areas of opportunity to improve care.
Dr. Riemann is extremely community minded. He and his wife Jill started the Anxiety Disorders Foundation to raise money to facilitate pro bono outpatient treatment for people with anxiety disorders who would otherwise not be able to afford to seek care. To date, this philanthropic effort has resulted in more than 40,000 hours of free treatment since it started in 2003.
The OCD Foundation of Puerto Rico awarded Dr. Riemann with a “Recognition of Achievement” for the pro bono work he did to help establish a support group and treatment program for OCD in Puerto Rico. He is also on the “Wall of Fame” for Oconomowoc High School for his career achievements.
Dr. Riemann graduated from Carroll in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and biology. He continued his clinical training receiving a masters and doctorate in clinical psychology from the Chicago Medical School.
Pat Hammer, president and CEO of Rogers Behavioral Health, submitted Dr. Riemann’s nomination with further support from Dr. Riemann’s mentor, Dr. Richard J. McNally, professor and director of Clinical Training Department of Psychology at Harvard University, and Dr. Heather Jones ꞌ04, director of Clinical Services at Rogers Behavioral Health.
Dr. Riemann lives in Oconomowoc, Wis. with his wife Jill. His late stepbrother, Howard C. Riemann II ꞌ62, was also a Carroll graduate.