Pioneering African-American psychiatrist Mildred Mitchell-Bateman, M.D., died on January 25 in Charleston, W.Va., at age 89. Mitchell-Bateman received her M.D. degree from the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1946, trained at Harlem Hospital, and completed a residency at the Menninger School of Psychiatry in Topeka. In 1962, she was named director of West Virginia’s Department of Mental Health, making her the first African-American woman to head a state agency there. During her 15-year tenure, she emphasized that care for the mentally ill in the state system must include both treatment and rehabilitation.
Mitchell-Bateman became the founding chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Marshall University’s new School of Medicine in 1977. There, she developed a close working relationship with state hospitals to enhance training opportunities and improve patient care. She was elected a vice-president of APA in 1973 and received the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000. Huntington State Hospital was renamed in her honor in 1999. More about Mildred Mitchell-Bateman and other African-American psychiatrists can be found in the book, Black Psychiatrists and American Psychiatry, edited by Jeanne Spurlock, M.D., from American Psychiatric Press.
(Image: West Virginia Division of Culture and History)
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