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Dr. Charles Bowden named chairman of psychiatry (12/17/97)

Charles L. Bowden, MD, has been named chairman of the department of psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

He was appointed deputy chairman of the department in 1989 and began serving as interim chairman soon after former chairman Dr. Robert Leon stepped down in late 1995. Dr. Bowden holds the university's Nancy Ullman Karren Chair in Psychiatry and has headed the Health Science Center's division of biological psychiatry since its creation in 1986.

Said Medical School dean Dr. James J. Young, "I am very pleased with Dr. Bowden's appointment as chair of the department. His innovative vision for the future, combined with his demonstrated powers as teacher, researcher and leader in psychiatry will bode well for our medical school."

Said Dr. Bowden, "We have a strong department and will continue to build on our strengths, but there will also be some major changes from our historical focus on community psychiatry. Our expanding ability to understand the biochemical and genetic causes of many disabling psychiatric illnesses today offers us opportunities for better treatments. We will use this knowledge to focus on helping patients cope with major problems more than with daily living problems."

As an example, Dr. Bowden notes that in the area of depression and bipolar disorder, psychiatrists are able to offer patients a much improved quality of life and even an increased life span in some cases, by preventing suicides. "Using new medications that are becoming available, we are able to improve functioning in more than 50% of the cases," he said. "There are similar opportunities now for improving functioning in schizophrenia and conditions such as dementia in the elderly."

The psychiatrist envisions more intense focus here on diagnosis and treatment of childhood psychiatric problems and on drug addiction and substance abuse. "Most severe psychiatric problems begin in childhood," he commented.

"Also, San Antonio offers a wonderful opportunity to learn more about not only the sociological differences but the genetic and biological differences among Hispanics suffering from psychiatric illness compared to other ethic groups," he said.

"We will work closely with the Health Science Center's pharmacology department and the research imaging center," he said. "We have funding to help link clinical problems with pharmacology and imaging."

Dr. Bowden has been on the psychiatry faculty since 1970. A native Texan from Brownwood, he attended The University of Texas at Austin and earned his MD degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He completed his residency in psychiatry at Columbia University, serving at both New York State Psychiatric Institute and Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. He was a candidate in psychoanalytic training at Columbia Psychoanalytic Clinic for Training and Research.

Dr. Bowden has authored nearly 300 papers and abstracts in his field and seven textbooks. He is active in numerous professional societies and on editorial boards including those for the *Journal of Bipolar Disorder and Essential Psychopharmacology*. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association and is editor-in-chief of *Medscape Mental Health*, part of Medscape, Inc., the most referenced electronic medical database in the world. Dr. Bowden is also listed among the *Best Doctors in the U.S.* in the area of mood disorders.

He and his wife, Dr. Virginia Bowden, director of the Health Science Center's Dolph Briscoe Library, have two daughters who are lawyers and one grandchild.

Contact: Mike Lawrence (210) 567-2570