William C. Torrey, MD, has been named the 2019 Exemplary Psychiatrist by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)—the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for those affected by mental illness.
Torrey, a professor of psychiatry at Geisel and vice chair for clinical services for the Department of Psychiatry at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, is committed to improving care for adults with severe mental illness and integrating psychiatric care into primary care. His research, writing, and teaching focus on supported employment, integrated services for adults with co-occurring substance use disorders and severe mental illnesses, evidence-based practice implementation, collaborative care in primary care, and shared decision making in medication management for adults with psychiatric and addictive illnesses. In addition to providing clinical care, Torrey teaches medical students, psychiatric trainees, and the public on these topics, and leads clinical care systems that aim to offer evidence-based, measurement-informed care.
“No one expects to develop a severe mental illness or to have one occur to someone they love,” Torrey says. “No one signs up for these illnesses any more than they sign up for colon cancer or a pulmonary embolism. But these are very common illnesses. When faced with the shock of the experience you need orientation to care, access to care, and support.
“NAMI advocates for access to effective, timely, hope-promoting, and patient-friendly care and supports individuals with these illnesses and their families,” Torrey adds. “The work of NAMI has a profound impact in the lives of millions of Americans. For these reasons, I am extremely honored to receive this meaningful award.”