The Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry was one of the first programs for global mental health in an academic medical center. Dr. Chester M. Pierce, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Professor Emeritus of Education at Harvard School of Education, and Dr. Gregory Fricchione, an Associate Chief of MGH Department of Psychiatry and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, established the Division of International Psychiatry in 2002 after a landmark meeting, “The African Diaspora: Psychiatric Issues,” (November 17-21, 2002, Boston, MA). This five-day conference brought together more than 40 psychiatrists of African descent to analyze, discuss and develop an agenda to address the role of psychiatry and psychiatrists in healing the mental health problems of people of African descent in Africa and throughout the world.

Drs. Pierce and Fricchione sought to develop an infrastructure that could provide clinical, educational and research contributions to reduce the global burden of psychiatric related disease, and to prepare a new generation of twenty-first century global psychiatrists to work with international populations in America and abroad.

The Division was renamed in July, 2009 to honor its founder and mentor, Dr. Chester M. Pierce, and to reflect its global view. Dr. David C. Henderson was appointed Director at this time.

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