Tamminga becomes chair of psychiatry department

By LaKisha Ladson/September 2010

Dr. Carol Tamminga, a nationally recognized translational clinical neuroscientist with a research focus on the pathophysiology of schizophrenia, has been named chair of psychiatry at UT Southwestern.

Dr. Carol Tamminga

Dr. Greg Fitz, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, and dean of UT Southwestern Medical School, said that he was confident the department would prosper under her leadership.

“She will bring her considerable scholarship, experience and accolades to her new role at a critical time, since we are seeking to integrate basic, translational and clinical neurosciences as a centerpiece of our continued academic growth,” he said. “She has the skills, both personal and professional, to be an outstanding leader of the department and the school.”

Dr. Tamminga was recruited to UT Southwestern in 2003 and has served as interim chair of the department since 2008.

“At the present time, psychiatry needs to define the mechanism of its illnesses,” she said.

“The potential for doing this in the Department of Psychiatry, in the context of the
UT Southwestern medical community, is better than anywhere in the country due to decades’ worth of investment in basic and applied research.”

Dr. Tamminga’s career includes election to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in 1998; membership on the boards of scientific counselors of both the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse; co-chair of NIMH’s Blue Ribbon panel; and service as deputy editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Her past academic appointments include time at the University of Maryland; the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and NIMH.

She also serves on the scientific councils of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and NARSAD. She is a co-founder and organizer of the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research.

Dr. Tamminga said her goal for the psychiatry department will be to stimulate multidisciplinary, disease-focused programs to address questions of psychiatric disease mechanism and treatments. The department can draw from its approximately 200 faculty who conduct research, treat patients and educate students on adult and pediatric brain disease.

“The diversity of faculty within psychiatry creates rich talent. We can ask and answer questions of importance to brain function and its dysfunction in psychiatric conditions, and we can provide optimal care to diverse patient populations and educate the next generation of scientists and doctors,” Dr. Tamminga said.

Dr. Tamminga earned her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and completed her residency in psychiatry at the University of Chicago, where she was chief resident and a research fellow.

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Dr. Fitz holds the Nadine and Tom Craddick Distinguished Chair in Medical Science and the Atticus James Gill, M.D., Chair in Medical Science.

Dr. Tamminga holds the Lou and Ellen McGinley Distinguished Chair in Psychiatric Research, the McKenzie Foundation Chair in Psychiatry I and the Communities Foundation of Texas [Inc.] Chair in Brain Science.