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(PSYCHIATRIC TIMES) - For 30 years, Alan F. Schatzberg, M.D., chairperson of the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, has sought to identify and provide effective treatments for patients with major depression. His efforts have ranged from co-founding one of the first comprehensive treatment programs for affective disorders to investigating the efficacy of the abortifacient mifepristone (RU-486) as a potential lifesaver for patients suffering from psychotic major depression.

Schatzberg received his M.D. from New York University in 1968. Fortuitously, it was a time when psychiatry was burgeoning as a field and starting to incorporate biological and pharmacological approaches, he told Psychiatric Times.

"I just was fascinated by a field that could combine psychodynamic and psychosocial perspectives with pharmacological perspectives," Schatzberg said. "Also, the brain as an organ is incredibly complex and rich in terms of the kinds of functions it controls and the complexity of people's suffering."

Schatzberg was a psychiatry resident at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center from 1969 to 1972, becoming chief resident at the Southard Clinic in 1971. He also was a clinical fellow in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. For him, Massachusetts Mental Health Center "was one of the great places to train in the late 1960s and early '70s."

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