Faculty Bulletin Board

Psychiatrist wins the American Public Health Association’s Carl Taube Award

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Dr. Kenneth Wells, David Weil Endowed Chair and professor in residence of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has received the Carl Taube Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Field of Mental Health from the American Public Health Association.

The award is named for the late Carl Arvid Taube, a former administrator with the National Institute of Mental Health. Created in 1990, the award recognizes Taube’s work in redesigning and using national reporting data to examine mental health service utilization and financing.

Taube was the head of the NIMH’s biometry division in 1980 when Wells began his career at both UCLA and Rand Corporation, where he is now a senior scientist. This was also right about when Wells’ first NIMH contract was funded, which was for the health component of the Rand Health Insurance Experiment. Taube would call Wells every six months or so, ostensibly to “get my advice” but clearly looking for a way to mentor him, Wells said.

“I thought it was a pretty clever way of mentoring and I’ve tried to follow that example of really reinforcing people’s own original thinking,” said Wells, who is also professor in residence of health policy and management at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Wells has led investigations into how variations in health services systems and financing affect clinical care, and on the use of community-partnered participatory research to address disparities in access to and outcomes of services for depression. Among other things, Wells directs the Health Services Research Center of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, which focuses on improving quality of care for psychiatric and neurological disorders across the lifespan. He is also the principal investigator of Community Partners in Care , a clinical trial examining community engagement to address depression versus the standard methods of addressing the illness, which was cited as a reason for the award.

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