Nationally known mood disorders expert appointed chair of psychiatry

November 23, 2010

Alan J. Gelenberg, a nationally known expert in the field of depression, has accepted the position of chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine, effective Nov. 15. Gelenberg has served as professor and interim department chair since January.

“Dr. Gelenberg has gained the complete respect and confidence of his Penn State colleagues in just a short time, and the department’s clinical and educational programs have made significant progress under his leadership,” said Harold L. Paz, Medical Center chief executive officer, senior vice president for health affairs for Penn State, and dean, College of Medicine. “His accomplishments as a physician, an experienced administrator, and a leader in the field of psychiatry have made him a tremendous asset to the College, the Medical Center, and Penn State.”

In his role as chair, Gelenberg also oversees the inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care providers at the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute (PPI), a joint venture started in 2008 between the Medical Center and Pinnacle Health. PPI operates a 74-bed inpatient facility in Harrisburg and four outpatient clinics in Harrisburg and Hershey.

“I am excited that Dr. Gelenberg has accepted the role as permanent chair of the Department of Psychiatry and look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship,” said Nancy Purtell, PPI chief executive officer. “His expertise and physician leadership has been integral to the progress we have made as an organization since his arrival earlier this year.”

Before joining the Medical Center, Gelenberg was a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of Wisconsin, as well as president and CEO of Healthcare Technology Systems. Prior to that, he was professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona for 18 years. Gelenberg previously served on the faculty at Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital for 19 years and also held a faculty appointment at M.I.T.

Gelenberg chaired the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) workgroup on Treatment Guidelines for Major Depressive Disorder, worked with a joint APA/AMA taskforce on similar guidelines for primary care, and currently is on a committee advising the U.S. Centers for Disease Control on depression. He helped develop the ASEX scale to track sexual side effects of antidepressants. In addition, Gelenberg has served on several committees of the National Institute of Mental Health and is a distinguished life fellow of the APA, former chair of its Committee on Research on Psychiatric Treatments, past president of the West Coast College of Biological Psychiatry, and a fellow of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology, the Professional Advisory Council of the Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome Information Service, and the Scientific Advisory Board of the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.

A native of Philadelphia, Gelenberg received a bachelor's degree from Columbia University and a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Pennsylvania. After an internship in internal medicine, he completed his residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. Since 1987, he has served as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and has authored more than 200 scientific articles, editorials, and book chapters, including manuscripts in the Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, and Journal of the American Medical Association. Listed in The Best Doctors in America and America’s Top Doctors, he received the 1997 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award of the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 09, 2015