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In Memoriam: Andrew E. Slaby, MD, MPH, PhD

May 22, 2020

The Department of Psychiatry sadly reports the death of residency alumnus and former faculty member, Andrew E. Slaby, MD, MPH, PhD, at the age of 78 on May 4, 2020. He was a nationally recognized psychiatric leader, educator, and author.

Dr. Slaby developed his psychiatry career at Yale. He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on July 14, 1942. He completed college at the University of Wisconsin (1964) and medical school at Columbia University (1968). After interning at Boston City Hospital, he came to Yale to complete psychiatry residency (1972) and his graduate degrees (MPH, 1974; PhD, 1977). After graduating from the residency, he joined the Yale Psychiatry faculty, rapidly becoming the director of Emergency Psychiatry Services for Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Commenting on Dr. Slaby’s time at Yale, alumnus Dr. Mark Gold noted, “I trained with Drew… in the Yale Emergency Room where behavioral health, addiction, crisis and overdose management worked seamlessly with the overall ED. In this ED environment, Drew did most everything from saving lives to doing family therapy. It was one of the best training experiences of my lifetime. He was encyclopedic, charismatic and dynamic as a teacher and an exemplary hands-on, skilled, caring and compassionate physician. It took Brian Fuerhlein, MD, PhD to remind me that his behavioral & addiction medicine emergency division was decades ahead of its time.“

While in this position, he wrote one of the foundational textbooks for this area of work, Handbook of Psychiatric Emergencies: A Guide for Emergencies in Psychiatry. He wrote or edited 56 books and 100 papers or chapters including, No one saw my pain: why teens kill themselves and 60 ways to make stress work for you.

In 1978, Dr. Slaby moved to Brown University (working with Yale Psychiatry alumni, Richard Goldberg, MD, and Peter Kramer, MD) as professor of Psychiatry and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of Rhode Island Hospital and then, in 1979, Women and Infants Hospital. In 1987, he joined a group of Yale Psychiatric Residency Alumni as the Medical Director of the Fair Oaks Hospital, including Mark Gold, A. Carter Pottash, Irl Extein, Donald Sweeney, and Robert Davies. Two years later, he became Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the Regent Hospital in New York City working with Yale Psychiatry graduate Larry S. Kirstein, MD. He played a national leader in the field of emergency psychiatry and suicide prevention, serving as a trustee of the American Association of Emergency Psychiatrists, vice president of the American Suicide Foundation, and president of the American Association of Suicidology. Also, he was a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and the American College of Psychiatry. He also was community spirited, serving on the boards of several community organizations.

At Yale, Dr. Slaby was known as a wonderful psychiatrist, teacher and colleague. He also remained connected to our Department throughout his career. He would periodically send me notes about events happening in our Department or in our field. It was always a pleasure to see him at the Annual Alumni Reception at the American Psychiatric Association. Our field has lost an important leader and we have lost a valued colleague and friend.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on May 22, 2020