Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recognizing the unheralded heroes of psychiatry

Henry A. Nasrallah, MD

A large number of individuals contribute in many ways to the process of discovering, applying, and disseminating new psychiatric knowledge. I am, of course, referring to researchers, clinicians, teachers, and advocates who touch the lives of millions of persons who suffer from mental illness every year. This editorial is dedicated to singing the praises of those who quietly contribute to advancing psychiatry.

Patients. Tens of thousands of psychiatric patients sign an informed consent form and volunteer to participate in clinical trials to test new drugs in double-blind, placebo-controlled studies that could lead to FDA approval. Without these volunteers, it would be almost impossible to develop new medications.Research assistants. They are an army of skilled technical workers who do the heavy lifting in animal or human research and put in long hours to collect data or conduct tests. Yet they are rarely recognized for their critical contributions to science and clinical practice.

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