The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation recently announced Charles F. Reynolds, III, MD, as one of the winners of the 2016 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health. Dr. Reynolds was recognized for pioneering work in geriatric psychiatry and treatment of late-life depression. Dr. Reynolds’ fellow 2016 Parades winners included Vikram Patel, PhD, F Med Sci, for transformative work in advancing mental health care in resource-poor countries. and an Honorary Tribute to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy for his powerful and unwavering commitment to advocating on behalf of people with mental illness.
The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is awarded annually to recognize individuals whose contributions have made a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people suffering from mental illness. It focuses public attention on the burden mental illness places on individuals and society, and the urgent need to expand mental health services globally. Established in 2014, The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is named in honor of Herbert Pardes, MD, a noted psychiatrist, advocate for the mentally ill, and the award’s first recipient.
“The 2016 Pardes Prize recipients have applied their scientific knowledge, deep understanding of human behavior and compassion to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from mental illness, especially those living in poverty,” said Dr. Pardes, President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “Their work has expanded our scope of mental illness treatment around the world. They have taught us about the needs of our diverse human family and how to use knowledge for the greater good of humanity.”
Dr. Pardes added, “Dr. Patel and Dr. Reynolds exemplify what it means to be a humanitarian. Dr. Patel’s mission is to bring desperately needed psychiatric care to people living in countries where access to these services is limited or non-existent. Dr. Reynolds is a pioneer in geriatric psychiatry whose mission is to help the elderly lead full and productive lives in their later years. We honor them both for their outstanding commitment to alleviating the pain and suffering of mental illness.”
Dr. Reynolds and his colleagues have made groundbreaking contributions to the prevention and treatment of depression in older adults. Depression has been identified by the World Health Organization as a leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the global burden of disease across the life cycle.
Dr. Reynolds helped to define a new global health priority as depression prevention in older adults, now recognized as a feasible public health goal. He and his colleagues have also demonstrated that depression treatment reduces both suicidal risk and cancer-related mortality risk in elderly medical patients, and his work has informed long-term treatment strategies to prevent recurrence and to delay dementia in depression with mild cognitive impairment.
Dr. Reynolds leads an NIMH study with the Goa Medical College/India and with Sangath to develop and test a scalable model of depression prevention. Building upon the contribution of Pardes Prize co-recipient Dr. Vikram Patel, this work uses lay health counselors for early intervention in mildly symptomatic older adults, thereby optimizing scarce mental health resources to prevent depression onset. The NIMH-sponsored center in late life mood disorders, which Dr. Reynolds directs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has mentored 25 research-career development (NIH K) awardees since 1995.
In addition to co-founding the Global Consortium on Depression Prevention and editing the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Dr. Reynolds has served as president of the American College of Psychiatrists, the International College for Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He has received the APA Weinberg Award for lifetime contributions in geriatric psychiatry, the American College of Psychiatrists’ research award in geriatrics, the International Psychogeriatric Association lifetime service award, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.
“It is a privilege and an honor to be a recipient of the Pardes Humanitarian Prize. In our youth-focused culture, the elderly and their struggles with mental illness are often overlooked and neglected. Late-life depression is a global health priority that has immense impact on older individuals and their families. It is my sincere hope that as a society we can work to restore the joy of living to older adults affected by mental illness,” Dr. Reynolds said.