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Institute of Medicine Honors University of Maryland School of Medicine Professor of Psychiatry & Pharmacology with International Prize in Mental Health

Thursday, December 19, 2013

William T. Carpenter, M.D.
 William T. Carpenter, M.D.

William T. Carpenter, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has been awarded the Institute of Medicine’s 2013 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health for achievements in broadening the understanding of schizophrenia, as well as for his research on ethics and informed consent in studying schizophrenia. The Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat Prize was presented to Dr. Carpenter at the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) annual meeting in Washington, DC, during which Dr. Carpenter received the award’s medal and $20,000.


The IOM’s Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health has been presented annually since its inception in 1992 out of a commitment by Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat to improve the science base and delivery of mental health services. This international award recognizes individuals, groups, or organizations for outstanding achievement in improving mental health based on selection criteria that reflect the ideals of Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat.


Dr. Carpenter was honored for his research into schizophrenia that has helped uncover its symptoms, courses, and causes and shaped the prevention and treatment of the illness. In the 1970s, he challenged the understanding of schizophrenia, which focused on “positive” symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions, and shifted the disease paradigm to emphasize “negative” symptoms, such as inexpressive faces, monotone speech, and impaired social behavior.  This work spurred an initiative at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) that urged more focus on negative symptoms and cognitive deficits for therapeutic intervention.  The domains for the disease that are specified in Section 3 of the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are based on this paradigm shift and on domains Dr. Carpenter previously identified.


Regarding his work, Dr. Carpenter stated "it is necessary to view schizophrenia as a clinical syndrome rather than a single disease entity.  The implication for clinical care and for research is respect for individual differences and a focus on domains of pathology within the syndrome."


As the former director of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (MPRC), Dr. Carpenter helped to make the center a world leader in its field. An internationally renowned expert in the field of schizophrenia research and other forms of psychosis, Dr. Carpenter has led a long and distinguished career as a senior scientist and scholar conducting pioneering research. He is also responsible for transforming the MPRC into one of the nation’s leading clinical research centers for cutting edge research and clinical care for schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. 


Dr. Carpenter has served on many distinguished committees and advisory panels. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Schizophrenia Bulletin. He also serves on a number of editorial boards including the Archives of General Psychiatry. He was President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2007. He also is Chair of the Psychosis Work Group of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5) Task Force. Dr. Carpenter has published more than 400 clinical and scientific articles, book chapters and books. 


Dr. Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree from Wofford College and his medical degree from Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Dr. Carpenter continued his training as a medical intern at North Carolina Baptist Hospital from 1962 to 1963. He completed further post-graduate training in psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Strong Memorial Hospital in 1966. He continued his studies at the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute from 1967 to 1975. His early career spanned schizophrenia research leadership roles at the National Institute of Mental Health, the World Health Organization, Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York State Psychiatric Institute. In 1977, he joined the University of Maryland School of Medicine as Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the MPRC. He served as Vice Chairman for Research in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine from 1986 to 1993. In 1987, he also became a Professor of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine.


“We are honored to have one of the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s outstanding professors recognized by the Institute of Medicine,” says E. Albert. Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., Vice President for Medical Affairs at the University of Maryland and John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Through Dr. Carpenter’s pursuit of both knowledge about and a deeper understanding of schizophrenia, the field of psychiatry has benefited significantly from his research and he has helped alter the national standards amongst his colleagues in treating this illness. Dr. Carpenter has been a wonderful asset to the School of Medicine, and I am delighted to see him recognized for this distinguished award.” 

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