Spotlight on Underserved Populations through an Endowed Chair of Public and Community Psychiatry

Posted: October 1st, 2013

On September 16th 2013, a celebration was held at MGH to honor the establishment of the Michele and Howard J. Kessler Chair in Public and Community Psychiatry, with the appointment of Derri L. Shtasel, MD, MPH, as the inaugural incumbent. This chair, generously funded by the Kessler family, will help expand services for those suffering from severe and persistent mental illness, who also depend upon government and community-based agencies for their care. These illnesses are often compounded by substance use disorders, poverty, homelessness, immigration status and multiple trauma.

Dr. Shtasel, pictured below with Massachusetts Congressman Patrick Kennedy, is the Director of the MGH Division of Public and Community Psychiatry, and also serves as the director of the PGY-2 clinical rotation in Public and Community Psychiatry.

Opening remarks were made by Dr. Peter Slavin, MD, MGH President, with subsequent remarks by longtime Boston Mayor, Thomas M. Menino, and Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy. Congressman Kennedy's remarks came fittingly on the 50th anniversary of his uncle, President Kennedy's, signing of the Community Mental Health Center Act in 1963. Jerrold F. Rosenbaum, MD, MGH Psychiatrist-in-Chief, also spoke about Dr. Shtasel's contributions to our department and the prominent role of the Division of Public and Community Psychiatry at MGH.

The division's mandate is to harness the depth and breadth of resources at MGH and in the community to provide excellence in clinical care, teaching, and research for underserved and vulnerable populations with severe mental illness. It is also poised to provide a powerful platform for advocacy, giving voice to the sickest and neediest patients who, with the double stigma of poverty and psychiatric disorders, are most often unheard.

Photo credits: MGH Photo Lab

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