Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine

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Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine

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  • Department of Psychiatry, WUSM
  • Psychiatry Department, WUSM

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Washington University's department of psychiatry originated from the medical school's department of medicine. Dr. Sidney Schwab served as the head of the neurology and psychiatry from 1918-1938, but during this time, it remained a division within internal medicine.

An independent department of neuropsychiatry was created in 1938 when David M. Rioch, MD was appointed the first head in 1938. Edwin Gildea, MD became head of the department in 1942, becoming the first Wallace and Lucille K. Renard Professor of Psychiatry at the university. The Renards also provided funding for the construction of Renard Hospital, a 100-bed hospital dedicated to the care of psychiatrically ill patients, which opened in 1955 on the university’s medical campus.

When Gildea stepped down as head of the department in 1963, Eli Robins, MD became department head. Gildea, along with Samuel Guze and George Winokur developed an approach to psychiatry that became known as the "medical model." At a time when psychoanalysis dominated the field of psychiatry in the United States, the Washington University psychiatry faculty were strong proponents of this new approach based on the belief that the scientific method was the appropriate vehicle for advancing the field.

Samuel Guze, MD took over the chairmanship of the department in 1975. Guze became one of the most influential figures in American psychiatry, leading the development of criteria-based diagnoses that became DSM-III. Under Guze's leadership, many talented psychiartists served on faculty in the department including Paula Clayton, Lee N. Robins, Joan Luby, C. Robert Cloninger, Eugene Rubin, Robert Woodruff, and Richard Hudgens.


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