Mission: To develop and provide the highest quality mental health care through cutting edge research and outstanding education.
Vision: To be leaders in advancing the understanding and treatment of psychiatric disorders
Emerson A. North was the first head of psychiatry at Cincinnati General Hospital, and the first professor of psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati. He founded Central Clinic in 1923, one of the first psychiatric clinics west of the Alleghenies. This is the start of the department of Psychiatry. In 1930, Charles Aring approached Dr. North to become the first resident in Neuropsychiatry at Cincinnati General Hospital. Aring later went on to found the UC Department of Neurology. At that time the Neuropsychiatric Pavilion contained some 60 beds which were staffed by visiting neuropsychiatrists. The neuropsychiatry service was split in the early 1930s, with Neurology joining Internal Medicine.
John Romano was Chair of the Department from 1942 – 1946. During his tenure, he invited George Engel to join as faculty. Engel later became famous as the pioneer of the biopsychosocial model of psychiatry. Dr. Romano went on to become the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester, taking Dr. Engel with him.
Maurice Levine was the legendary chair of the UC Department of Psychiatry from 1947 until his death in 1971. He was raised in Cincinnati by his Lithuanian/ Austrian immigrant parents. He graduated from UC with a BS and MA in psychology. He received his MD degree and completed his psychiatry residency training from The Johns Hopkins University School of medicine. After studying in Vienna, he returned to UC in 1932 as an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, but then left to go into private practice. He returned in November 1947 as Chairman. He was one of the first psychoanalyst chairs of a department in the country. Under his leadership, the department experienced significant growth from 5 faculty and 3 residents to 110 faculty and 55 residents. His landmark book, Psychotherapy in Medical Practice, had 18 printings and was translated into several languages. During this time, the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute was founded and housed within the Department of Psychiatry, until it moved into its own building at 3001 Highland Avenue. Levine Park on the East (Medical) Campus is dedicated in his honor.
It was during Dr. Levine’s tenure that the Child Guidance Home was reorganized as a long-term residential treatment program in the Department of Psychiatry. Othilda Krug was the first director of Child Psychiatry in the Department and founded the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry training program in 1948. Lou Wise was the first trainee in the program. It developed the reputation of being one of the largest and best training programs for child psychiatrists, with a strong focus on psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Dr. Krug remained as training director until 1984. In 1957, she advocated that Child Psychiatry be recognized as a subspecialty of Psychiatry and should be certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology as such. Dr. Krug is one of the founders of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and wrote the first textbook on training child psychiatrists.
After Dr. Levine's death, the Department was led by interim Chairs that included Robert Daniels and Stanley Kaplan before Donald Langsley became Chair in 1977. During this time, Dr. Langsley also served as President of the American Psychiatric Association. Upon his departure, Roy Whitman became interim chair and then permanent Chair, serving from 1980-1989.
James Randolph Hillard served as chair 1989 – 2006. During, this time, the department took new directions in several different areas. The department greatly expanded its research capabilities, particularly in imaging and clinical psychopharmacology, having one of the largest clinical trials programs in the country. The Department became a national leader in adapting the academic medical center to the managed care environment and in developing an effective model for providing emergency services, i.e., The Psychiatric Emergency Service (PES). The new emphasis on primary care psychiatry resulted in combined residencies starting in 1995: pediatrics/ psychiatry/ child and adolescent psychiatry, also known as the “triple board” program, and family medicine/ psychiatry (the first in the country).
Stephen Strakowski served as chair from 2006 – 2014. He is an experienced researcher with over 200 peer-reviewed publications. He also served as Senior Associate Dean for Research at the UC College of Medicine. During his tenure as Chair, the focus was on building a sustainable financial foundation for the Department. Dr. Strakowski now serves as Senior Vice President for Strategy and Transformation at UC Health.
Melissa Delbello was appointed chair in July of 2014. She is the first woman Chair of the Department, as well as the first Chair to be a child and adolescent psychiatrist.