University of Vermont

University Communications

$2 Million Endowment Creates Achenbach Chair in Developmental Psychopathology

Release Date: 09-13-2007

Author: Jennifer Nachbur
Phone: 802/656-7875 Fax: 802-656-3961

A gift from the Burlington-based Research Center for Children, Youth and Families has established an endowed chair in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Named in honor of Thomas M. Achenbach, Ph.D., UVM Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology, the Thomas M. Achenbach Chair in Developmental Psychopathology provides a permanent source of income to support the scholarly activities of a designated psychiatry faculty member. The $2 million endowment aims to assist in building on UVM’s existing strengths in mental health research by helping to support an internationally-known scholar.

James J. Hudziak, M.D., UVM Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics, will be the first holder of the Thomas M. Achenbach Chair in Developmental Psychopathology.

Achenbach, a Colchester resident, joined the UVM faculty in 1980. He is widely known for developing the Achenbach System of Empirically Based Assessment (ASEBA). Translated into 79 languages, the ASEBA includes questionnaires, computer programs, and web-based software for assessing competencies, adaptive functioning, and problems across the lifespan. Achenbach has published more than 250 articles and books, has been named by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the most highly-cited authors in the world literature on psychiatry and psychology, and has given hundreds of talks and workshops in 30 countries. He is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Clinical Child Psychology Distinguished Contribution Award and is a Fellow of the APA Division of Developmental Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology, Division of Children, Youth, and Families, and Division of Clinical Child Psychology. He has also received the UVM University Scholar Award. A summa cum laude graduate of Yale University, Achenbach received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining UVM, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow, Assistant Professor and Associate Professor at Yale, and as a Research Psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health. The Research Center for Children, Youth and Families, Inc., is a nonprofit scientific and educational corporation founded by Achenbach.

“We are all grateful to Dr. Achenbach and the Research Center for Children, Youth and Families for their visionary support of mental health research and training,” said Robert Pierattini, M.D., Professor and Chair of Psychiatry. “Dr. Achenbach literally put the UVM Department of Psychiatry on the international map. Through this gift, he has ensured that those who follow him have the resources necessary to continue to meet the high standards he has set.”

“Having invested decades of effort in research on normal and abnormal aspects of human development, I am happy that this additional investment will foster continuation of greatly needed research,” said Achenbach. “I am also pleased to have Dr. Hudziak, with whom I have worked in many ways, be chosen for this chair.”

Hudziak, a Charlotte resident, is a Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics at UVM/Fletcher Allen Health Care. He also holds a Special Endowed Chair of Genetics of Child Psychopathology at the Vrije University in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is an Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical College. Hudziak, who joined UVM in 1993, is currently the Director of the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families. His research program is supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, various nonprofit foundations and the State of Vermont. His primary focus is using twin, family and molecular genetic approaches in order to understand genetic and environmental influences on a wide variety of child psychiatric conditions. In addition, he has pioneered the use of telemedicine to deliver child psychiatric health care to children in rural areas of Vermont. Hudziak has published over 100 papers and chapters and 100 scientific abstracts as well. He recently edited a book, titled Genetic and Environmental Influences on Developmental Psychopathology and Wellness, which will be released in March 2008 by APPI Press. Hudziak currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, President of the American Psychopathological Association, and Research Co-Chair of the Society of Professors of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He is also a member of the National Institute of Mental Health Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disabilities Study Section. He played a central role in the creation of the College of Medicine’s Vermont Integrated Curriculum and has been recognized as an enthusiastic teacher with several awards from medical students and psychiatry residents. Hudziak received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed his psychiatry residency and a fellowship in child psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis before coming to UVM.

“I want to thank Dr. Achenbach for this honor and support,” said Hudziak. “I came to Vermont to study under Dr. Achenbach. Over the past 14 years, my career has been greatly influenced by his thinking, writing and guidance. Thanks to Dr. Achenbach’s pioneering work and now to this gift, we can continue to develop new methods to improve the care of children with psychiatric disorders – both here in the state and around the world.”