George Winokur Clinical Research Paper Award

The AACP established its Clinical Research Award in 1979, which is presented to the author of the best original research paper published in Annals of Clinical Psychiatry during the previous calendar year. The Award is presented at the AACP annual meeting and includes a cash prize, engraved award, complimentary one-year membership to the AACP, plus travel and accommodations to attend the annual meeting. The AACP’s Research Award Committee is responsible for making the selection.

George Winokur Clinical Research Award
Samuel Dotson, M.D.

Rising placebo response rates threaten the validity of antipsychotic meta-analyses

The American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists George Winokur Research Award has been awarded to Samuel Dotson, M.D. for research that was published in 2019 in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry, 2019;31(4):249-259. Dr. Dotson will be presented the award at an upcoming AACP Annual Conference (Psychiatry Update 2021). Date to be announced pending COVID restrictions (for further information go to

The Annals of Clinical Psychiatry provides an international forum for exploring the etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of psychiatric disorders, publishing high-quality, peer-reviewed articles focused on advancing patient care, including original research, timely reviews, case reports, letters to the editor, and book reviews. The Annals are indexed with the National Library of Medicine.

Dr. Dotson’s research article is titled “Rising placebo response rates threaten the validity of antipsychotic meta-analyses”, Annals of Clinical Psychiatry/Vol. 31, No. 4/November 2019. Network meta-analyses (NMAs) are an increasingly important tool in comparative psychopharmacology. As do traditional meta-analyses, these studies assume that there are no unaccounted effect modifiers that could confound comparisons across time. Research methodologies, however, have changed markedly in recent decades. This is clearly seen in rising placebo response rates in modern antipsychotic and antidepressant trials (placebo inflation). The current study aimed to evaluate if NMAs display evidence of a confounding bias that varies with time.

METHOD: Efficacy rankings from 2 landmark antipsychotic meta-analyses were cross-referenced and regressed against FDA approval dates. Two prominent NMAs of antidepressants were analyzed for comparison because these 2 drug classes display distinct patterns of rising placebo response rates.

RESULTS: Newer antipsychotic drugs consistently rank worse than older agents (rho = -0.49, -0.74; p = 0.066, 0.0016). This trend remains robust when excluding outliers (i.e. first generation and non-FDA approved drugs) and analyzing effect sizes rather than efficacy rankings (r = -0.83, -0.77; p = 0.0028, 0.0051). Antidepressant meta-analyses do not display a similar temporal pattern.

CONCLUSIONS: Rankings of antipsychotics, but not antidepressants, show evidence of a confounding temporal bias. Poorly compensated placebo inflation is one potential explanation for this finding.

Dr. Dotson currently oversees a wide variety of departmental education and clinical care efforts as chief resident of community and public psychiatry, chief resident of inpatient medical-psychiatry, and a physician assistant instructor at Massachusetts General Hospital. He serves on the APA Council on Medical Education and Lifelong Learning, and on his Residency Education Policy Committee at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Dotson received his MD in 2017 from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine where he was honored with the George C. Thrasher Jr. Award for Outstanding Student in Psychiatry. He is currently completing the Massachusetts General Hospital and McLean Hospital Combined Adult Psychiatry Residency Program through Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.


George Winokur Research Award Committee Chair
Stacey Smith, MD
Office of Dr. Richard T. Katz and Dr. Stacey L. Smith
4660 Maryland Ave. #250
St. Louis, MO 63108
Email: [email protected]

George Winokur Award Committee:
Stacey Smith, M.D., St. Louis, MO
Richard Balon, M.D., Wayne State University
James Wilcox, M.D., Ph.D., Seattle, WA

Please contact Beverly Davidson, Executive Director, AACP, for further information at [email protected], or call (920) 395-2330.


George Winokur Clinical Research Award Winners



Committee Chair

David Kupfer, MD
Mark Gold, MD Charles L. Rich, MD
Larry E. Tune, MD
James R. Morrison, MD
Robert E. Smith, MD
Louis Hafken, MD
Hagop S. Akiskal, MD
Henry A. Nasrallah, MD Louis Hafken, MD
Sheldon H. Preskorn, MD
Larry Kirstein, MD Louis Hafken, MD
Ming T. Tsuang, MD, PhD
Gary Tollefson, MD, PhD Louis Hafken, MD
Elizabeth B. Weller, MD
Hector C. Fabelli, MD, PhD Louis Hafken, MD
Natraj Sitaram, MD
Matig Mavissakalian, MD Louis Hafken, MD
Dennis S. Charney, MD
Arnold L. Lieber, MD Louis Hafken, MD
Michael Liebowitz, MD
Harry E. Gwirtsman, MD Louis Hafken, MD
Ronald A. Weller, MD
Joyce G. Small, MD Charles L. Rich, MD
Conrad M. Swartz, MD
Timothy D. Brewerton, MD Valerie F. Holmes, MD
Conrad M. Swartz, MD
Valerie F. Holmes, MD
Douglas Finestone, MD
Ira Glick, MD Valerie F. Holmes, MD
Roy T. Mathew, MD
Stephen C. Olsen, MD Valerie F. Holmes, MD
Elizabeth M. Smith, PhD
Valerie F. Holmes, MD
Joesph Magliozzi, MD (co-winner)
John Lauer, MD (co-winner)
Paul M. Packman, MD
Laura Sanchez, MD
Paul M. Packman, MD
Mary Fristad, PhD
Paul M. Packman, MD
Danielle S. Schneider, MD
Donald W. Black, MD
Donald W. Black, MD
Donald W. Black, MD
Sidney Zisook, MD
Donald W. Black, MD
Eric Lenze
Donald W. Black, MD
Liviu Ichim MD
Donald W. Black, MD
Paul J. Perry PhD
Donald W. Black, MD
Betty Pfefferbaum, MD
Donald W. Black, MD
(No Award Presented)
Matig Massavikalian, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Pinhas Nedim Dannon, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Keith E. Isenberg, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Ahsan Y. Khan, MD
Carol S. North, MD
George I. Papakostas, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Susan K. Schultz, MD
Doreen Granpeesheh, PhD, BCBA-D
Carol S. North, MD
Alina Suris, PhD, ABPP
Carol S. North, MD
Donald Black, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Boaz Levy, PhD
Carol S. North, MD
Alina Suris
Carol S. North, MD
Mark Zimmerman
Carol S. North, MD
William Lawson, MD, PhD
Carol S. North, MD
Keith E. Isenberg, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Gus Zhang, MD
Carol S. North, MD
Laura Madson, PhD
Carol S. North, MD