Kenneth R. Silk, M.D., Lectureship

About Kenneth R. Silk, M.D.

Ken Silk attended the Albert Einstein School of Medicine and completed his training in psychiatry at Yale University. He began his U-M career in 1975 as an instructor at the Ann Arbor VA Hospital. He transitioned to working within U-M’s Department of Psychiatry in the early 1990s, where he held various posts and garnered many accolades and awards until he retired in 2014. Notably, Ken created the Personality Disorders team at Michigan’s Ambulatory Care Clinic to specialize in the care of patients with moderate to severe personality disorders, Ken’s specialty. Ken’s work impacted many – undergraduate and graduate students, medical students, nurses, community and U-M patients, faculty, staff and their families. Ken will be remembered both locally and internationally as an outstanding clinician and an expert in the treatment of patients with Borderline Personality Disorder.

Dr. Silk was inducted into Michigan Medical School’s “League of Clinical Excellence” in 2015.
Ken on a family trip to Norway

“Ken’s impact as faculty member, clinician, researcher, educator and administrator over decades at Michigan has been immense. He has touched so many of us and so many lives of patients, residents and students of all kinds. He was a leader in the Michigan Psychiatric Society and American Psychiatric Association, and internationally known for his expertise in our understanding and treatment of personality disorders. His smile and sense of humor were the extra seasoning he brought to every encounter, lightening the mood as he enlightened us. This lecture is a wonderful and fitting tribute to the legacy of a man who has had such a positive impact on patients, families, colleagues and trainees of all disciplines, locally, nationally and internationally.”

Gregory W. Dalack, MD
Chair, Department of Psychiatry


The annual lecture is given by a prominent leader in the field of psychiatric disorders with a specific focus on addressing innovative, evidence-based advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders, Ken’s area of expertise. The Ken Silk Lecturer is selected in advance by the “Kenneth R. Silk, M.D. Lectureship Committee”, which will be comprised of the Chair and the Associate Chairs of the Department of Psychiatry, and additional faculty members as determined by the Chair.

Joan Margeson (center), with Dr. Silk’s children Barbara and David at the inaugural lectureship in 2017.

The annual lecture  honors Dr. Silk and includes a reception to provide an opportunity for our current psychiatry trainees to share their research endeavors and to meet personally with the Silk Lecturer and other senior faculty members. Residents, medical students and postdoctoral fellows are invited to submit an abstract for the annual Silk Lecture, to be displayed in a pre-lecture poster session. The intent of the poster session is to share recent academic advances from the past year so that faculty and trainees can become familiar with colleagues’ research, and collaborations and mentorship opportunities are fostered.

The lectureship and associated activities are made possible thanks to the generosity of Dr. Silk’s wife, Joan Margeson, along with numerous friends, family members and former colleagues who helped establish the Kenneth R. Silk, M.D. Endowment fund in Psychiatry.

Past Lectures

2022 - View Lecture Recording

Kenneth N. Levy, Ph.D.
The Pennsylvania State University

Education Awardee: Karla Blackwood, M.D. 

2021 (held in 04/2022) - View Lecture Recording

Lois W. Choi-Kain, M.D., M.Ed.
Harvard Medical School

Education Awardee: Ricks Warren, Ph.D.  


2020 - View Lecture Recording

Stephanie D. Stepp, PhD, University of Pittsburgh

Education Awardees: Syma Khan, MSW, MPH, and David Fulkerson, LCSW

2019 -  View Lecture Recording

Guest lecturer: Anthony Ruocco, PhD, CPsych, University of Toronto

Education Awardee: Mary Grambeau, LMSW


Guest lecturer: Perry D. Hoffman, PhD, Cofounder and former president of the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEA-BPD)

Education Awardee: James Abelson, MD, PhD


Guest lecturer: John Gunderson, MD, Harvard Medical School

Education Awardee: JoAnn Heap, LCSW