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Greenfield Memorial Lecture: Progress in Suicide Prevention | Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD

September 12, 2019 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Progress in Suicide Prevention

5:30 – 7:00PM

Wisconsin Psychiatric Institute and Clinic
6001 Research Park Boulevard, Room 1616
* Light refreshments will be served *

Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD
Professor and Acting Chair
Department of Psychiatry
Associate Chair for Research
Director, Institute of Early Life Adversity Research
Dell Medical School, The University of Texas at Austin

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, the only one of the top ten that is increasing in number year after year. This year there will likely be 50,000 suicides in the United States (130 per day) and in addition approximately 20,000 of the 70,000 opiate overdose deaths each year are classified as suicides. It is the second leading cause of death in the 15-34 year age group. In spite of many public health and education efforts in the past decade, suicide rates have continued to climb. Research on risk factors for suicide have been informative.  Men are at significantly greater risk for suicide than women. In addition other risk factors that have been clearly documented are a past diagnosis of depression or related psychiatric disorders,  history of childhood maltreatment including bullying, family history of suicide (underlying the genetic component of risk), alcohol and substance abuse, as well as more recent life stressors such as loss of job, a recent serious medical diagnosis, imminent divorce and recent trauma. The reduction of available psychiatric inpatient beds is also associated with the year over year increase nationally. There is considerable evidence for an underlying neurobiological basis for suicidality including increased inflammation, decreased activity of serotonergic circuits in the brain and increase activity of the major mammalian stress system, the pituitary-adrenal axis. Certain medications including lithium and clozapine are known to reduce suicide as are  certain forms of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Finally providing obstacles to means of suicide has been shown to be effective in reducing suicide rates.


Charles B. Nemeroff, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Psychiatry and Acting Chair of the Department of Psychiatry. He is also Associate Chair of Research, and the Director of the Institute for of Early Life Adversity Research at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

He received his MD and PhD (Neurobiology) degrees from the University of North Carolina UNC) School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After psychiatry residency training at UNC and Duke University, he held faculty positions at Duke University and was Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University for 18 years before relocating to the University of Miami in 2009.

He has served as President of the American College of Psychiatrists (ACP) and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) and sits on the Scientific Advisory Board and Board of Directors of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

He has received a number of research and education awards including the Kempf Award in Psychobiology, the Samuel Hibbs Award, Research Mentoring Award,Judson Marmot Award and the Vestermark Award from the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the Mood Disorders Award, Bowis Award and Dean Award from the ACP and the Julius Axelrod Award for mentoring from the ACNP. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine (now the National Academy of Medicine) of the National Academy of Sciences in 2002.

He has been named Alumnus of the Year from the University of North Carolina (UNC) and from the UNC Medical School. He received the Doctorate Honoris Causa from Maimonides University in Buenos Aires in 2015.

His research has focused on the pathophysiology of mood and anxiety disorders with a focus on the role of child abuse and neglect as a major risk factor. He has also focused on the role of mood disorders as a risk factor for major medical disorders including heart disease, diabetes and cancer. He has published more than 1100 research reports and reviews.

He has served on the Mental Health Advisory Council of NIMH and the Biomedical Research Council for NASA. He is the co-editor in chief (with Alan F. Schatzberg, MD.) of the Textbook of Psychopharmacology, published by the APA Press, now in its Fifth Edition.

His research is currently supported by grants from the NIH.

Additional Talk: 
Friday, Sept 13 – 12:00pm | WisPIC Commons Room
Psychiatry Grand Rounds

Prediction of Disease Vulnerability and Treatment Response in Mood Disorders and PTSD: Personalized Medicine in Psychiatry


Reading List: 
1. The Holy Grail of Psychiatry (2015) 81-89
2. Understanding Depression – Contemporary Issues (2017) 21, 245-261
3. Psychosomatic Medicine (2014) 76, 445-451


September 12, 2019
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Amber Sebastian