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Chafetz Professorship

Morris E. Chafetz Professorship in Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Science at Harvard Medical School

(In July 2015) The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (Responsibility.org) established the Morris E. Chafetz Professorship in Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Science at Harvard Medical School. The first incumbent is Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S., presently an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Division on Addiction at The Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate.

The focus of the Professorship is to expand the body of knowledge concerning the role that personal factors and individual decisions and influences play in the responsible consumption of beverage alcohol and the adverse impacts associated with irresponsible decision-making.

Over the past five years, with multi-year support from the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Dr. Shaffer and his colleagues at the Division of Addiction have developed and tested a computerized clinical report generator tool, the Computerized Assessment and Referral System (CARS), for use in DUI intervention and treatment settings. CARS packages a powerful mental health assessment tool, the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI: Kessler & Ustun, 2004) with a user-friendly interface, increased flexibility, and immediate personalized output, creating a tool that can be used easily by practitioners to screen DUI offenders and target interventions to address comorbid mental health issues. CARS will be available for national distribution in 2017 while researchers continue to collect empirical data to link specific mental health profiles to recidivism risk.

“The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has long been a strong supporter of the research program at Cambridge Health Alliance, particularly in the Department of Psychiatry. We are so pleased that Responsibility.org has decided to create this endowed professorship which will forever support the best of our faculty in the field of behavioral sciences and honor a pioneer in the field of alcohol studies and the public’s perception of alcoholism.”

–Jeffrey S. Flier, MD, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Harvard Medical School

About Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S.

Dr. Shaffer brings a wealth of experience to the role of the first incumbent of the Morris E. Chafetz Professorship in Psychiatry in the Field of Behavioral Sciences. Dr. Shaffer has served as principal or co-principal investigator on a variety of government and foundation sponsored research projects. Dr. Shaffer has focused on investigative and educational activities associated with the public health features of Internet gambling, and the epidemiology of psychiatric co-morbidity among multiple DUI offenders.

About Morris E. Chafetz

Dr. Chafetz completed his residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard Medical School affiliate, in 1954. He was the first director of the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) in 1970 and gained national recognition as a Member of the National Commission Against Drunk Driving. He served as President Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Appointee at the White House Conference on Drug Free America.

Dr. Chafetz established a progressive alcoholism clinic at Massachusetts General Hospital in the 1950s. His early clinical experiences convinced him that alcoholism was not a crime or a personal failing but rather a disease requiring treatment. These views, highly controversial at the time, were expounded in numerous articles and peer-reviewed journals, in books that were authored or co-authored by Dr. Chafetz, and in testimony before Congress and state legislatures.