Constance E. Lieber Receives 2017 Honorary Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health for Extraordinary Advocacy and Support of Psychiatric Research
NEW YORK (Sept. 13, 2017) – Constance E. Lieber, who transformed her family’s experience with mental illness into a lifetime of support for psychiatric research into schizophrenia, depression and other mental illnesses, is the recipient of the 2017 Honorary Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health. The honorary prize was announced today by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and will be presented posthumously at a ceremony in New York City on Friday, October 27.
It was over 30 years ago at a symposium at Columbia University when Dr. Herbert Pardes first met Connie Lieber and her husband Stephen Lieber. They spoke with him about supporting mental health programs and research on mental illness. That conversation has led to over $379 million in grants from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation to over 4,000 of the most innovative scientists around the world.
Mrs. Lieber served as President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, formerly known as the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD) from 1989 to 2007. She then continued to provide leadership as President-Emerita until 2016. Under her leadership, the Foundation became a major global institution in mental health and psychiatric research. She and her husband transformed the private sector support for psychiatric research by awarding grants to scientists from a broad variety of disciplines – including biochemistry, pharmacology, genetics, psychology, and psychiatry.
Dr. Herbert Pardes, President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital said, “Connie Lieber was a global champion for mental health and an extraordinary humanitarian. Not only did she work tirelessly to support scientists in the field, but guided by her own personal experience and compassion, she informally advised thousands of parents who were desperately seeking help for their children.”
He added, “Mrs. Lieber’s hope was to alleviate suffering by finding cures for mental illnesses and banishing the stigma that for too long has been associated with psychiatric disorders. Her work continues. We are dedicated to making her dreams a reality.”
Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation said, “Connie Lieber has left us an outstanding legacy of generosity, brilliance and compassion. She was our leader and guiding light, providing inspiration and motivation to all who ever had the honor and privilege of knowing and working with her.”
Married for over 65 years, Connie and Steve Lieber were dedicated partners, leading the way in public advocacy and philanthropic support of psychiatric research. At Columbia University, they founded two centers of excellence – the Lieber Recovery and Rehabilitation Clinic and the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research and Treatment. At Williams College, they were the founders of the undergraduate neuroscience program. In 2011, they created the Lieber Institute for Brain Development, affiliated with Johns Hopkins University. Mrs. Lieber passed away in 2016. Steve Lieber is currently the Chairman of the Board of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation.