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Media Contact: Kathi Baker
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19 January 2007
Emory University Physician Elected Chair of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, has been elected to chair the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Scientific Council. Dr. Nemeroff is the Reunette W. Harris professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine.

According to US statistics, about 300,000 people die from suicide each year. It is the second leading cause of death in college students. It is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 24, the fourth leading cause of death for people ages 18 to 65 and fifth leading cause of death for children and teens ages five to 14.

"It's estimated that 90 percent of those who die from suicide had a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of death," says Dr. Nemeroff.

"It is without question that we must diligently use our resources to raise awareness, understand the neurobiological underpinnings of depression and bipolar disorder and find better treatments for the major psychiatric disorders associated with increased risk for suicide," says Dr. Nemeroff. "In addition, we need to find ways to make it easier for people to recognize mental illness, reduce stigma associated with it and reduce the barriers so that patients can get the help they need."

Dr. Nemeroff earned his medical degree and PhD in neurobiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then joined the faculty at Duke University where he was professor of psychiatry and pharmacology and chief of the Division of Biological Psychiatry. In 1991 he came to Emory to chair the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

Dr. Nemeroff has received more than a dozen awards during his career and has published more than 825 research reports and reviews. He has been a member of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) for more than a decade and has served on the national board of directors since 1999.

The AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

The AFSP Scientific Council is responsible for and advises the board of directors on all matters pertaining to the Foundation's mental health, medical and scientific activities and projects, including suicide prevention research and programs. The Council is comprised of nationally recognized researchers and clinicians with expertise in the biological, genetic and psychosocial factors that can contribute to suicide. There are currently 15 members on the Council.

"Our Foundation is fortunate to have Dr. Nemeroff serving in this important role, as he brings enormous scientific knowledge and strong leadership skills to the position, and because he is so passionate about our cause," says Robert Gebbia, executive director for AFSP. "We look forward to working with him to expand our research and educational programs."


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