The challenges we face in finding better ways to care for patients with mental illness can seem daunting, yet our dedicated faculty remain committed to transforming how these conditions are assessed and treated. Invaluable support through donor contributions, volunteer efforts and engagement enhance the Department of Psychiatry's efforts and help bring promising research and better clinical care to life. Together, we will improve the lives of patients living with mental illness and their families.
As the inaugural Crumpacker Brown Research Professor, Marcia Valenstein, M.D., personified the gift’s intent as someone focused on improving and broadening access to mental health care. After Dr. Valenstein’s retirement, Paul Pfeiffer, M.D., became the professorship’s new holder. His work seeks to boost the quality of depression care through peer-based and technology-based interventions. Dr. Pfeiffer’s leadership across department initiatives also allows him to work closely with the KCCP, bringing Brown’s support full-circle.
“Susan’s determination to prevent suicide by making mental health treatment more available and less stigmatized inspires our work,” said Dr. Pfeiffer.
On the heels of its $500,000 gift to establish the Daniel E. Offutt III Endowment Fund in Psychiatry in 2019, the Offutt Charitable Trust has made another transformative pledge of $2.5 million to the Department of Psychiatry. Chair Gregory W. Dalack, M.D., announced the gift made to establish the Daniel E. Offutt III Professorship designated to support the Chairship of the Department of Psychiatry.
In sharing the news, Dr. Dalack emphasized that this gift will ensure that the future department chairs will hold an endowed professorship in perpetuity, which will “provide additional support to carry out the vision of the chair, and enhance the opportunity to recruit the brightest and best to the leadership role of the department.”
Gifts of all sizes, gifts of time, talent or financial resources, can make an impact on patients and our community. The power of our volunteers is not to be underestimated, and it is truly amazing what a group of people with shared goals can do to impact the community. At the Department of Psychiatry, we are fortunate to have many devoted volunteers and donors that help us serve the community and provide hope our patients.
This annual series of research conferences is held in the department of psychiatry in Dr. Silverman’s honor. Mrs. Halina Silverman’s very generous endowment gift ensures that the Albert J. Silverman Research Conference will continue in perpetuity as a lasting tribute and legacy for her late husband, an accomplished leader, a fine doctor – devoted to his patients, colleagues and trainees – and a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.
The Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund provides travel grants to nursing and medical students to attend professional seminars or conferences related to the field of psychiatry.
The Starr Family Memorial Tribute Fund was established to memorialize and pay tribute to Jerry Starr Miller and Lillis Wood Starr, women who pursued medical education and spent careers providing medical care. Jerry Starr Miller was a career nurse who worked more than 25 years at Alhambra Psychiatric Hospital and was awarded Nurse of the Year there several times. Her grandmother, Lillis Wood Starr, was a pioneer for women in medicine, earning her medical degree from the University of Michigan in 1891. She went on to decades of spearheading public educational work on medical hygiene in Southern California’s vibrant Adventist community.
In early 2014 the department was contacted by a gift officer from the U-M College of Literature, Science & Arts. A donor by the name of Matthew K. Smith (’93) who had made gifts over the years to the Political Science Department was interested in learning more about U-M stuttering programs. After several meetings, Mr. Smith agreed to fund new ideas for innovative research in brain development and stuttering with a gift of $350K.
“As a child, I had a stuttering problem and at the time I found that resources to help me through it were non-existent,” said Mr. Smith. “I had to figure out how to overcome it by myself, which was a very frustrating process for a 6-year-old and my parents. I came up with my own way of managing my stuttering problem.”
The Rosa Casco Solano-Lopez Research professorship for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry is one of the endowed professorships within the Department of Psychiatry. Established by Dr. Carlos Solano-Lopez (Residency ‘90), the professorship serves as a memorial to his mother, Rosa.
Dr. Solano-Lopez struggled with a speech impairment when he was younger. “When I was growing up, I had a problem speaking; I stuttered. There was no treatment that my parents were aware of and I struggled with this issue for many years,” says Dr. Solano-Lopez. The professorship aims to enable the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry to recruit world-class researchers that specialize in stuttering.
A therapy dog named McCoy is the latest addition to Paws4Patients – an animal therapy program established in 2016 by Michigan Medicine to connect with patients and families. McCoy is a golden retriever who, like his littermates, was named after a television show. He will serve in the psychiatry adult inpatient unit, partial hospital program, and psych emergency service.
Bringing the fluffy canine therapist on staff to visit and cheer up patients took a lot of coordination between Paws4Patients, the Department of Psychiatry, and Michigan Medicine’s Office of Development. Donors David and Kathy Cozad helped make it possible through their longtime generosity to the department. The Cozad family’s gift supports Paws4Patients in many ways, from acquiring therapy dogs to covering the training expenses for McCoy’s handler.