In Memoriam: Lesley Siegel, MD

Lesley Siegel, M.D., an assistant clinical professor in the Child Study Center, a former chief of psychiatry for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, and a graduate of the Yale psychiatry residency, passed away on Thursday, September 25, 2014.

The following obituary was prepared by Dr. Siegel's family.

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Lesley Siegel M.D., former Chief of Psychiatry for the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF) and former Associate Training Director at the Yale Child Study Center, was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey in 1956. She graduated from Brown University in 1978 and received her medical degree from Rutgers Medical School in 1982. She trained in psychiatry at Yale Medical School and in child psychiatry at the Yale Child Study Center.

Dr. Siegel spent her entire career with DCF, holding important leadership positions from which she worked ceaselessly to improve mental health care for many of Connecticut’s most vulnerable children. She was especially concerned about the increasing reliance on psychotropic medication in the treatment of children in foster care and lectured frequently on this subject. Dr. Siegel had a natural bent towards enriching others’ lives. She loved seeing others make some progress and it gave her immense satisfaction if she had helped in some way. To colleagues, friends, and family she was the person who always made things happen. She had abundant energy and took a genuine interest in everyone she met. She knew when to leap before she looked.

There wasn't enough time in a day for her innumerable interests – DCF, her private practice, running, tennis, piano, and cooking. Her appetite for reading contemporary fiction inspired awe among her friends in her many book clubs. But what was always primary in her life was her family.

She was an extraordinary mother and wife, daughter and sister, and aunt. She, her husband, and their two children comprised the Family Four, who were bound tightly by a powerful love for each other as well as a shared sense of joy and adventure. She was the indispensable person in her family’s life, and so highly valued and admired in others’ lives, and she will be greatly missed.

Dr. Siegel is survived by her husband, Lawrence Levenson of Hamden, CT, her daughter Rachel Levenson of Providence, RI, her son Jeremy Levenson of New York, NY, her mother Helene Siegel (Harold Goldman) of Scotch Plains, NJ, her brother Andrew Siegel (Mary) of Sudbury, MA, and several nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Scholarship Fund of the Eli Whitney Museum, 915 Whitney Avenue, Hamden, CT or to Congregation Mishkan Israel, 785 Ridge Road, Hamden, CT.

This article was submitted by Shane Seger on September 30, 2014.