Dennis Charney, MD, the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Health System, has received the prestigious Donald Klein Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society for Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP). The award was presented to Dr. Charney during the ASCP’s annual meeting on Wednesday, May 31.
The award is presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of clinical psychopharmacology. It is named in honor of Dr. Klein, who brought a rational and pragmatic approach to modern clinical psychopharmacology and the concepts behind major mood disorders. His work was fundamental not only in shaping the modern understanding of clinical depression, but also in defining the nature of clinical psychopharmacology trials.
A world-renowned expert in neurobiology and treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, Dr. Charney has made significant contributions to the understanding of and therapeutic approaches to human anxiety, fear, depression, and resilience. His work demonstrating that ketamine is a rapidly acting antidepressant has been recognized as one of the most exciting advances in antidepressant therapy in more than half a century. Most notably, Dr. Charney is named as a co-inventor on a patent for the use of ketamine as a therapeutic approach for patients with treatment-resistant depression. The treatment, which received the overwhelming support of a Food and Drug Administration panel in February 2019, has the potential to be life-changing for millions of patients with an often-devastating disease.
Elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 2000, Dr. Charney has been honored with every major award in his field for his research. He has also written or co-authored more than 700 publications, including groundbreaking scientific papers, chapters, and several books including Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, which will be available in its third edition this September.
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“Progress in the field of pharmacological treatments for major psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, multiple anxiety disorder, and attention deficit disorder has been too slow compared to other serious diseases such as cancer and heart disease,” said Dr. Charney. “Dr. Klein recognized that therapeutic discovery for mental illness needs a paradigm change, and he became an inspiration for me and other researchers through his groundbreaking work. It is an honor to receive this award and to continue his legacy by using new data from molecular biology, genetics, neural circuitry, and other scientific fields to identify new and novel therapies for serious mental illness.”