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As can be seen, Johns Hopkins was establishing a tradition of finding psychiatry directors who had received prior education in fields other than or in addition to psychiatry. This continued with John C. Whitehorn, the successor to Adolf Meyer after his retirement in 1941. Whitehorn, who had been trained in chemistry and biology, came to Johns Hopkins from his position as Chairman of Psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis. Earlier, he had been at McLean Hospital, where he had gradually discovered that exploring the minds of patients provided much more pertinent information about mental illness than he could learn from their chemistries. At Johns Hopkins he continued the tradition of studying the patient in the context of his/her personal life situation, with a special focus on the psychiatric interview and on empathy. He conducted clinical research with Barbara Betz on the significance of personality characteristics of therapists in the successful treatment of schizophrenic patients. Some significant members of his staff included Jerome D. Frank, an innovator of controlled studies of psychotherapy for outpatients, and Eugene Meyer, who directed the psychosomatic/psychiatric liaison program of the hospital. John Whitehorn, as well as Adolf Meyer and Henry Hurd, were presidents of the American Psychiatric Association. After the retirement of Whitehorn, Frank was acting head of the department for a period of time. Seymour S. Kety, a prominent physiologist and neuroscientist, directed the department briefly until he left for Harvard.

Subsequently the Chairman was Joel Elkes, whose specialty was psychopharmacological research, and who initiated the change in the name of the department to Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Elkes brought Solomon H. Snyder to Johns Hopkins, where he continues to pursue a superb research career.

In 1975, Paul R. McHugh, a psychiatrist and neurologist, began his distinguished career as Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He received his medical degree from Harvard and his training at Harvard and Maudsley Hospital in London. He came to Johns Hopkins from his position as Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Oregon. Under McHugh the department has pursued multiple research interests, including motivated behaviors, neuropsychiatry, alcoholism, schizophrenia, mood disorders, community psychiatry and psychiatric education. He is the author, with Phillip R. Slavney, of a highly respected textbook of psychiatry. Clinical and research endeavors have been outstanding, recognized not only in psychiatric circles but in the larger professional and public world. For example, since U.S. News and World Report began the annual ranking of “America’s Best Hospitals” in 1990, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has been ranked in the top group of psychiatry departments every year. A considerable number of residents and staff who trained and worked under McHugh now hold positions of prominence, including chairmanships, in other universities.

Lex Burke Smith, M.D. contributed to this article.

         
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©2004 Lee Crandall Park, M.D.