2016 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health Lauds Global Advocates for the Poor and Elderly Living with Psychiatric Illness

Posted: October 24, 2016

Vikram Patel, Ph.D., F.Med.Sci., for Advancing Mental Health Care in the Developing World

Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D., for Breakthroughs in the Prevention and

Treatment of Depression

Senator Edward M. Kennedy Honorary Tribute for Legacy of Mental Health Advocacy

NEW YORK (October 24, 2016) -- The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation today announced the winners of the 2016 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health: Vikram Patel, Ph.D., F.Med.Sci., for transformative work in advancing mental health care in resource-poor countries, Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D., for pioneering work in geriatric psychiatry and the prevention and treatment of late-life depression, and an Honorary Tribute to the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy for his powerful and unwavering commitment to advocating on behalf of people with mental illness. The 2016 Pardes Humanitarian Prize, which carries an honorarium of $300,000, will be presented on Friday, October 28, in New York City

The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is awarded annually to recognize individuals whose contributions have made a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people suffering from mental illness. It focuses public attention on the burden mental illness places on individuals and society, and the urgent need to expand mental health services globally. Established in 2014, The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is named in honor of Herbert Pardes, M.D., a noted psychiatrist, outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, and the award’s first recipient.

 “The 2016 Pardes Prize recipients have applied their scientific knowledge, deep understanding of human behavior and compassion to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from mental illness, especially those living in poverty,” stated Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “Their work has expanded our scope of mental illness treatment around the world. They have taught us about the needs of our diverse human family and how to use knowledge for the greater good of humanity.”

Dr. Pardes added, “Dr. Patel and Dr. Reynolds exemplify what it means to be a humanitarian.  Dr. Patel’s mission is to bring desperately needed psychiatric care to people living in countries where access to these services is limited or non-existent. Dr. Reynolds is a pioneer in geriatric psychiatry whose mission is to help the elderly lead full and productive lives in their later years.   We honor them both for their outstanding commitment to alleviating the pain and suffering of mental illness.”

2016 Pardes Prize Recipient Vikram Patel, Ph.D., F.Med.Sci.

Recognized by Time magazine in 2015 as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world, Dr. Patel addresses the stunning void of mental health care in developing countries and the grave shortage of psychologists and psychiatrists. He has been a vocal advocate for the development of mental health services in these countries and promotes practical solutions to improving mental health care by teaching ordinary people to deliver front-line mental health care to address the unmet need for care for people with mental illnesses. His 2003 manual, “Where There Is No Psychiatrist,” has been translated into a dozen languages and used by community healthcare workers worldwide.

Dr. Patel is the co-founder of Sangath, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Goa, India, which won the 2008 MacArthur Foundation’s International Prize for Creative and Effective Institutions. Sangath is a pioneer in training lay people to deliver healthcare treatments and interventions to their communities.

In 2014, Dr. Patel was awarded The National Academy of Medicine’s Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health for his central role in improving care for those with mental disorders in resource-poor countries and for research that revealed the strong link between mental disorders and poverty. In 2015, he was awarded the Wellcome Trust’s Principal Research Fellowship and in 2016, he was awarded an OBE by the UK government.

Dr. Patel’s research and writing have galvanized policymakers and donors to address the large unmet need for mental health care in developing countries and promoted practical tools to improve care in areas where mental health specialists are lacking. 

2016 Pardes Prize Recipient Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D.

Dr. Reynolds and his colleagues have made groundbreaking contributions to the prevention and treatment of depression in older adults. Depression has been identified by the World Health Organization as a leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the global burden of disease across the life cycle.  

Dr. Reynolds helped to define a new global health priority as depression prevention in older adults, now recognized as a feasible public health goal. He and his colleagues have also demonstrated that depression treatment reduces both suicidal risk and cancer-related mortality risk in elderly medical patients, and his work has informed long-term treatment strategies to prevent recurrence and to delay dementia in depression with mild cognitive impairment.

Dr. Reynolds leads an NIMH study with the Goa Medical College/India and with Sangath to develop and test a scalable model of depression prevention. Building upon the contribution of Pardes Prize co-recipient Dr. Vikram Patel, this work uses lay health counselors for early intervention in mildly symptomatic older adults, thereby optimizing scarce mental health resources to prevent depression onset. The NIMH-sponsored center in late life mood disorders, which Dr. Reynolds directs at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, has mentored 25 research-career development (NIH K) awardees since 1995.

In addition to co-founding the Global Consortium on Depression Prevention and editing the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Dr. Reynolds has served as president of the American College of Psychiatrists, the International College for Geriatric Psychoneuropharmacology, the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. He has received the APA Weinberg Award for lifetime contributions in geriatric psychiatry, the American College of Psychiatrists’ research award in geriatrics, the International Psychogeriatric Association lifetime service award, and the Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

Quote from Vikram Patel, Ph.D., F.Med.Sci.

Dr. Vikram Patel said, “I am honored and humbled to receive the Pardes Humanitarian Prize.  Mental illness is a global issue affecting millions, the majority of whom live in the developing world and who have limited access to appropriate mental health care and often live terrible lives on the margins of their communities. I accept this Prize on behalf of them and pledge to redouble my efforts to address the burden of mental health problems globally, and especially amongst those who are socially disadvantaged or living in low resource settings.”

Quote from Charles F. Reynolds, III, M.D.

Dr. Charles F. Reynolds, III, said, “It is a privilege and an honor to be a recipient of the Pardes Humanitarian Prize. In our youth-focused culture, the elderly and their struggles with mental illness are often overlooked and neglected. Late-life depression is a global health priority that has immense impact on older individuals and their families. It is my sincere hope that as a society we can work to restore the joy of living to older adults affected by mental illness.”

About the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation is committed to alleviating the suffering of mental illness by awarding grants that will lead to advances and breakthroughs in scientific research. The Foundation funds the most innovative ideas in neuroscience and psychiatry to better understand the causes and develop new ways to treat brain and behavior disorders. These disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $360 million to fund more than 5,000 grants to more than 4,000 leading scientists around the world. This has led to over $3.5 billion in additional funding for these scientists. The Foundation is also dedicated to educating the public about mental health and the importance of research including the impact that new discoveries have on improving the lives of those with mental illness, which will ultimately enable people to live full, happy and productive lives.

For more information about the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, please visit www.bbrfoundation.org. Follow the Brain & Behavioral Research Foundation on Facebook and Twitter @bbrfoundation.


Myrna Manners, Manners Dotson Group

718-986-7255, mmanners@mannersdotson.com