Two Women Professors Share the Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health

Elyn Saks, director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy and Ethics and a professor of law at the University of Southern California, and Kay Redfield Jamison, a clinical psychologist, writer, and professor at Johns Hopkins University are sharing the Pardes Humanitarian Prize from the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation. The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health, which carries an honorarium of $150,000, is awarded annually to recognize individuals whose contributions have made a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people who are living with mental illness.

Dr. Saks was honored for her pioneering work as both a therapist and legal advocate for the mentally ill while living with schizophrenia. She is the author of the best-selling book, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hachette Books, 2007), in which she provides a first-person account of her transition into psychosis and a lifetime spent as a person living with schizophrenia. Professor Saks is a graduate of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. She earned a master’s degree in literature at Oxford University in England and a Ph.D. at the New Center for Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles.

Professor Jamison was recognized for her profound contribution to mental health awareness as an advocate drawing on her own struggles with bipolar disorder. She has made a profound contribution to mental health awareness through her autobiography, An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Mood and Madness (Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), detailing her own struggles. Dr. Jamison holds a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D., all from the University of California, Los Angeles.

“The 2021 Pardes Prize recipients have applied their scientific knowledge, deep understanding of human behavior and compassion for people to improve the lives of millions suffering from mental illness,” said Herbert Pardes, president of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation’s Scientific Council and executive vice chair of the board of trustees at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. “We applaud their important work.”

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