Dr. Helen Mayberg, an expert in depression and the use of deep brain stimulation for treatment resistant depression, is the recipient of the 2013 Joan and Stanford Alexander Award in Psychiatry.

The award was established in honor of Dr. Stuart Yudofsky, professor and chair of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine, who was also its first recipient.

Contributions in the field of mental illness

Each year, the award honors a mental health professional who has made significant contributions in research, education and clinical or community service for people suffering from severe and persistent mental illness. The award consists of an annual prize and lecture of international scope.

Mayberg will receive the award and present grand rounds Wednesday, April 17, at 10:30 a.m. in Cullen Auditorium. Her lecture is titled "Rethinking Depression and its Treatment: Insights from Studies of Deep Brain Stimulation."

Mayberg is professor of psychiatry, neurology and radiology and the Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair of Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics at Emory University School of Medicine.

Focus on depression

Mayberg’s multidisciplinary depression research program is focused on studying brain circuits in depression, primarily focusing on using functional neuroimaging methods to understand the brain mechanisms that are involved in depression and to determine the best treatment options.
Her research allows for the continued study of deep brain stimulation for treatment resistant depression.

Joan and Stanford Alexander are pioneer advocates for providing parity in the reimbursements for psychiatric care for the mentally ill and work to fight the effects of stigma on those who suffer from mental illness.

This marks the fifth year of the award. Previous award winners have been Dr. Yudofsky, professor and chair of the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine; Dr. Eric Kandel, professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and Nobel Laureate in Medicine; Dr. Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse; and Dr. Marsha Linehan, professor of psychology at University of Washington and pioneer of dialectal behavioral therapy.