The+Massachusetts+Mental+Health+Center_Tsuang+AJP+1997

The+Massachusetts+Mental+Health+Center_Tsuang+AJP+1997 -...

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Images in Psychiatry The Massachusetts Mental Health Center T he Massachusetts Mental Health Center, formerly the Boston Psychopathic Hospital, opened its doors on June 24, 1912, after 9 years of relentless effort by L. Vernon Briggs, a psychiatrist in the Mental Department of the Boston Dispensary. Briggs campaigned for an acute treatment center that would be closely tied to Harvard Medi- cal School so that patient care could benefit from research and teach- ing. Eventually, he convinced the state legislature to appropriate funds to purchase land on Fenwood Road and construct a building that was a “5-minute walk” from Harvard Medical School. From its inception, the institution was a hybrid of the Common- wealth of Massachusetts and Harvard. The first director, E.E. Sou- thard, was the state neuropathologist and Bullard Professor of Neuro- pathology at Harvard. He created an institution that was committed to research, training, and the rapid evaluation and treatment of pa- tients before their illnesses became entrenched. He stressed the impor-
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