The American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) has named Elyn Saks, J.D., Ph.D. as the winner of the 2016 ACNP Media Award. The ACNP Media Award recognizes individuals who make major contributions to the education of the public about mental illness and substance abuse research and the positive impact of research on treatment. Professor Saks is Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She has dedicated her academic career to the study of mental illness and the law and has published several books for lay audiences advocating for destigmatization and compassionate care for people with mental illness. To the legal community and society, she poses bold questions about how society treats people with mental illness and has argued for more autonomy and restoration of basic human dignity. She also suffers from chronic schizophrenia. Her memoir, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness, is a deeply personal account of her experiences with schizophrenia while navigating her academic career in law. The Center Cannot Hold, won the Time Magazine Top Ten Nonfiction Book of the Year Award, the Books for a Better Life Inspirational Memoir Award, and has been on the New York Times Extended Best Sellers List. Her 2012 Ted Talk, "A Tale of Mental Illness – From the Inside", has been viewed over 2.8 million times and offers the public a personal view into living with mental illness. The ACNP Media Award is intended to be an expression of appreciation from the College toward outstanding public education leaders who provide complete, accurate, and unbiased information to our society about brain diseases. Because of her tireless efforts to put a face on schizophrenia, advocate for compassionate care, and advance legal protections for people suffering from mental illness Elyn Saks is very deserving of the award.
In addition to The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness (Hachette, 2007), other books include Informed Consent to Psychoanalysis: The Law, the Theory, and the Data (Fordham University Press, 2013), Refusing Care: Forced Treatment and the Rights of the Mentally Ill (University of Chicago Press, 2002), Interpreting Interpretation: The Limits of Hermeneutic Psychoanalysis (Yale University Press, 1999), and Jekyll on Trial: Multiple Personality Disorder and Criminal Law (New York University Press, 1997). Professor Saks is also the Director of the Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics; Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine; and Faculty at the New Center for Psychoanalysis. She served as USC Law's associate dean for research from 2005-2010 and also teaches at the Keck School of Medicine.
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ACNP, founded in 1961, is a professional organization of more than 1000 leading scientists, including four Nobel Laureates. The mission of ACNP is to further research and education in neuropsychopharmacology and related fields in the following ways: promoting the interaction of a broad range of scientific disciplines of brain and behavior in order to advance the understanding of prevention and treatment of disease of the nervous system including psychiatric, neurological, behavioral and addictive disorders; encouraging scientists to enter research careers in fields related to these disorders and their treatment; and ensuring the dissemination of relevant scientific advances.