Obituary: Ted Reich, psychiatry professor, 65

Theodore Reich, M.D., the Samuel and Mae S. Ludwig Professor of Psychiatry and professor of genetics in the School of Medicine, died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital on Thursday, Dec. 25, 2003.

He was 65 and died after a long illness related to laryngeal cancer.

Reich is considered one of the founders of modern psychiatric genetics. He began his research into the genetic aspects of mental illness when he began his career in academic medicine in the late 1960s.

“Ted Reich was truly one of the leaders in the field of psychiatric genetics,” said Charles F. Zorumski, M.D., the Samuel B. Guze Professor and head of the Department of Psychiatry. “He was way ahead of the curve in terms of understanding the interaction between genetics and mental disorders, and he was instrumental both in developing scientific methods to study psychiatric genetics and in training young scientists in those methods.

“Those efforts made him one of the key leaders in driving both our department and the field of psychiatry forward. Our institution and psychiatry in general are significantly diminished by his loss.”

Reich was part of numerous studies on the genetic aspects of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcoholism and other illnesses, and he contributed to important discoveries in these fields.

Reich was born Oct. 14, 1938, in Montreal, and attended McGill University. He earned a bachelor’s degree in honors physiology in 1959 and completed a medical degree at McGill in 1963.

In 1965, Reich joined Washington University as a resident in the psychiatry department.

In 1969, he received a fellowship that enabled him to spend two years studying genetics at the University of Edinburgh. He returned to Washington University as an assistant professor of psychiatry in 1971.

He is a former psychiatrist-in-chief at The Jewish Hospital of St. Louis, a position he held until the hospital merged with Barnes Hospital and psychiatric services were placed under the umbrella of Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He also served as the director of the Barnes-Jewish Psychiatry Clinic.

Reich was the author of more than 200 scientific articles and a member of numerous scientific societies.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Wendy Reich, Ph.D., a research professor of child psychiatry in the School of Medicine; two children, Jonathan and Sarah; and a granddaughter.

Memorial contributions may be made in Reich’s name to the Department of Psychiatry, Wash-ington University School of Medicine, 660 S. Euclid Ave., Box 8134, St. Louis, MO 63110.

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