Dr. Marsha M. Linehan, an expert in the treatment of suicidal behaviors, personality disorders – including eating disorders – and other complex mental disorders, has been selected as the recipient of the 2012 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.

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. Previous winners have included psychiatrists Eric Kandel, winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse.

Linehan will receive the award and present grand rounds on Wednesday, April 25, at 10:30 a.m. in BCM's Cullen Auditorium. Her lecture is titled “Dialectical Behavior Therapy: Where it started. Where it went. Where it may be now. Where we are going.”

Linehan is professor of psychology and director of the Behavioral Research and Therapy Clinics at the University of Washington. She developed dialectical behavior therapy – a treatment originally developed for treating suicidal behaviors that has expanded to treating borderline personality disorder and other severe and complex mental disorders. The treatment has been shown to be effective in reducing suicidal behavior and is cost-effective compared to both standard and community treatments delivered by expert therapists.

She has received several awards for her clinical and research contributions to the study and treatment of suicidal behaviors, including the Louis I. Dublin Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Field of Suicide and the Distinguished Research in Suicide Award from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention. The American Association of Suicidology established the Marsha Linehan Award for Outstanding Research in the Treatment of Suicidal Behaviors in her honor.

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 fourth year of the award