Awards, Research, People, Mind & body

Stephen Hinshaw wins 2020 Sarnat Prize for mental health breakthroughs

By Yasmin Anwar

Psychology Professor Stephen Hinshaw
Photo courtesy of Stephen Hinshaw
Psychology Professor Stephen Hinshaw

Photo courtesy of Stephen Hinshaw

UC Berkeley psychologist Stephen Hinshaw has won the National Academy of Medicine’s 2020 Rhoda and Bernard Sarnat International Prize in Mental Health for his contributions to the understanding and treatment of mental health conditions in childhood and adolescence and for his efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

The prize, which comes with a medal and $20,000, will be awarded at the academy’s virtual annual meeting on Oct. 19.  Hinshaw is the only scientist to win the Sarnat mental health award this year.

Hinshaw is being recognized for his efforts to challenge negative attitudes and beliefs about people with psychiatric disorders and his more than two decades of work with children and young adults, particularly girls, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) through longitudinal studies and youth-based programs.

“Dr. Hinshaw’s work on ADHD has truly changed the field in many ways, impacting the treatment for millions of youth with ADHD in the U.S., let alone others internationally,” said Victor Dzau, president of the National Academy of Medicine.

“His rigorous, multilevel research on child and adolescent mental health, deep engagement in treatment-related efforts, and his essential work regarding mental health stigma and related policy — in addition to remarkable leadership and mentorship of young scientists — make him most deserving of this important recognition,” he added.

Hinshaw is a longtime professor of psychology at Berkeley, serving as department chair from 2004 to 2011. Since 2015, he has also held appointments at UCSF as professor of psychiatry and as vice chair for child and adolescent psychology.

Last year, Hinshaw was named inaugural co-director of the Schwab Dyslexia and Cognitive Diversity Center , a joint initiative between Berkeley and UCSF.

He is the author of more than 360 research articles and chapters, plus 10 books that include his award-winning 2017 memoir , Another Kind of Madness: A Journey through the Stigma and Hope of Mental Illness.

Since 1992, the Sarnat Prize has been presented to individuals and groups that have demonstrated outstanding achievement in improving mental health. The award recognizes achievements in basic science, clinical applications and public policy.

The award is supported by an endowment created by Rhoda Sarnat, a clinical social worker, and Bernard Sarnat, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. The couple’s concern about the destructive effects of mental illness inspired them to establish the award.

Established in 1970, the National Academy of Medicine is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is “to improve health by advancing science, accelerating health equity, and providing independent, authoritative and trusted advice nationally and globally.”