William R. Beardslee, M.D.
Dr. William Beardslee directs the Preventive Intervention Project at Judge Baker Children's Center and also the Prevention of Depression Study. He has served as the Academic Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Children's Hospital Boston and is the Gardner-Monks Professor of Child Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. In 1998, Dr. Beardslee was appointed to the faculty at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Dr. Beardslee's long-standing research interest has centered on the development of children who are at risk due to severe parental mental illness and focuses on the ways in which self-understanding helps individuals cope with adversity. His early work describes civil rights workers and how they were able to endure and indeed significantly change the South. He studied resilience in survivors of cancer and in children of depressed parents that led to the development of effective public health interventions for families facing depression, and a ten year randomized trial examination of the two strategies which showed that they were safe and led to lasting gains. This approach has since received high ratings in the National Registry of Effective Programs and is being disseminated widely in Finland, Norway, Costa Rica, and in programs in this country. Dr. Beardslee is currently directing a long-range study at Judge Baker funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) that explores the effects of clinician-facilitated, family-based preventive intervention. This research is designed to gauge the impact of direct intervention and measure its ability to enhance resilience and family understanding for children of parents with affective disorder. In June 2002, Dr. Beardslee published a book for families and lay caregivers about the process of dealing with depression: Out of the Darkened Room: Protecting the Children and Strengthening the Family When a Parent Is Depressed (Little, Brown and Company).
Dr. Beardslee has received an honorary doctor of science degree from Emory University and the Community, Culture, and Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research. He received the Blanche F. Ittleson Award of the American Psychiatric Association for outstanding published research contributing to the mental health of children. He also is the recipient of the Irving Philips Award for Prevention from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for Prevention from the American Psychiatric Association, the Outstanding Mentor Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Human Rights Award from the Department of Mental Health of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Dr. Beardslee is on the Board of the Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Task Force, Mental Health American, and Families for Depression Awareness. He serves on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders, Early Education and Prevention, and on the Board of Children, Youth and Families of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Beardslee received his B.A. from Haverford College and his M.D. from Case Western Reserve University. His postdoctoral training took place at Moffett Hospital/University of California Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute.
Dr. Beardslee's Research Projects: