History and Vision


The Duke University Medical Center started in 1924 with a $10 million bequest from James B. Duke to build a hospital and medical school, with two goals in mind: to improve the quality of medical care and to create excellence in medical education. Mr. Duke's vision has been realized. Duke University Medical Center is recognized worldwide as one of the nation's leading health centers, and Duke University School of Medicine is consistently ranked among the top five medical schools in the country on both subjective and objective measures.


Duke University Medical Center


Over the years, the Duke Department of Psychiatry has increased in depth and breadth of its clinical, research and educational activities. The department first achieved national prominence in the mid-1950's under the chairmanship of Dr. Ewald Busse (1953-1974). A past president of the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Busse is considered by many to be the founder of geriatric psychiatry.

The next chairperson, Dr. H. Keith Brodie (1974-1982), also became president of the APA, and later, Chancellor and President of the university. His successor, Dr. Barney Carroll (1983-1990), is a major contributor to our understanding of the neuroendocrinology of mood disorders.

Dr. Dan Blazer (1990-1992) served as interim chairperson and then Dean of Medical Education at Duke. He is renowned for his research in psychiatric epidemiology and geriatric psychiatry. He returned to the Department of Psychiatry as Vice Chair for Education in 2011. (Click here to view video of Dr. Blazer's presentation, History of Duke Psychiatry, 1940-2012.  Note that Duke NetID or a guest ID are required.)

Dr. Allen Frances (1992-1998) successfully steered the department through years of change stimulated by managed care pressures on academic health centers and is perhaps best known for his work in constructing the DSM-IV and a number of groundbreaking practice guidelines in psychiatry.

Dr. Ranga Krishnan (1998-2009), combined his prodigious talents as a research clinician with his complete dedication to continuing the tradition of excellence of the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Krishnan has been a clinician, investigator and teacher at the Medical Center for many years, and is a strong supporter of the Department's many educational programs. In the residency program, he served as an active mentor, lecturer and consultant. Currently Dr. Krishnan is serving as Dean of the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School in Singapore.

Dr. Marvin Swartz (2009-2010) served as Interim Chair in anticipation of our next permanent chair. Dr. Swartz is a distinguished social psychiatrist and has worked diligently to build up our clinical resources. He is a popular teacher and mentor for residents.

Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, MD, an internationally recognized leader in the field of brain stimulation, was named Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine October 1, 2010. Before coming to Duke, Lisanby was Chief of the Brain Stimulation and Therapeutic Modulation Division at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University.  She stepped down from her role as Chair on October 1, 2015, to accept the position of Director of Translational Research at the National Institutes for Mental Health. 

Dr. Richard Weiner, the director of the well-known Duke ECT service and a nearly 4-decade Director of the Durham VA Medical Center's Mental Health Service Line, is serving in the role of Interim Chair as of October 1, 2015.



We have a vision for exceptional education in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke. We aim to create the impetus among our learners to seek out opportunities for lifelong learning in everyday clinical care, in research endeavors, and in bridging the translational gap.  Our trainees go on to become excellent clinicians and leaders in psychiatry.  Our programs benefit from close interactions between trainees in different programs, and we have nationally recognized training programs in medicine-psychiatry and medical psychology.  We are able to offer our trainees diverse clinical settings, excellent training in psychotherapy, exposure to cutting-edge research, and opportunities to pursue their passion. 

Jane P. Gagliardi MD, MHS, FACP, FAPA
Vice Chair for Education

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