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December 5, 2002


Emory University Names First Rosalynn Carter Chair in Mental Health

Benjamin G. Druss, MD, MPH, will become the first Rosalynn Carter Chair in Mental Health at Emory Universityís Rollins School of Public Health, effective December 31st, 2002. He joins Emory from Yale University, where he is an associate professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health and the director of Mental Health Policy Studies.

Dr. Druss will serve as an associate professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Rollins School of Public Health. The endowed chair is the first joint appointment between the Rollins School of Public Health and The Carter Center and the first endowed chair in mental health at a school of public health nationwide.

"We are excited to have Benjamin Druss joining us as a colleague and as the trailblazer for this new position," said James W. Curran, MD, MPH, dean of the Rollins School of Public Health. "He will be able to establish innovative programs and research by combining his national collaborative relationships with the resources at Emory and The Carter Center."

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, who founded The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force, said, "We are both pleased and proud that Dr. Druss has agreed to assume this chair. Emory has once again proven its innovation and leadership by having an endowed chair for mental health in its school of public health. Mental illnesses have been neglected for too long in the public health arena, and this will bring national recognition and attention to the promotion of mental health and the prevention of mental disabilities. We look forward to working with Dr. Druss."

Dr. Druss says his major clinical and research interest is to better understand and improve care on the boundary between mental health and primary care.

"My interests have spanned both the treatment of common mental disorders in primary care settings and also the delivery of primary medical care to patients with serious mental disorders," he said. "At Emory, I hope to continue and expand the work I have conducted to date. I also plan to develop a research program on evidence-based mental health policy that will help mental health policy makers make better decisions by using the wealth of existing data."

The Chair search committee included faculty from several departments within the Rollins School of Public Health, The Carter Center, the department of Psychology and the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

"Dr. Drussís combination of clinical experience and health services research background made him stand out among the twenty competitive applicants," says Kenneth E. Thorpe, Ph.D., head of the search committee and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management. "He has the ability to blend practice, policy and prevention in a way that strengthens our mental health research collaborations with The Carter Center."

Dr. Druss received his bachelorís degree from Swarthmore College in 1985, earned his medical degree from New York University in 1989 and later his masterís in public health from Yale University in 1995. He is also board certified in psychiatry. He trained as a resident in general internal medicine at Rhode Island Hospital and in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Druss is currently serving on the Institute of Medicine Committee on Identifying Priority Areas for Quality Improvement and as a consultant to the Presidentís New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. He was a recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Early Career Health Services Research Award and the Association for Health Services Research Article-of-the-Year Award, both in 2000. In 2001, he was awarded the Chairmanís Award for Outstanding Performance in Research, Clinical and Administrative Work, Department of Psychiatry at Yale University.

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