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Dr. Richard Storer Ward, "the Father of Child Psychiatry at Emory" has Retired

Dr. Richard Storer Ward grew up on the campus of the American University of Beirut, where his father was a surgeon and dean of the medical school. After 11 years, his family returned to Massachusetts where his father retired due to illness. Rick’s first tastes of America were living with a maiden aunt in Longmeadow, Mass, and visiting an uncle on Cape Cod. He thought it was paradise. He graduated from Deerfield Academy and later Amherst College.

He has the distinction, like few of us, of turning down Harvard Medical School to instead attend Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Unimpressed with Columbia’s psychiatric department, he tried pediatrics. After an internship at Babies Hospital, he found a three-month appointment at the Bradley Home in Riverside, RI, one of the first child psychiatry hospitals and the place where stimulant treatment of ADHD was first developed. After the war ended, Rick was able to finish his pediatric training as chief resident at Bellevue Hospital in 1948.

Rick was never satisfied with “a little learning.” He decided that to be a good child psychiatrist, one needed to also be a good adult psychiatrist, and therefore a good psychoanalyst. The process took 12 years. After psychoanalytic training at Columbia he joined the faculty, but was eventually lured to Emory by Dr. Bernard C. Holland, chairman of psychiatry, to assist in expanding the psychiatry department. Rick’s job was to teach medical students and begin an accredited child psychiatry training program, which occurred in 1961. He was also tasked with laying the foundation for what is now the Emory Psychoanalytic Institute. He offered education in the basic sciences of psychiatry: psychodynamics, psychology and social science, with some of his students becoming leaders in our field across the country.

As the “Father of Child Psychiatry at Emory,” Rick has served on committees, boards and task forces in every government and professional organization he joined. Many of his former students are in this field today because of his kind words and the way he made human development and dynamics come alive. Students and trainees were fascinated by the breadth of his knowledge and interests. Rick speaks six or seven languages and was usually known to plan a trip to some fascinating location. He always returned with exotic stereo pictures of places and people to share with friends and students, which he is now scanning into his computer.

Rick and his wife Adele live near Emory University.  He has two children, Charlotte who lives in Georgia and breeds show rabbits and a son, Richard, who lives in Boston and is CEO of Survey Crafter. He has a stepson, Steven, who lives in Atlanta and a grandson who will be graduating from Clemson in the spring. He and Charlotte are season ticket holders at the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and attend regularly.

If one is fortunate enough to meet with Dr. Ward, you always learn something new about politics, the university, psychoanalysis, child psychiatry or even Iranian and Islamic culture. In short, he taught a generation of physicians to be more than good doctors. By his example, we learned to value our families and be interested in everyone in the world around us. Rick taught his patients, students and colleagues to observe and participate in each day.  He continues to stay busy, however.  He is playing the piano, reading and spending time seeing friends. He continues to be active with his Chinese language group and the Emory Emeritus College. When speaking with Dr. Ward, he sounds decades younger than his chronological age!