Friday, November 6, 2009

Seventy-five years strong

MGH Psychiatry celebrates 75 years of clinical care, research and teaching

MARKING A MILESTONE: Dreyfuss, center, with Jerrold and Lidia Rosenbaum

Most know him as the Academy Award-winning actor from hit movies such as "Jaws," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and "Mr. Holland’s Opus." But many do not know Richard Dreyfuss as someone who -- like thousands of others -- struggles with bipolar disorder. As keynote speaker at the MGH Department of Psychiatry's 75th Anniversary Gala, held Oct. 24 at the the Westin Waterfront Hotel, he shared his thoughts on this very personal subject.

Speaking to the gathering of approximately 450 people, Dreyfuss discussed the illness and the benefits he received from taking medication to level his mood. He had publicly revealed that he suffered from manic depression in 2006.

Other special guests at the event included Jim Mongan, MD, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare; W. Gerald Austen, MD, MGH surgeon-in-chief emeritus and chairman of the Chief's Council; Jerrold Rosenbaum, MD, chief of Psychiatry; Avery Weisman, MD, who founded the MGH Psychiatric Consultation Service in 1956; Jerry Remy, Red Sox broadcaster; Joan Kennedy; and Rose Styron, poet and author.

The evening was a celebration of the Department of Psychiatry's 75-year history of caring for patients who suffer from severe psychiatric illnesses, including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and depression. Throughout its 75 years, the reach of the department has been great, with one out of every eight patients admitted to medical and surgical units at the hospital receiving additional care from the psychiatric team. Among the department’s accomplishments, its clinician researchers have directed or participated in the largest national studies ever conducted for bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia. Staff members also operate the largest clinical research and care program in the world for children with serious mental illness.

Since 1994, the department has earned the top ranking among psychiatry departments in the country in the annual "Best Hospitals" survey of U.S. News & World Report.

"This is a thrilling time of accelerated discovery and promising clinical care avenues in psychiatry," Rosenbaum told the crowd. "To be sure, these avenues will require continued material and human investment if our next 75 years are to be as fruitful as our first."
During the evening, Rosenbaum and Lee Cohen, MD, founding director of the MGH Center for Women’s Health presented the Chief of Psychiatry Philanthropy Awards to two longtime friends of the Psychiatry department -- Carroll M. Carpenter and Michele Kessler, co-founders of the MGH Leadership Council for Psychiatry.

The MGH Psychiatry Department includes more than 600 psychiatrists and psychologists engaged in research, patient care and teaching, and 100 psychiatry residents, psychology interns and post-graduate fellows in training. Many have made groundbreaking discoveries such as, linking genetic ab-normalities with specific psychiatric illnesses and have employed powerful new imaging techniques to identify parts of the brain that dysfunction in mental illness. In addition, they have developed new medication combinations and somatic remedies to help people suffering from persistent illness; innovative prevention strategies for children at risk; new models of talk therapy; and effective treatments for victims of head injury and combat trauma.

Learn more about the Psychiatry Department

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