June 18, 2020

Letter From The Director

June 2020

Dr. Melvin McInnis

As the COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of much of the global community, our grandson relayed a comment from his history teacher: “I like teaching history, I don’t like living it.” Currently, each day is a chapter of history.

Sadly, the recent deaths of George Floyd and so many others have illustrated that it is not only a virus that can kill individuals and injure our society. I am appalled and beyond words at the actions of many in leadership and positions of authority. I am stunned that we actually need statements like “Black Lives Matter,” yet, we do. My humanity is eroded by the cruelties that we see and hear. 

I am white, I have many privileges, and yet I have difficulty living this chapter in history. How much more difficult must it be for others?

I gain hope, however, from the questions I am hearing. Many, but not all, of those questions begin with “why?” Following close behind are questions beginning with: What, How, and When….

Questions are critical. In academia and research, we live for questions. We pride ourselves on being learners. Learning means listening. Now is a time for listening.  

The Prechter Program has led the way for bipolar research for 15 years. We are successful because of the questions of our researchers and the answers of our research participant collaborators who share their lived experience with bipolar. We are successful as we learn and are guided by shared values set out by the Belmont Report of 1978, which outlines the ethical principles for research involving human beings. The three principles provide a moral compass:  1) Respect for persons, 2) Beneficence, and 3) Justice.   

Join us with questions, tell us your story, help us learn, and let’s make this chapter in history one we can look back on as the start of positive change, where our society shifted to align with the true north of the moral compass. 

Melvin McInnis, M.D., FRCPsych





Dr. McInnis is the Principal Investigator and Scientific Director, Prechter Bipolar Research Program;
Thomas B. and Nancy Upjohn Woodworth Professor of Bipolar Disorder and Depression;
Professor of Psychiatry;
Associate Director, University of Michigan Frances and Kenneth Eisenberg and Family Depression Center