Burton V. Reifler, MD, MPH

    • May 15, 2005

Position: Professor and Chairman Emeritus
Department of Psychiatry
Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.

Clinical Scholar: 1976–1978, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle

Research Project: "Recognition of Depression in a Family Medicine Residency Program"

Clinical Specialty: Psychiatry/Geriatric Psychiatry

Burton Reifler completed his MPH as part of the Clinical Scholars program at the University of Washington and taught in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences there until moving to Wake Forest (then called the Bowman Gray School of Medicine) in 1987. His major research interests have been the relation of depression to Alzheimer's disease and health services research on adult day centers. He has served as chairperson of the American Psychiatric Association Council on Aging, currently is on the board of directors of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, and the International Psychogeriatric Association. He was national program director of RWJF's Dementia Care and Respite Services Program and its successor, Partners in Caregiving: The Dementia Services Program, which required giving technical assistance and direction to 50 sites throughout the country. He serves on the national advisory committee of the Clinical Scholars program.

"When I applied to the program, my research goals were not well-crystallized. I remember clearly, as part of the application, that we were supposed to put down what some of our research goals were during the Clinical Scholars program, and mine were to determine the most effective treatment for every illness in the diagnostic manual. The program director's review comment was "a little grandiose." What the Clinical Scholars program allowed me to understand was that all an individual investigator can hope [to do] is to add a few leaves to the tree. Clinical research is a very painstaking, time-consuming process, and I think that one of the most valuable lessons of the program was how difficult it was to do good clinical research.