University of Pennslyvania Health Systems
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Contact:
Ellen O'Brien, (215) 349-5657 ellen.obrien@uphs.upenn.edu


August 13, 2003

Charles P. O'Brien, MD, PhD, Renowned Addictions Researcher, Receives Lifetime Achievement in Research Award

(Philadelphia, PA) -- Charles P. O'Brien, MD, PhD, Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Director of Psychiatric Research at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration Medical Center (VAMC), has been named the 2003 recipient of the Nathan B. Eddy Memorial Award for Lifetime Achievement in Research, in recognition of his extensive work in the field of addictions.

The Nathan B. Eddy Award is presented annually by the national College on Problems of Drug Dependence (CPDD), which is the oldest research society in the United States devoted to addressing issues of drug dependence and abuse. Eddy, for whom the achievement award is named, was a pioneer in drug-use studies.

"For decades, the College has been a major national presence in substance abuse research," O'Brien said. "I'm honored to be recognized for my work by such a prestigious and dedicated organization."

O'Brien is an expert in pre-clinical and clinical psychopharmacology; mechanisms of drug dependence; endogenous opiods; conditioning; and the pharmacological treatment of addictive disorders. He holds the Kenneth Appel Professorship of Psychiatry at Penn, and is Director of Penn's Center for Studies of Addiction. O'Brien founded the addiction treatment program at the Philadelphia VMAC in 1971; until 2002 he was also Chief of Psychiatry, responsible for the treatment of over 9,000 psychiatric patients. O'Brien's clinical research program has significantly advanced scientific understanding of addictive disorders. His group's findings, reported in more than 400 publications, address problems associated with the use and abuse of nicotine, alcohol, cocaine and heroin. O'Brien and his team have discovered new treatments for alcoholism and other addictive orders. They have created new methods for measuring addictive severity and they also evaluate various medications, and develop and test behavioral treatment strategies.

A native of New Orleans, O'Brien earned his MD and PhD at Tulane University. Before coming to Penn, he held residency positions in Medicine, Neurology and Psychiatry at Harvard University, Tulane, and the University of London. He was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences in 1991. He has received numerous national research awards as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Bordeaux. He is past President of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.2 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System (created in 1993 as the nation's first integrated academic health system).

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #4 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System consists of four hospitals (including its flagship Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation's "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report), a faculty practice plan, a primary-care provider network, three multispecialty satellite facilities, and home health care and hospice.


Release available online at http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/august03/obrien.htm