June 01, 2007
The American Psychiatric Association has awarded its prestigious 2007 Agnes Purcell McGavin Award for Distinguished Career Achievement in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry to James C. Harris, M.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, pediatrics and mental hygiene at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The lifetime achievement award was presented on May 21 in San Diego at the association’s annual meeting. It recognizes outstanding and pioneering work in developmental neuropsychiatry, a field that unites psychiatry and neurobiology in the study of psychiatric illnesses.
“I am humbled to receive this award, as it has gone to many distinguished physicians before me,” Harris said. “My work has focused on convincing psychiatrists of their critical role in helping children with neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic disorders, and this award acknowledges the importance of this relatively new psychiatric specialty and the needs of affected children and their families.”
Considered a trailblazer in the discipline, Harris has served as director of developmental neuropsychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is the author of the two-volume textbook Developmental Neuropsychiatry, considered one of the most influential works in the field. In 1995, the year of its publication, Developmental Neuropsychiatry was chosen medical book of the year among 2,500 books in 76 medical specialties. At the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Harris’s work focuses on children and adolescents with psychiatric and developmental disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism, eating disorders, self-injurious behavior, and psychiatric conditions in Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, Rett syndrome, and Down syndrome, among others.
Harris served on the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation during the Clinton Administration and was an invited participant in the White House Conference on Mental Health. He is a past president of the Society of Professors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and is a member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.