Penn Addictions Expert, Charles P. O’Brien,
MD, PhD, Receives Prestigious, International Honor
Delivering ‘The Anatomy Lesson’ Dates Back to the 16th
PA) – Charles P. O’Brien, MD, PhD, Vice Chair,
Department of Psychiatry and Director, Center for the Study of Addictions
at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
and Director of Psychiatric Research at the Philadelphia Veteran’s
Administration Medical Center (VAMC), has been invited by the Academisch
Medisch Centrum (Academic Medical Center) and the University of Amsterdam
in Holland to present The Anatomy Lesson – a tradition
dating back to the 16th century.
The modern Anatomy Lesson is a weeklong event consisting of a
presentation by an internationally prominent scientist of a subject on
the cutting edge of science to the people of Amsterdam. This year’s
topic is addiction. The tradition started in 1563 as a way to educate
the Amsterdam community about science – specifically, anatomy –
with the hopes of reaching those not formally enrolled in school. It was
revived in the 20th century and formalized through the Medical Center.
This event is a community affair marked by weeklong series of events leading
up to The Anatomy Lesson.
This year’s lecture, to be held on November 18th, will address the
potential benefits of recent neurobiological findings in addiction research
for the treatment of alcoholism and other forms of drug dependency. Dr.
O’Brien will be presenting the work of his team at the Philadelphia
VAMC and Penn’s Department of Psychiatry dealing with brain mechanisms
of addiction and the development of new treatments for these disorders.
“I am humbled by the people of Amsterdam for choosing me to continue
the tradition this year. This is a society that values learning and believes
everyone should have an equal chance in bettering themselves,” says
Dr. O’Brien. “Addiction is a modern problem facing the whole
world. It’s wonderful to have an opportunity like this to actively
share what you know with people who want to learn it. We all have the
capacity to become addicted and we are all affected by it in one way or
Dr. O’Brien’s presentation will be given at the prestigious
Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and will be attended by an audience of approximately
2000 doctors, biomedical researchers, health professionals, members of
the Government and Parliament, civil servants, journalists, students and
interested members of the community.
This presentation will be heard beyond the lecture hall as the lecture
receives national attention from the Dutch paper, The Volkskrant.
As is the tradition, the occasion will also include a concert by the Symphony
Orchestra of Amsterdam and a presentation by city officials of the new
pieces of art purchased by the city this year.
PENN Medicine is a $2.7 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
Penn’s School of Medicine is ranked #3 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
Penn Health System is comprised of: its flagship hospital, the Hospital
of the University of Pennsylvania, consistently rated one of the nation’s
“Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Pennsylvania
Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a
faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty
satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.