Milestones in neurology and psychiatry

1919 – 1960

1919 Department of Neurology, housed in the original University Hospital, established as the first academic neurology department west of the Mississippi River and the third in the U.S. Clarence Van Epps is the first chair of neurology (1919-1948).

1919 Iowa Legislature appropriates funds for the Iowa Psychopathic Hospital, which opens in 1921 as the first university-affiliated psychiatric department west of the Mississippi.

1920 Samuel T. Orton is the first chair of psychiatry (1920-1928). He is a pioneer in the identification of dyslexia.

1928 Andrew H. Woods is named chair of psychiatry (1928-1941). He integrates the neurology and psychiatry departments, and develops a psychiatry course for law students after observing patients accused of crimes where mental illness is a contributing factor.

1930s Neurology’s residency program is one of the first to earn accreditation.

1936 Electroencephalography (EEG) Lab established, one of only six labs in the U.S.

1941 Wilbur Miller is named chair of psychiatry (1941-1955). He initiates training for primary care physicians to treat mental illness.

1955 Paul E. Huston is named chair of psychiatry (1955-1971). He is among the first to show the effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in treating severe depression and preventing suicide.

1957 NIH Cooperative Aneurysm Study begins at the UI. It is the first multi-institution, prospective, and randomized study of neurological disease.

1960 Adolph Sahs, chair of neurology (1948-1974) and co-founder of the American Academy of Neurology, serves as president of the American Academy of Neurology, American Neurological Association, and American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

1963 – 1986

1963 Children’s Psychiatric Hospital opens.

1971 George Winokur is named chair of psychiatry (1971-1990). He emphasizes data-driven categorization of psychiatric illness and conducts one of the first modern studies to document the course of major mental disorders, called the Iowa 500.

1974 Maurice Van Allen is named chair of neurology (1974-1985). With clinical expertise in neurosurgery and neurology, he leads the department during a period of rapid growth.

1978 Benton Laboratory of Neuropsychology is dedicated in honor of Arthur L. Benton, who created neuropsychological testing instruments, including the Benton Visual Retention Test.

1980s UI team led by Jose Biller and Harold Adams collaborates with the University of Cincinnati to develop the NIH Stroke Scale, which becomes the standard scale used worldwide.

1982 Iowa Neurological Patient Registry established by Antonio R. Damasio, Hanna Damasio, and Daniel Tranel. The unique registry collects brain scans, medical histories, and lesion maps for thousands of patients and invites active members to participate in cognitive research studies.

1983 Sleep Disorders Center established.

1985 Antonio R. Damasio is named chair of neurology (1985-2005). He is known for formulating the somatic marker hypothesis, a theory about how emotions and their biological underpinnings are involved in decision-making.

1985 Medical psychiatry inpatient unit opens—one of the few in the U.S. providing a unique mix of internal medicine and psychiatric expertise.

1986 Nancy Andreasen leads the first study to use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify brain abnormalities in mental illnesses, specifically schizophrenia.

1990 – 2007

1990 Robert Robinson is named chair of psychiatry (1990-2011). He is among the first to identify the role of untreated post-stroke depression, and he makes valuable discoveries about how certain regions of the brain play a role in depression.

1991 Introductory Textbook of Psychiatry by Donald Black and Nancy Andreasen is published.

1995 UI faculty develop Systems Training for the Emotional Predictability and Problem Solving (STEPPS) program for borderline personality disorder, which is used by mental health care providers around the world.

1995 Assertive Community Treatment Program developed to care for people living in the community with severe and persistent mental illness. In-home visits with patients reduce their need for hospitalization and help them live independently.

1999 Acute Stroke Care and Monitoring unit established to provide high-level nursing care. The unit becomes a model for stroke care around the U.S.

2000 Nancy Andreasen receives the National Medal of Science, the highest U.S. award for scientific achievement.

2001 Jane Paulsen awarded NIH funding for a landmark multisite study of subjects at risk for Huntington’s disease. PREDICT-HD runs for more than 12 years, enrolling 1,500 subjects at 32 sites worldwide.

2001 Balance Disorders Clinic established, the only one in the region and today one of the few in the nation.

2002 Jun Kimura appointed to a three-year term as president of the World Federation of Neurology. He is a major international figure in the development of electrophysiology and the interpretation of electromyography and nerve conduction velocity tests (EMG/NCV).

2007 Robert Rodnitzky is named chair of neurology (2007-2010). He is known for helping to translate developmental drugs into treatments for disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and built the movement disorders clinic into one of the best in the U.S.

2007 UI joins the National Association of Epilepsy Centers as a Level 4 program.

2010 – present

2010 George Richerson is named chair of neurology. He establishes the department as collaborative leaders in epilepsy, neurogenetic, and neuromuscular research.

2010 William Talman appointed to a one-year term as president of the Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology. He is a world authority on normal function and diseases of the autonomic nervous system.

2010 UI recognized as Centers of Excellence for Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s disease.

2011 James Potash is named chair of psychiatry (2011-2017). His research examines common and rare genetic variants involved in mood disorders.

2011 Molecular Psychiatry Division created to encourage collaborations among researchers looking into molecular causes of psychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia, autism, depression, and bipolar disorder.

2011 NIH-funded Clinical Neuroscientist Training Program established.

2012 Telestroke program launched to better serve rural Iowans in need of aneurysm care.

2012 Charcot-Marie-Tooth Consortium, a collaboration of 21 sites worldwide, is headquartered at UI.

2013 UI Hospitals & Clinics certified as an Advanced Certification Comprehensive Stroke Center.

2014 UI starts neurogenetics program.

2016 Transformational $45 million grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust establishes the Iowa Neuroscience Institute as a collaborative research hub, led by Ted Abel, an expert on the molecular mechanisms of memory storage.

2016 Iowa Brain Stimulation Program introduces transcranial magnetic stimulation for treatment-resistant depression.

2018 Peggy Nopoulos becomes the first female chair of psychiatry. Affiliated with the UI since she was a medical student, she now runs a robust neuroimaging lab focusing on brain development and behavior and treats patients with Huntington’s disease and Myotonic Dystrophy.

2018 UI Hospitals & Clinics opens Crisis Stabilization Unit to treat patients experiencing psychiatric emergencies. It is the first facility of its kind in Iowa.