In Memoriam Eugene B. Brody, MD, MA, DSc (Hons)1921–2010


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Eugene B. Brody died on March 13, 2010. This brought an end to his 43 year tenure as this Journal's editor-in-chief. He was the 10th in a line of distinguished predecessors that stretches back to 1874. These stark words do not convey the nature of this brilliant and humane man.Gene graduated from the University of Missouri and received his MD from Harvard. His psychiatric residency at Yale under the chairmanship of Eugen Kahn was interrupted when, at the age of 25, he began military service. He was assigned as the military psychiatrist for the station hospital in Fürth, Germany and the International Military Tribunal conducting the Nuremberg Trials. Working with German prisoners as well as those conducting the trials and their families, he was confronted with the reality of the relatively new concepts of genocide and human rights. From that time on, he was an unwavering advocate for human rights. He returned to Yale as chief resident in psychiatry under the chairmanship of Fritz Redlich. His first book (Psychotherapy with Schizophrenics: A Symposium), co-edited with Redlich, was published by International University Press in 1952, marking a transition from his early focus on experimental endocrinology and brain function to the social and cultural context of behavior and a holistic view of man. He was appointed to the position of associate clinical professor (and concurrently chief of the neuropsychiatric service at the West Haven Veterans Affairs Hospital and attending psychiatrist at the Yale Psychiatric Institute) in 1953. He also entered the New York Psychoanalytic Institute and began five years of training analysis.In 1957, he accepted the position of professor of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Two years later, he became Chairman and Director of the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behavior. He was a specialist in the social aspects of psychiatry, as evidenced by his additional university positions of Dean for Social and Behavioral Studies and Director for the Program of Humanistic Studies in Medicine.He displayed this social and humanistic focus in practice, teaching, multifaceted research and consulting activities, writing, and editing. In addition to psychotherapy in schizophrenia, his research interests included the influence of social and cultural context on the behavior of minority group adolescents and migrants in the United States, the extremely poor in Rio de Janeiro, and women in Jamaica. In addition to 10 books, his bibliography includes more than 250 articles. He was a Life Member of the American Psychoanalytic Association and a Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. In 1991 he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Missouri.Despite a demanding schedule of clinical and scholarly activity, he never lost the human touch, one that was usually accompanied by wit and deftness. A colleague, Len Press, who was director of social work at the institute, recalls that when meetings ran over time Gene would say, “We have time for one more superb, insightful, comprehensive question.” Of course no one ever asked. Press also describes how Gene helped him develop professionally. Once when Gene was going to be away he said to Press, “Can you take over my Monday morning clinical conference?” This was quite a leap for a psychiatric social worker early in his career. Anthony Lehman, current chairman of the department of psychiatry and JNMD Advisory Board member says: “His genius as a clinician was remarkable. He was interested not only in the patient's disease but the culture they came from and their health.” (Rasmussen, 2010).

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