I was born in 1950 and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. I attended Northwestern University where I graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and received my M.D. from Northwestern University Medical School. After graduation, I completed residency training in psychiatry and a fellowship in consultation-liaison psychiatry, a subspecialty focused on treating patients who suffer from psychiatric complications of severe medical disorders such as cancer, stroke, and heart disease. A Senior Affiliate in Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, I am the author of over sixty scientific papers and am co-editor of the book Sleep Disorders in Psychiatric Practice. Throughout my career, I have also maintained a keen interest in the doctor-patient relationship and in developing strategies to bring doctors closer to their patients.
My poetry has been published in a broad array of literary and medical journals including a monthly column “Poetry of the Times,” which has been featured for sixteen years in Psychiatric Times, the most widely read and influential psychiatric publication in America with over 43,000 subscribers. The winner of numerous poetry awards, my first collection of poems, How JFK Killed My Father, won the Pearl Poetry Prize and was published by Pearl Editions. I used the award money to establish a creative writing prize for medical students, nursing students, resident physicians, and doctoral students at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The award has been instrumental in stimulating the development of medical humanities programs at the medical school. My second collection of poetry, Secret Wounds, won the 2010 John Ciardi Poetry Prize from the University of Missouri – Kansas City and was published by BkMk Press. In additon, Secret Wounds was selected as the best poetry book of 2011 by USA Book News Awards. I am also the author of two poetry chapbooks, Code Blue, and The Prophecy. I also edited Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process, a collection of essays by sixteen contemporary poets who write about how their psychiatric treatment influenced their creativity. My third collection of poetry Practice was published by Brick Road Poetry Press in 2015. And my poem, “The Fisherman” appeared in the 2015 anthology Liberation: New Works on Freedom from Internationally Renowned Poets, commissioned by the Terezin Music Foundation to commemorate the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps seventy years ago.
I live and practice psychiatry in a small town in the Berkshire hills of western Massachusetts.