Duke Clinic

About (Education)

The Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences is one of twenty-two departments in the Duke University School of Medicine.  With a four-fold mission of excellence in clinical care, research, education, and population health, the Department consists of a balanced structure of both clinical and research focused faculty, allowing us to fulfill all four of our missions. 


About the Chair

The Department is led by Interim Chair, Richard Weiner, MD, PhD.  Weiner earned his MD and PhD through the Medical Scientist Training Program at Duke University School of Medicine and completed his psychiatry residency training at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill before returning to Duke.

Prior to accepting the position as Interim Chair, Weiner served as Chief of the Mental Health Service Line at the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center for over two decades and was Medical Director for the nationally prominent Duke Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) Program.  A scientific leader in ECT, Weiner has authored over 150 publications in the area of neuromodulation and been instrumental in the research and development of newer, safe and effective procedures for the application of ECT in patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Although he is known most for his work in neuromodulation, he is a firm believer in a broad perspective in the assessment and treatment of individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders, with a focus on implementing customized treatment plans that focus on the psychodynamic, relationship and environmental factors in a diagnosis.


History of the Department

In response to a growing number of psychiatric illness cases, the Duke University School of Medicine founded the Department of Neuropsychiatry.  Over the years, the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences has increased in depth and breadth over all of its three missions in clinical care, research, and education.  

The Department first achieved national prominence in the mid-1950’s under the leadership of chairman Ewald Busse, MD, (1953-1974).  A past president of the American Psychiatric Association, Busse is considered by many to be the founder of geriatric psychiatry.

The next chairperson, Dr. H. Keith Brodie (1974-1982), also became president of the APA, and later, Chancellor and President of the university. His successor, Dr. Barney Carroll (1983-1990), is a major contributor to our understanding of the neuroendocrinology of mood disorders.

Dr. Dan Blazer (1990-1992) served as interim chairperson and then Dean of Medical Education at Duke. He is renowned for his research in psychiatric epidemiology and geriatric psychiatry. He returned to the Department of Psychiatry as Vice Chair for Education in 2011. (Click here to view video of Dr. Blazer's presentation, History of Duke Psychiatry, 1940-2012.  Note that Duke NetID or a guest ID are required.)

Dr. Allen Frances (1992-1998) successfully steered the department through years of change stimulated by managed care pressures on academic health centers and is perhaps best known for his work in constructing the DSM-IV and a number of groundbreaking practice guidelines in psychiatry.

Dr. Ranga Krishnan (1998-2009), combined his prodigious talents as a research clinician with his complete dedication to continuing the tradition of excellence of the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Krishnan has been a clinician, investigator and teacher at the Medical Center for many years, and is a strong supporter of the Department's many educational programs. In the residency program, he served as an active mentor, lecturer and consultant. Currently Dr. Krishnan is serving as Dean of the Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School in Singapore.

Dr. Marvin Swartz (2009-2010) served as Interim Chair in anticipation of our next permanent chair. Dr. Swartz is a distinguished social psychiatrist and has worked diligently to build up our clinical resources. He is a popular teacher and mentor for residents.

Sarah Hollingsworth “Holly” Lisanby, MD, an internationally recognized leader in the field of brain stimulation, was named Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of MedicineOctober 1, 2010. Before coming to Duke, Lisanby was Chief of the Brain Stimulation and Therapeutic Modulation Division at Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Columbia University.  She stepped down from her role as Chair on October 1, 2015, to accept the position of Director of Translational Research at the National Institutes for Mental Health.

Dr. Richard Weiner, the director of the well-known Duke ECT service and a nearly 4-decade Director of the Durham VA Medical Center's Mental Health Service Line, is serving in the role of Interim Chair as of October 1, 2015.