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Department History

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences was originally a division in the Department of Medicine; Carl Whitaker, M.D., a leading figure in academic psychiatry in the 1950’s was the division head. In 1958, an independent Department of Psychiatry was formed, and Bernard C. Holland, M.D., was recruited as chairman from Columbia University. He remained chairman for 25 years, and succeeded in expanding the department to a considerable extent in all aspects of academic development including an increase in the number of faculty and residents, an increase in the clinical responsibilities of the department, an increase in research, including the building of the Georgia Mental Health Institute with modern wet laboratory space, and the establishment of an annual research budget from the State of Georgia.

In 1983, Jeffrey L. Houpt, M.D. was recruited from Duke University Medical Center to replace the retiring Dr. Holland. He served as chair until accepting the Acting Dean (1989) and eventually the position of Dean of the School of Medicine (1990). During Dr. Houpt’s tenure as chair, the department continued to build upon its excellence in teaching and clinical service, and began the process of expanding the research programs in the department. A medical psychiatry unit, addiction psychiatry unit and general adult psychiatry unit were established at Emory University Hospital, the Emory University Autism Center was established, and research programs in schizophrenia and drug/alcohol abuse flourished. The General Psychiatry Residency program was initially approved in the late 1940s.  With the recruitment of Miles Crowder, M.D. from Vanderbilt University to head the general psychiatry training program, the residency program expanded and flourished with 50 residents per year for the last 20+ years one of the larger general psychiatry residency programs.  During this time, the Emory University Psychoanalytic Institute experienced considerable growth and moved toward independence from the Columbia University Institute. The department also expanded by providing clinical services in geriatric psychiatry at Wesley Woods Geriatric Hospital, operating a variety of new programs at Grady Memorial Hospital, and the departmental presence at Egleston Children’s Hospital and the Atlanta Veterans Administration Hospital was expanded. These expansions provided a variety of clinical sites and complementary patient populations.

Donald Manning, M.D., became Acting Chair when Dr. Houpt assumed the position of Dean of the School of Medicine and remained in this role until the summer of 1991 when Charles B. Nemeroff, M.D., Ph.D., relocated from Duke University Medical Center to become the department’s third chairman. Armed with a generous development package that included 10,000 square feet of new laboratory and office space in the Woodruff Memorial Research Building and development funds for the recruitment of new research faculty, the department was poised for major expansion. The Dean’s mandate to the incoming chairman was to recruit basic and clinical faculty in order to markedly increase extramural grant funding from both federal and non-federal sources, while maintaining and further improving our acknowledged excellence in medical student education, residency training, psychology training, and clinical service. Steven Levy, M.D. served as the Interim Chair (2009-2011) and is a leader in the field of psychoanalysis. 

Mark Rapaport, M.D. was appointed as the chair in September 2011.  His research focuses on the biologic genesis of anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression and immunity abnormalities in schizophrenia.   Dr. Rapaport has served as first chair of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Clinical Trials Network Data Safety Monitoring Board, and chair of its Special Review Committee.  He has received peer-reviewed grant funding from the NIMH, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, The Stanley Medical Research Institute, the Veterans Affairs Research Board and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) Foundation.  His goal is to create a world-class Department that integrates outstanding research and teaching with superb clinical care. 

Remarkable progress has been made in several arenas.  In the last 20 years, the department has emerged as one of the preeminent departments of psychiatry in the United States. It is genuinely a pluralistic department with distinct strengths in several areas including, but not limited to public psychiatry, research, psychoanalysis, forensic psychiatry, child and adolescent psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and the recent addition of the combined internal medicine/psychiatry residency program.  It has expanded to over 150 faculty including psychiatrists, psychologists and basic neuroscientists. It is currently (2010-2011) ranked #14 in NIH funding and #15 in “America’s Best Hospitals” by US News and World Report.  The faculty are leaders in the biology and treatment of childhood, adolescent, and adult mood disorders (Craighead). There is remarkable expertise in brain imaging (Mayberg, Berns, Bremner), molecular neurobiology and genomics (Davis, Ressler, Cubells), post-traumatic stress disorder (Bremner, Rothbaum), animal models (Weiss), neuropharmacology (Owens), women’s mental health ( Newport), geriatric psychiatry (McDonald), psychoimmunology (Miller), drug and alcohol abuse (Coles, Howell), and psychoanalysis (Levy).

Ann Schwartz, M.D. was appointed director of adult residency training in the department in 2011 after working as the Associate Training Director for 4 years with Dr. McDonald (Program Director from 2007-2011).  Miles Crowder, M.D. has extensive experience in Residency Education and is the Senior Associate Program Director.  Robert Cotes, M.D. is an Associate Training Director and also is an attending on the inpatient service at Grady Hospital.  Our department has demonstrated an excellence in training, scholarship, research, and clinical service, and continues to thrive.