The Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health

The Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health is presented annually by the National Academy of Medicine. Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat established the award in 1992 out of a commitment to improving the science base and delivery of mental health services. This international award recognizes individuals, groups, or organizations for outstanding achievement in improving mental health and is accompanied by a medal and $20,000. Each year, a selection committee appointed by the NAM reviews nominations based on selection criteria that reflect the ideals of Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat. The 2019 Sarnat Prize will be presented during the NAM Annual Meeting on October 21, 2019.

Click here for selection criteria

Each year, a selection committee appointed by the National Academy of Medicine considers the following criteria when determining the winner of the Sarnat Prize. The Sarnat Prize is awarded to individuals, groups, or organizations that have demonstrated at least one of the following criteria:

  • contributions to improve understanding of, or treatment for, mental disorders (basic biomedical or clinical research);
  • innovations in mental health services (counseling, clinical care, prevention, amelioration of symptoms, or promotion of mental health); or
  • accomplishments in public policy or public leadership that enhance public understanding of mental disorders, foster advances in science, improve access to or delivery of mental health services, or otherwise promote mental health.

To encourage a broad range of candidates, there are no constraints on the education, profession, or specific discipline of individuals, groups, or organizations. The Sarnat Prize may honor public figures, policy leaders, field leaders, patient advocates, health care professionals, treatment innovators, translational scientists, basic scientists, applied scientists, or any other individuals, groups or organizations with distinguished accomplishments in the field of mental health, and will be made without regard to nationality. For the purposes of the Sarnat Prize, the field of mental health is defined broadly and includes, but is not limited to, the neurosciences, psychology, social work, public health, nursing, psychiatry, economics, law, and other disciplines, as well as perspectives from those in non-profit organizations and foundations, among others.

2018 Recipient

Kenneth B. Wells, M.D., MPH
Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine

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Past Recipients


Joseph T. Coyle, M.D.Eben S. Draper Professor of Psychiatry and NeuroscienceHarvard Medical School and McLean Hospital

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The team of Catherine Lord and Matthew State

Catherine Lord, Ph.D.Director, Center for Autism and the Developing BrainProfessor of Psychology in Psychiatry and PediatricsWeill Cornell Medicine

Matthew State, M.D., Ph.D.Oberndorf Family Distinguished ProfessorChair of PsychiatryMember, Weill Institute for NeurosciencesUniversity of California, San Francisco

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Steven E. Hyman, M.D.DirectorStanley Institute

Robin Murray, FRSProfessor of Psychiatric ResearchKing’s College London

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Kay Redfield Jamison, Ph.D.Dalio Family Professor in Mood DisordersProfessor of PsychiatryJohns Hopkins University School of MedicineCo-DirectorJohns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center

Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D.Rachel Brown Banks Distinguished Professor of PsychiatryDirector, Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

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2014Vikram Patel, FMedSciWellcome Trust Senior Research FellowLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical MedicinePublic Health Foundation of India

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2013William T. Carpenter, M.D.Professor of Psychiatry and PharmacologyUniversity of Maryland School of MedicineMaryland Psychiatric Research Center

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2012Huda Akil, Ph.D.Stanley J. Watson, M.D., Ph.D.Co-DirectorsMolecular and Behavioral Neuroscience InstituteUniversity of Michigan, Ann Arbor

2011William E. Bunney, M.D.Distinguished ProfessorDepartment of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorUniversity of California, Irvine, School of Medicine

Ellen Frank, Ph.D.Distinguished Professor of PsychiatryProfessor of PsychologyDepartment of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

2010 Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D.Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience and ChairDepartment of NeuroscienceDirector, Friedman Brain InstituteMount Sinai School of Medicine

Charles P. O’Brien, M.D., Ph.D.Kenneth Appel ProfessorVice Chair of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

2009David Mechanic, Ph.D.University Professor and René Dubos Professor of Behavioral SciencesDirector, Institute for Health, Health Care Policy, and Aging ResearchRutgers University

2008Paul R. McHugh, M.D.University Distinguished Service Professor of PsychiatryJohns Hopkins’ School of MedicineProfessor of Mental HealthJohns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

2007Beatrix Hamburg, M.D.David Hamburg, M.D.DeWitt Wallace Distinguished Scholars, Department of PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical College

2006 Jack D. Barchas, M.D.Chairman, Department of PsychiatryWeill Cornell Medical College

2005 Floyd E. Bloom, M.D.Chairman, CEO, and Chief Scientific OfficerNeurome, Inc.

2004 Albert J. Stunkard, M.D.Professor of Psychiatry EmeritusUniversity of Pennsylvania

2003 Aaron T. Beck, M.D.University Professor of PsychiatryUniversity of Pennsylvania

2002David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.Director, National Center for Primary CareMorehouse School of Medicine

2001 Michael L. Rutter, M.D.Professor of Developmental PsychopathologyMRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry CentreInstitute of PsychiatryKing’s College London

Solomon H. Snyder, M.D.Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology, and Psychiatry, Department of NeuroscienceJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine

2000Rosalynn CarterVice Chair, Board of TrusteesThe Carter Center

1999 Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D.Andrew H. Woods Chair of PsychiatryDirector, Mental Health Clinical Research CenterUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics

1998 David Kupfer, M.D.Professor and Chairman, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Pittsburgh School of MedicineDirector of Research, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of Pittsburgh Medical Center

1997 Herbert Pardes, M.D.Vice President for Health SciencesColumbia UniversityDean, Faculty of MedicineColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

1996 Leon Eisenberg, M.D.Professor of Social Medicine, Department of Social MedicineHarvard Medical School

1995 Samuel B. Guze, M.D.Spencer T. Olin Professor of PsychiatryWashington University in St. Louis School of MedicinePsychiatrist-in-ChiefBarnes and Renard Hospital

1994 Myrna Weissman, Ph.D.Professor of Epidemiology in PsychiatryColumbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Gerald Klerman, M.D.Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Chairman for Research, Department of PsychiatryCornell University Medical College

1993 Seymour S. Kety, M.D.Senior ScientistNational Institutes of Mental HealthProfessor of Neuroscience EmeritusHarvard Medical School

1992 Daniel X. Freedman, M.D.Judson Braun Professor of Psychiatry and PharmacologyDepartment of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral ScienceUniversity of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine

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