Message From The Chair

Dr. Pliszka
Steven R. Pliszka, M.D.

The Department of Psychiatry at UT Health San Antonio opened its doors in 1965, under the leadership of Robert Leon, M.D. and five founding faculty. Under Dr. Leon, the Department developed a reputation for excellence in the education of psychiatrists, which is what brought me to San Antonio in 1977 as a medical student. After my residency in psychiatry I joined the faculty in 1986, working with James Maas, M.D. and Charles Bowden, M.D. (who became the Department’s second Chair in 1996) on the neurochemistry of mental disorders. It is extraordinary to me how our research has changed in the last 30 years. Having served as the Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry since 1995, it is now my honor and privilege to serve as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.

Today the Department has 86 faculty and over 100 staff working in education, research and clinical services:

  • Advances in brain imaging and genetics are helping our search for the causes of mental disorders
  • Using established treatments more effectively and developing new interventions
  • Expanding our clinical services through UT Medicine and ongoing development of partnerships in the community
  • STRONG STAR is researching new treatments for service men and women suffering the effects of combat stress. Research in this area will also benefit victims of civilian trauma.

Our faculty is dedicated to educating the next generation of mental health professionals. Our residents in psychiatry and psychology graduate ready to face whatever clinical challenge may arise. We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with the San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC), with whom we have a joint residency in general psychiatry.

The road to understanding mental illness will be long. For patients, the struggle for successful treatment outcome can be fierce. Upon his announcement of an initiative to go to the moon, John Kennedy talked about choosing to do things, “. . . not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” The Department of Psychiatry will do these hard things, and we will strive to do them well.