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News Brief: William Carpenter Awarded IOM 2013 Sarnat Prize

November 6, 2013. The Institute of Medicine’s 2013 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health was awarded to William T. Carpenter on October 21, 2013, at the Institute’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. A professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, Carpenter is being recognized for his pioneering investigations of both schizophrenia and research ethics.

"Our understanding of schizophrenia and how to treat it are greatly due to the lifetime dedication of Dr. Carpenter," said IOM president Harvey V. Fineberg in a press release issued by the Institute. "His work on mental illness research ethics and academic relations has contributed significantly to policies that have become influential in setting national standards for handling this illness."

From left: Harvey Fineberg (president, IOM) and Hortensia Amaro (chair, Sarnat Prize selection committee). Image courtesy of IOM

The IOM particularly cites Carpenter's efforts to expand the schizophrenia research field's focus from only psychosis, moving it toward more recognition of the debilitating effects of negative symptoms. He has also forged the path to informed consent in schizophrenia research and generated guidelines for the safe and ethical research of patients with the illness. More recently, Carpenter has been heavily involved in shaping the future of psychiatry as chair of the Psychotic Disorders Workgroup of DSM-5 (see SRF related conference story). He has also been a major contributor to SRF as both a member of the founding Scientific Advisory Board and an author of over 60 comments.

Carpenter earned his medical degree from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Prior to joining the University of Maryland faculty, he held academic appointments at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He has published over 400 papers, served as director of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center from 1977 until earlier this year, and is currently the editor-in-chief of Schizophrenia Bulletin. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1998.

Since 1992, the Sarnat Prize, which consists of a medal and $20,000, has been awarded annually to an individual, group, or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to improving mental health. Congratulations, Will!—Allison A. Curley.