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Author: Bob Carolla - 11/14/2013
Change doesn’t happen overnight.
However, it can reach a tipping point. Through the dedication of a life’s work, a medical scientist and clinician can set in motion ideas and methods that extend well beyond the boundaries of a single nation.
On Nov. 14, NAMI will be honoring one such professional leader, Professor Patrick D. McGorry, A.D., F.R.C.P., FRANZCP with NAMI’s annual Scientific Research Award.
Born in Ireland and spending his childhood in Wales, Dr. McGorry immigrated to Australia with his family at age 16. To date, he is the only recipient of the research award from outside the United States.
He is executive director of Orygen Youth Health, a world-renowned mental health center in Victoria, Australia, which focuses on clinical service to youth ages 15 to 25, medical research and integrated training. His principal professional focus has been early psychosis and severe mood disorders in youth. He has published approximately 500 peer-reviewed studies, more than 60 book chapters and edited six books.
In 2010, Dr. McGorry was named “Australian of the Year” for having “transformed the lives of tens of thousands of young people the world over.” (Click to see biographical video).
In selecting Dr. McGorry for its science award, NAMI noted that he “has played an integral role in the development of safe, effective treatments and innovative research involving the needs of young people with merging mental disorders, notably psychotic and severe mood disorders.”
Dr. McGorry’s influence has extended to advising government and health care systems. He is an advocate, calling for “genuinely transformational change.”
When Ireland published mental health guidelines for schools, Dr. McGorry noted in a personal blog that guidelines are fine and good for increasing recognition of mental illness, but then what? “There is urgent need for new style services to provide some expert help to the large number of young people who are locked out of care” he said.
Dr. McGorry called the NAMI honor a “wonderful acknowledgment of the tireless and inspired work of everyone at Orygen…I am delighted that the early intervention approach has been so validated by this major family organization in the USA. Families and consumers know we need to find a new way in mental health care and I expect this decision to greatly increase the international momentum for early intervention to become a central feature of mental health care.
A lecture by Dr. McGorry and presentation of the award will take place at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C. The Honorable Gordon Smith, president of the Nation al Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and former senator from Oregon will be the guest speaker.
NAMI will also present its Congressional Champion for Mental Health award to Sen. Ray Blunt (R-Mo.), Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Penn.).