Press Releases

NAMI Awards Outstanding Psychiatrists

Exemplary Psychiatrist Awards Presented At Breakfast During APA Convention

Jun 03 1998

Arlington, VA - More than 90 outstanding psychiatrists from around the nation will receive NAMI’s 1998 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award during a ceremony at the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) Annual Convention in Toronto today. Selected by NAMI’s own grassroots membership, the physicians are being honored for their contributions to greater public understanding of brain disorders, outspoken work to eliminate stigma, or efforts to fight discriminatory policies against people with brain disorders.

“These special medical professionals who heroically fight for the rights of their patients and their families far too often go unheralded,” said NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. “NAMI’s Exemplary Psychiatrist Award not only recognizes the invaluable contributions made by these caring professionals, but it also allows people with severe mental illnesses and their families to show their gratitude for lives reclaimed.

“Coping with mental illness requires more than a pill or doctor’s visit,” said NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. “Support and understanding from an entire family and community as well as science-based medical treatment are critical to managing symptoms of mental illness and helping consumers regain control of their lives.

“NAMI, therefore, is pleased to honor these outstanding individuals not only for their tireless efforts in bringing about real recovery for the millions of Americans suffering from severe mental illnesses, but also for their unending contributions to greater public understanding of these disorders and their dedication to eliminating the stigma that far too often plagues these vulnerable people,” said Flynn.

Since 1991, NAMI’s Exemplary Psychiatrist Award has been presented to more than 600 psychiatrists serving people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), major depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and severe anxiety disorders.

To qualify for the 1998 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award, an individual must have set an example for his or her professional colleagues and have shown outstanding leadership and perseverance in at least one of the following areas:

  • Fighting Discriminatory Policies. Has been a leader in fighting injustices and discrimination against people with brain disorders by taking a public stand against discriminatory policies in public or private systems of care, housing or employment.
  • Increasing Public Understanding of Brain Disorders. Has routinely worked to educate the public about brain disorders and the people who have them, through public speaking, participation in public education programs, or similar events.
  • Fighting Stigma. Has routinely worked to fight stigmatizing and stereotyping portrayals of people with brain disorders through speaking out, letter writing or similar activities.

Joining Laurie Flynn in honoring this year’s awardees is Peter Wyden, father of United States Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and author of Conquering Schizophrenia, a compelling book about his decades-long battle to find the right treatment for his eldest son Jeff. In his recently published work, Wyden stresses the importance of the physician’s overall outlook and belief in psycho-social treatments: “…the prognosis, as the treater views it, pretty much determines a patient’s fate. The more enthusiastic and optimistic the doctor, the better the patient’s chances of recovery….”