Highest psychiatry association award presented to Dr. Jack McDermott

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Tina Shelton, (808) 692-0897
Director of Communications, Office of Dean of Medicine
Posted: Jun 4, 2013

Drs. Jack McDermott and Naleen Andrade
Drs. Jack McDermott and Naleen Andrade

The American Psychiatric Association presented The Alice Purcell McGavin Award to Jack McDermott, MD, at its annual meeting in San Francisco on May 18, 2013.  The APA's highest award recognized McDermott’s distinguished career in child and adolescent psychiatry.

McDermott is Emeritus Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Hawai`i’s John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). He is publisher of several textbooks in the field and the former editor-in-chief of psychiatry’s main scientific journal in child and adolescent psychiatry.

He is also recognized by his peers for having made singular contributions to advance the health–particularly the mental health–of Hawai`i’s people and to promote the recruitment of Native Hawaiians in the field of academic medicine.

His first office at UH was within an unused x-ray room at Leahi Hospital, the original home of JABSOM. He used a pay phone out in the hallway to make business calls.  During those early years, McDermott wrote federal “seed grants” to establish medical schools and recalled that he made an unforgettable impression on the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), because “I had to call him collect since we didn’t have a phone budget.”

In the following decade, McDermott was awarded a series of grants from NIMH that provided funding to establish a General Psychiatry Residency Program, followed by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Residency Fellowship, and then a Geriatric Psychiatry Residency Fellowship.

During his 25 years leading JABSOM’s Psychiatry Department, McDermott recruited, trained and mentored a cadre of Native Hawaiians who became the first Native Hawaiian psychiatrists in their specialty and subspecialty areas. Among them are Drs. Benjamin Young (first Native Hawaiian general psychiatrist, former JABSOM Associate Dean and UH Vice President of Student Affairs), Kuhio Asam (first Hawaiian child and adolescent psychiatrist and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the UH Foundation), Naleen Andrade (first Hawaiian woman psychiatrist), and Linda Nāhulu and Noelle Yuen (the first Native Hawaiian women child and adolescent psychiatrists).

In 1995, Andrade succeeded McDermott as Chair of Psychiatry. Last year, Andrade was appointed to oversee the school’s 17 residency and fellowship programs.  At Psychiatry, Andrade was succeeded by Dr. Anthony Paul Sison Guerrero, who is the first Filipino-American to serve as an interim chair of psychiatry of an American medical school.

Andrade, herself a national figure in American Academic Psychiatry and former Chair of The Queen’s Health System Board of Trustees, says of McDermott, “Jack is the great mentor in my life. He supported my commitment to advancing Native Hawaiian health, mental health research and native self-determination, even when I was a Hawaiian political activist for Native Hawaiian sovereignty.  He never imposed his ideas on me.  Instead, he became a sounding board to help me sharpen my own ideas.”

In addition to receiving psychiatry’s highest awards, McDermott (along with Andrade) published People and Cultures of Hawai‘i: The Evolution of Culture and Ethnicity, wich tracks the development of 15 ethnic groups who have blended into Hawai`i’s culturally sensitive society.

Photographs of varying sizes may be downloaded directly from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/uhmed/sets/72157633838787765/

For more information, visit: http://jabsom.hawaii.edu