Kenneth Z. Altshuler

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Kenneth Z. Altshuler
File:Kenneth Z. Altshuler, MD.jpg
Born(1929-04-11)11 April 1929
Died6 January 2021(2021-01-06) (aged 91)
Known forPioneering in studying mentally ill patients with deafness and advancing mental health care in Dallas
Spouse(s)Ruth Sharp Altshuler
Scientific career
FieldsDeaf mental health care, Geriatric psychiatry, Psychoanalysis
InstitutionsColumbia University
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Kenneth Z. Altshuler (April 11, 1929 – January 6, 2021) was an American psychiatrist and psychoanalyst who was a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.[1]

Early life and education[edit | edit source]

Kenneth Altshuler was born on 11 April 1929 in Paterson, New Jersey to Jacob and Altie Altshuler.[2] He graduated from Cornell University (1948) and received his M.D. degree from the University at Buffalo, School of Medicine at age of 23 (1952).[1] He did an internship in Kings County Hospital Center. In 1953–1955, he served in the Navy leaving the service with the rank of Lt. (J.G.) in the Medical Corps.[2] After the military service, he underwent a specialty training in psychiatry and psychoanalysis at Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research.

Career[edit | edit source]

In 1973, Kenneth Altshuler joined the Columbia University faculty where he focused on the research of mental illnesses among deaf patients and in geriatric psychiatry. In 1973–1977, he was managing all undergraduate education in psychiatry at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York.[3] In 1977, he left Columbia University, moved to Texas, and became the chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.[2] He pioneered expanding the faculty from five to over one hundred full-time physicians and raising fifty-two million dollars in departmental endowments, including funds for ten chairs and two research centers.[3] He retired in 2019 and was appointed a Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry.[1]

He has served as a director of the National Board of Medical Examiners, as a president of the American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry in 1990–1991, as a board member and later, in 1996, a president of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.[2] In 1999, he has been appointed to the board of the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, by then-Governor George W. Bush, and served for five years.[3] He has also served on the boards and advisory boards of the local psychiatric and charity organizations.[4]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

He had three children from his first marriage, Steven L. Altshuler, Lori L. Altshuler and Dara Altshuler, and six grandchildren.[2] In 1987, he married Ruth Collins Sharp, an American philanthropist.[5] He and his late wife were known for their civic engagement in Dallas and philanthropic activities in North Texas, including to UT Southwestern.[2] After his wife died in 2017, he established a fund at UT Southwestern, the Ruth & Ken Altshuler Fund for Clinical Psychiatry and the Kenneth Z. Altshuler Fund for Psychiatric Education, to support clinical research and education programs related to mental illness.[6][7]

Kenneth Altshuler died of COVID-19 complications on 6 January 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Texas.[6]

Awards and honors[edit | edit source]

  • Merit Award of the National Psychological Association for Psychoanalysis
  • Honorary Doctorate of Science from the Gallaudet College for the Deaf
  • Certificate of Special Achievement by the American Psychiatric Association for contribution to the program for the deaf in New York
  • Certificate of Special Recognition by the American Psychiatric Association for contribution to the Community Mental Health program in Dallas
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award of the University of Buffalo School of Medicine
  • Trail Blazer Award by the Dallas Community Mental Health Center
  • Wilson Award in Geriatric Psychiatry
  • Psychiatric Excellence Award from the Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians
  • Texas Star Award from the Texas Mental Health Association
  • Outstanding Psychiatric Award from the North Texas Society of Psychiatric Physicians
  • Prism Award from the Dallas Mental Health Association
  • The Psychiatric Out-Patient Clinic of Dallas Community Mental Health Center is named in his honor
  • The Psychiatric Unit of Zale Lipshy Pavilion is named in his honor
  • The Callier Center for Communication Disorders at University of Texas at Dallas established an annual award bearing his name – the Ruth and Ken Altshuler Callier Care Award
  • The Metrocare Services established a research center bearing his name – the Altshuler Center for Education and Research
  • Dallas County Mental Health and Mental Retardation renamed one of its clinics in his honor – the Kenneth Z. Altshuler Mental Health Clinic

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Altshuler appointed Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry after four decades at UTSW - CT Plus - UT Southwestern". www.utsouthwestern.edu.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 "Kenneth Altshuler, M.D., who led UT Southwestern department of psychiatry for 23 years, dies at 91". www.utsouthwestern.edu.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "KENNETH ALTSHULER Obituary (1929 - 2021) - New York Times". www.legacy.com.
  4. "A Passing: Dr. Ken Altshuler". My Sweet Charity. 15 January 2021.
  5. "Explore the Collection of Dallas Philanthropist Ruth Sharp Altshuler". Sotheby's.
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Dr. Kenneth Altshuler, champion of mental health causes in Dallas, dies at 91". Dallas News. 20 January 2021.
  7. "Ruth Altshuler". Southwestern Medical Foundation. 15 December 2017.