McLean Hospital Hosts Star-Studded Gala Honoring Jane Fonda

Actress, author, and advocate honored for commitment to mental health education

June 22, 2014

McLean Hospital, the largest psychiatric affiliate of Harvard Medical School, recently hosted a gala event to honor actress, author and mental health advocate Jane Fonda for her exceptional efforts to educate the public about mental health issues.

Director David O. Russell, who was honored by the hospital last year, actress Catherine Keener and actress/comedian Maya Rudolph, were among the 500 guests to show support for Fonda as she was presented with the coveted McLean Award—the hospital’s highest honor—at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston on Friday, June 20.

“I am grateful for the compassion that McLean brings to its work,” said Fonda, who eloquently and openly spoke about her mother’s suicide when Jane was just 12 years old and about her own struggle with an eating disorder.

Jane Fonda at McLean Hospital
Visiting the Klarman Center. L to R: Gold, Greenfield, Fonda, Esther Dechant, MD, Thomas Weigel, MD, Patricia Tarbox, LICSW

In fitting Hollywood fashion, the evening concluded with a surprise ending when McLean President and Psychiatrist in Chief Scott L. Rauch, MD, and Board Chairman David S. Barlow presented Fonda with a portrait created by world-renowned Brazilian neo-pop artist Romero Britto.

“Romero is a huge fan of yours and he was very disappointed that he could not be here to congratulate you in person. However, in advance of this event, he sequestered himself in his studio to create this portrait of you and we are honored to present it to you this evening,” said Rauch to a visibly surprised and excited Fonda.

Prior to the award ceremony, Fonda spent the day at McLean’s Belmont, Massachusetts campus, touring programs that specialize in women’s trauma and eating disorders. She also had an opportunity to meet with Rauch, as well as Chief Medical Officer Joseph Gold, MD, and Chief Academic Officer Shelly F. Greenfield, MD, MPH, to learn more about McLean’s expanding focus on specialized mental health care for women.

“We were thrilled to welcome Jane Fonda to McLean. She was eager to learn about all of our work and was extremely complimentary of our strong focus on improving the understanding of women’s mental health as well as providing better care for the disorders that are highly prevalent in women,” said Rauch. “We hope that this is the beginning of a collaborative relationship between McLean and Ms. Fonda, given our shared interests and mission.”

Jane Fonda with Romero Britt painting
Fonda poses with a portrait painted by Romero Britto

Fonda’s work on stage and screen has earned numerous accolades, including two Oscars (Best Actress in 1971 for “Klute” and in 1978 for “Coming Home”) and an Emmy for her performance in “The Dollmaker”. In 2014, she received the American Film Institute’s highest honor, the Life Achievement Award.

In addition to her tremendous success as a stage and screen actress, Fonda focuses much of her time on education, advocacy, activism and social change. In particular, she has been devoted to the program she founded in 1995, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (G-CAPP). Fonda now serves as Chair Emeritus of this statewide effort to reduce the high rates of adolescent pregnancy and obesity in Georgia through community, youth and family development, training of professionals who work with adolescents, and legislative advocacy.

In March 2014, her new book, Being A Teen: Everything Teen Girls & Boys Should Know About Relationships, Sex, Love, Health ​, Identity & More, was released by Random House.

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