In Memoriam: Michael Jenike, MD

October 18, 2023

It is with great sadness that we share with you that Michael Jenike, MD, passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He was 78.

As the founder of McLean’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute (OCDI), Jenike dedicated his life to the study and treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). He was unafraid to challenge existing standards, and his internationally recognized work has transformed the practice of OCD treatment.

Michael Jenike

Reflecting on Jenike’s career, there is comfort in knowing that his legacy lives on in the countless individuals who benefited from his work over several decades. He had an innate ability to put his patients at ease with his incredible sense of humor, deep wit, and unmatched compassion.

His approach to treatment was unconventional, as he would do whatever it took to help each individual, and he was known for his lightning-fast response to anyone, anywhere in the world, who needed help.

No individual was ever “too ill,” and he routinely improved the lives of individuals who had not been successful in other treatment approaches.

“The thing I will always remember about Michael was his humanity. He always reminded us to think of the patient first and everything else second. He had an amazing moral compass that always pointed him to do what was best for the patients at all times,” said Diane Davey, RN, MBA, program director of the OCDI.

“His other legendary traits...his irreverent sense of humor, his unwavering loyalty, his belief in the basic good in everyone, are things I will try to carry with me. He was a hero to many, and one of the few people truly deserving of that distinction.”

In addition to being an outstanding scientist and clinician, Jenike’s career was also defined by training and mentoring the next generation of OCD clinicians and researchers.

He was a passionate and bright mentor, colleague, and friend, who was an inspiration to all who strive for a more compassionate approach to mental health.

Jenike was a professor at Harvard Medical School and founder of the Center for OCD and Related Disorders at Massachusetts General Hospital.

As a co-founder and Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board Chair of the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation (now the International OCD Foundation), his contributions were instrumental in the advancement of OCD knowledge, treatment, and support networks.

Jenike is survived by his children, Lisa, Eric, and Sara.

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