Promoting women's mental health: From left, Tarbell, Cohen, Carpenter, Slavin and Rosenbaum at the Harvard Club ceremony
Globally, more than 450 million people suffer from a mental health problem or mental illness. Over half of these people are women. Lee Cohen, MD, founding director of the MGH Center for Women’s Mental Health, recently was recognized for his exceptional work in this area as the first incumbent of the Edmund N. and Carroll M. Carpenter Professorship in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (HMS) in the field of Women’s Mental Health.
The establishment of this new chair and the induction of its first incumbent were celebrated June 28 during a ceremony at the Harvard Club of Boston. The chair is named in honor of Carroll M. Carpenter and her late husband, Edmund, and was made possible through the Carpenter family’s generosity and that of some 46 other donors. Nancy Tarbell, MD, HMS dean for Academic and Clinical Affairs, hosted the event, which featured remarks by Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president; Jerry Rosenbaum, MD, chief of the MGH Department of Psychiatry; Carpenter; and Cohen.
“Women’s mental health has grown stronger in every dimension because of Lee Cohen’s vision and dedication,” said Carpenter. “How deeply blessed future young medical students in their mission to alleviate and heal suffering will be to learn about women’s mental health from Dr. Cohen.”
The Carpenters first met Cohen when their daughter, Ashley, was told that as a bipolar patient on medication, she would never have children. Ashley was referred to Cohen – a leading national expert in pregnancy and psychiatric medications and one of the founders of the field of perinatal and reproductive psychiatry – and went on to have two children.
In his remarks, Slavin congratulated Cohen for the well-deserved honor and discussed the importance of endowed chairs. “The significance of the chairs goes well beyond prestige and recognition. These chairs allow some of our most accomplished faculty members to pursue their clinical and academic work with more flexibility and vigor than ever.”
“The Carpenter Professorship assures that I can continue to work with my vastly talented colleagues,” says Cohen. “It is a privilege the chair affords, and I am excited about the care we will deliver and the scientific investigation we will pursue in the future across a broader area in women’s mental health – what we call reproductive psychiatry and reproductive neuroscience.”