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Women’s mental health—a relatively new, but rapidly evolving domain of psychiatry—received a tremendous boost with the creation of the Kristine M. Trustey Endowed Chair in Psychiatry at McLean. Philanthropist and mental health advocate Kristine Trustey established the chair in recognition of the hospital’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health. Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, who is currently chief of the center and the hospital’s chief academic officer, will serve as the inaugural incumbent.
The gift was celebrated at a dedication dinner on April 13 at the Belmont Country Club. McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, spoke of the enduring nature of the chair, which will support McLean’s leadership in women’s mental health in perpetuity.
“Kris’s generosity and involvement have created an accelerating force and a whole new magnitude of impact around the mental health needs of girls and women,” said Rauch. “Endowing this chair has given McLean the privilege of elevating the mental health needs of girls and women in a deliberate way—and the resources to build the momentum that will be required to address them.”
Trustey shared some of her family’s experience with mental illness and spoke glowingly of the transformative care her late son, AJ, had received at McLean. As she became more open about her family’s connection to McLean, she realized how much stigma prevents people from talking about mental health issues. She was determined to change that and, in 2014 after AJ’s death at age 22 from epilepsy, the Trustey family invited contributions in his memory to support research into mood disorders.
Less than a year later, the Trustey family endured a second tragedy when a plane accident took the lives of Kris’s husband, Joe, and 18-year-old daughter Anna—leaving Kris and daughters Claire and Caroline to face the future together.
“I am standing here today because of my two brave, beloved daughters and a host of women friends who held my hand and gently accompanied me in my journey of loss,” said Trustey. “I have found renewed purpose in advancing the cause of women’s mental health—and supporting McLean’s Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health is now my most meaningful philanthropic work.”
Trustey also currently serves as co-chair of the newly created Women’s Mental Health Leadership Council along with longtime McLean National Council member Carroll C.D. Pierce.
Greenfield, who has been a member of the McLean community for 30 years, helped launch the Center of Excellence in Women’s Mental Health more than three years ago and, in collaboration with leadership throughout the hospital, has worked to develop an integrated and comprehensive approach to the mental health and well-being of girls and women throughout their life spans.
“It’s an incredible honor to occupy a chair associated with innovative research and treatment for women’s mental health, which has long been a focus in my career,” said Greenfield. “This gift represents so many wonderful things for McLean, especially Kris lending her name—something that will help raise awareness and reduce stigma quite broadly.”