The author earned his B.A. in biology, summa cum laude, from Brown University, and his PhD. in developmental biology at Rockefeller University. He is retired from a career in teaching and research at Purdue University’s Department of Biological Sciences. He and his colleagues have published more than 50 peer-reviewed research articles and two lab manuals, and received several School of Science and University awards for excellence in teaching. In retirement, he developed a course on mental illness for Purdue’s Honors College, on which this book is based.
The background for this course and book was acquired from years of volunteering for the National Alliance on Mental Illness Indiana (NAMI Indiana), first as a member of its public policy committee, and then as a member of its board of directors, five years of this as president of the board. During this time, he has interacted with many legislators, public defenders, judges, civic leaders, persons living with mental illness, and their loved ones. He has made many presentations about various aspects of mental illness to NAMI groups, as well as to civic, religious and other groups.
The beginnings of this book sprang from his participation with a NAMI group of academics, psychiatrists, and NAMI members in developing a program for the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, which had been having difficulties concerning its staff interacting incorrectly with inmates who were living with serious mental illness. The warden of the facility invited NAMI Indiana to try to help ameliorate this situation. The program that our group developed and presented was successful. The author’s contribution to this effort was to develop and present a section on the biological basis of mental illness.
In addition to his NAMI activities, the author sings bass in his church choir, supports the community’s Lafayette Master Chorale by selling ads for its concert program booklet, and has gotten back to his roots as a youthful printer working for his father at the Little Rhody Press by putting together this program booklet for many years.