Friday, September 19, 2008

In memoriam: Harold Boverman, MD (1927-2008)


Yesterday, the OHSU community lost another longtime member: psychiatrist Harold Boverman, MD, passed away at the age of 81. This morning's Oregonian ran a lengthy obituary.

A graduate of UC Berkeley (AB, 1950) and the University of Chicago School of Medicine (MD, 1956), Boverman completed residencies in pediatrics (Stanford) and psychiatry (Palo Alto VA) and a fellowship in child psychology (Yale) before joining the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1962. In 1968, Boverman came to Portland as associate professor of child psychiatry.

Boverman served as Chief of the Division of Child Psychiatry at OHSU from 1970 to 1975 and as Clinical Professor of Psychiatry from 1981 until his retirement. He played a major role in founding the Oregon Psychoanalytic Institute and served as its director.

In an interview with the Oregon Journal in September of 1970, Boverman recalled that when he arrived in Oregon in 1968, "he discovered that psychotic children in the state were still being kept in chains and locked in attics.
'I mean this literally.... One 6-year-old-boy in Coos Bay was found in an attic. He could not speak. He wasn't toilet-trained. He would not deal with another human being in a human way. He sat alone all day rocking and patting himself.'" According to Boverman, the child's parents were at a loss for how to deal with their son and could get no help from the state, which had no facilities for treating psychotic children. Boverman spent the rest of his career attempting to address this tragic lack of resources.

OHSU Chair of Psychiatry, Dr. George Keepers, says this of Boverman:
His scholarly approach to patient care is reflected in his numerous publications. [His] contributions to OHSU are ingrained in the skills and attitudes of the students he trained. His kind and gentle teaching style and his invitation to students to stretch their imaginations will be missed.

1 comment:

Nancy Moss-Racusin said...

I am a Clinical Child Psychologist, trained at the University of California at Davis and at Yale. Dr. Boverman was a uniquely wonderful teacher and mentor for me at U.C. Davis. I am saddened to learn of his passing and extend my sympathy to his family. I use what he taught me everyday with my own patients and students. Dr. Boverman was such a vital part of the training program at U.C. Davis - I am puzzled that this part of his career was not mentioned in writings about his life. He will stay in my thoughts and prayers.