Beatrix A. Hamburg, M.D. and David A. Hamburg, M.D. Awarded 2015 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health for Pioneering Work

Posted: October 23, 2015

Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s 28th Annual National Award Dinner Also Pays Tribute to Rosalynn Carter for Mental Health Advocacy

NEW YORK CITY (October 23, 2015) -- The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation will honor Beatrix (Betty) A. Hamburg, M.D. and David A. Hamburg, M.D. with The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health for over six decades of pioneering work in mental health. This international Prize is given in recognition of individuals whose extraordinary contribution has made a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people suffering from mental illness. It will be presented by Herbert Pardes, M.D., President of the Foundation’s Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, at this evening’s 28th Annual National Awards Dinner. The event will also honor former First Lady Rosalynn Carter with an Honorary Tribute for her tireless work in mental health advocacy.

                The $300,000 annual prize 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 was named in honor of Dr. Herbert Pardes, a noted psychiatrist, outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, and the award’s first recipient.

The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation raises funds to invest in cutting-edge research to understand, treat, and, ultimately, prevent and cure mental illness. Since 1987, it has awarded over $340 million in NARSAD Research Grants to more than 4,000 scientists around the world. Funded through private contributions, the Foundation invests 100 percent of donor contributions directly into its NARSAD Grants.

                “It is a great honor to present The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health to Drs. David and Betty Hamburg, who have blended their scientific knowledge, understanding of human behavior and profound compassion into a unique, humanistic vision,” says Dr. Pardes. “Their work has transformed our view of mental illness and minimized its stigma. They have taught us about the interconnections of all humans, the importance of hope and compassion, and using our knowledge toward the greater good for all humanity.”

                “We are deeply honored to receive the Pardes Humanitarian Prize from our dear friend and colleague Herb Pardes,” said Dr. David Hamburg. “It is especially meaningful for Betty and I to share this award for our work together, a lifelong effort to understand how human beings cope during the most difficult circumstances. This work has ever greater urgency in today’s world of strife and conflict.”

The Hamburg’s started their careers jointly studying human coping processes under severe stress--from physical stress to mental illness, severe depression, poverty and war--after meeting at the Yale School of Medicine in 1948 where Betty Hamburg became its first African-American graduate.

David Hamburg set up the first Mental Health Clinical Research Center at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and initiated a line of research on the role of stress biology in severe mood disorders, an area that continues to be a major focus of research to date. As Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Stanford University, he created a visionary, highly multidisciplinary department that became a prototype for others across the nation. The kidnapping of four Stanford students in rural Congo brought him to the international scene and showcased his unique skills in negotiating complex situations in conflict.

His focus shifted to health and science policy as he became the President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), followed by a stint at Harvard University as Director of the Division of Health Policy Research and Education, and then almost 20 years as President of the Carnegie Corporation. More recently, he chaired commissions for both the United Nations and the European Union, and received the United States’ highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He has authored many books, including Preventing Genocide: Practical Steps Toward Early Detection and Effective Action.

As a clinician, researcher, and leader, Betty Hamburg advanced the field of adolescent psychiatry--at a time when children’s mental health was profoundly neglected--through her groundbreaking work on peer counseling, the health and mental health status of minority populations, the critical role of early development in physical and mental health, her recognition of  early adolescence as a distinctive and critical developmental period, and her clinical research on school-based programs for conflict resolution and violence prevention.

As head of child psychiatry at Stanford, she developed the concept of peer counseling, a then novel approach to treatment still being used today, and continued her work at Mt Sinai and Cornell University. She also played an important role in influencing public policy as President of the William T Grant Foundation, a member of the President’s Commission on Mental Health under President Carter, a member of the IOM, and as co-author, with her husband, of Learning to Live Together, teaching children not to hate.

# # #

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 $340 million to fund more than 5,000 grants to more than 4,000 leading scientists around the world. This has led to over $3 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, visit