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Elizabeth B. Weller, MD

August 7, 1949 – November 29, 2009

Elizabeth B. Weller, MD

Elizabeth B. Weller, MD, long-time member of Annals of Clinical Psychiatry’s editorial board, succumbed to breast cancer on November 29, 2009, shortly after her sixtieth birthday. At the time of her death, Elizabeth was professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania (the first woman holding an endowed professorship at the university) and the first chair of the department of child and adolescent psychiatry at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Of Armenian descent, Elizabeth graduated with honors from the medical school at American University of Beirut and, shortly after her graduation she completed a residency in pediatrics and adult psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis, MO. She then completed a child psychiatry fellowship at the University of Kansas in Kansas City. After several years as a faculty member at the University of Kansas—where she also served as training director for the child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship—Elizabeth and her husband, Ronald Weller, MD, moved to Columbus, OH. There, Elizabeth quickly rose in the ranks to become professor of psychiatry, pediatrics, and neuroscience, and associate chair, child and adolescent psychiatry at Ohio State University. In 1996, the Weller family moved to Philadelphia where Elizabeth assumed her multiple research, teaching, mentoring, clinical, and administrative roles at the University of Pennsylvania’s department of psychiatry and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Elizabeth was an accomplished and gifted psychiatrist, educator, and researcher. She received numerous research grants, and served as director of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and as member of the Residency Review Committee. She was widely published in child and adolescent psychiatry and psycho-pharmacology, authoring or co-authoring 5 books, 47 chapters, and well over 100 peer-reviewed articles. She was a member of several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychiatric Association, American College of Psychiatrists and, for more than a quarter century, the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists (AACP). She served the AACP with great distinction as program director, member of the Research Award (George Winokur Award) Committee, and as a member of the Board of Directors. Elizabeth was a giant among child and adolescent psychiatrists, especially in the area of mood disorders and their treatment.

She was a special person who was generous in mind and spirit. Always kind and polite, her broad smile and optimistic, friendly voice will forever remain in our memory.

Elizabeth Weller’s death has greatly saddened us, and our thoughts and prayers are with the Weller family. According to an old Greek saying, “Those whom the gods love, die young.” Elizabeth had to be loved by gods because she was too young to die. However, she was also loved by her family, friends, patients, and colleagues, all of whom miss her very much.

Requiescat in pace.

Richard Balon, MD
Wayne State University
Detroit, MI, USA

Donald W. Black, MD
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA, USA