Ludwik S. Szymanski, MD

stephanie porter

Dr. Szymanski is Director of Psychiatry Emeritus at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI), a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability (UCEDD) based at the Children's Hospital, Boston. He has been a part of the LEND team since its inception, in 1967.

Dr. Szymanski was born in Poland where he survived WW II and the Holocaust. In 1951 he was permitted to emigrate to Israel where he completed medical studies and received MD degree from the Hebrew University Medical School in Jerusalem. After graduation he served in Israeli Defense Force as a regimental physician, followed by residency in pediatrics and research position in Rubella vaccine project, in Kaplan Hospital. He came to USA in 1962 and trained in Bellevue Hospital (pediatrics), Mount Sinai Hospital (psychiatry) and Boston Children’s Hospital (Child Psychiatry). He joined the Developmental Evaluation Center (that later became ICI) in 1967 where he developed and directed the clinical and training program in psychiatry of developmental disabilities. He is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School. Dr. Szymanski was one of early psychiatrists who developed the field of psychiatry of intellectual/developmental disabilities (ID/DD). His interests included: diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders in persons with these disabilities; facilitating their inclusion in normalized community environments as well as training psychiatrists in the field of developmental disabilities. His other interest included sexual, legal and forensic issues of persons with ID/DD, deinstitunalization and inclusion. For many years he served as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice and to state governments on mental health care of persons living in residential institutions. For many years he was a psychiatrist for the mental health clinic of the Boston Juvenile Court. In 1990 he established and directed at ICI a Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Dr. Szymanski has served as a chair of Committees on Intellectual Disability of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and of American Psychiatric Association as well as on various other professional organizations. Dr. Szymanski taught and presented his work in professional conferences locally, nationally and internationally (including Holland, Israel, Poland, Turkey, Finland, Italy and UK). He co-edited a book on mental disorders of persons with intellectual disability, wrote or co-authored numerous chapters in major textbooks of psychiatry, child psychiatry and developmental pediatrics, and published scientific papers on topics related to mental health and developmental disabilities. He is a recipient of many awards from professional organizations. Since his retirement he has devoted his time to teaching trainees at the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program at Children’s Hospital Boston and to mentoring students engaged in international projects related to mental health and developmental disabilities.

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