AUGUSTA, Ga. - Dr. Peter F. Buckley, a psychiatrist and Dean of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University, has received the American Psychiatric Association Special Presidential Commendation in recognition of his exemplary leadership and substantial contributions to psychiatry and U.S. academic medicine.
The commendation, given at the discretion of the president, Dr. Dilip V. Jeste, was presented during the association's 166th Annual Meeting May 18-22 in San Francisco.
"Dr. Buckley is a highly distinguished scientist and educator in mental health and his service to the field over the past several decades has been outstanding," Jeste said.
Buckley, who chaired the MCG Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior for a decade before becoming Dean of the medical school in 2011, is a member of the association's Workgroup on the Role of Psychiatry in Healthcare Reform and Committee on Research Awards.
He serves on a National Institute of Mental Health Data and Safety Monitoring Board to safeguard research participants and monitor clinical trials. He chairs the Pan American International Division of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, which facilitates worldwide exchange of psychiatry information, as well as the Dean's Committee of the American College of Psychiatrists. Buckley started a fellowship to groom aspiring chairmen while he was President of the American Association of Chairs of Academic Departments of Psychiatry from 2006-08. He received the 2007 Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association's Psychiatrist of the Year Award as well as an Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He is Chairman of the Continuing Medical Education Committee of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association and a member of the External Advisory Board of the South Carolina Clinical and Translational Research Institute at the Medical University of South Carolina.
An expert in schizophrenia, Buckley is an Advisory Board Member of the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research and a member of the Scientific Council of the National Alliance for Research in Schizophrenia and Affective Disorders. He served on the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education Board of Directors and chaired the NIMH Interventions Committee for Disorders Related to Schizophrenia, Late Life or Personality.
While Chairman of the MCG Psychiatry Department, he led the rebuilding of a department that had been rocked by research fraud. Under his leadership, the department reinvigorated existing programs and developed innovative new ones, including a treatment and training model that focuses on recovery from mental illness, engaging patients as educators and advisors. He also helped transform Georgia's troubled public mental health care system, serving on Georgia's Gubernatorial Task Force on Mental Health Commission for a New Georgia and Georgia's Mental Health Systems Transformation Task Force. In October 2009, Buckley and the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, announced that GHSU would take charge of East Central Georgia Regional Hospital, a state facility for mental health and intellectual disabilities that had been considered for closure.
Buckley received the 2012 Cancro Academic Leadership Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for his contributions as a medical school dean and psychiatry department chairman and the 2011 Wayne Fenton Award for Exceptional Clinical Care from the Schizophrenia Bulletin. Buckley, who was named MCG's interim Dean in 2010, has completed the Dean's Executive Development and Executive Leadership programs at the Association of American Medical Colleges. He is the Council of Deans Liaison to the Group on Resident Affairs at the AAMC.