Obituary: Russell R. Monroe, MD

By Bruce Hershfield, MD

[Fall 2003; Vol. 30, No. 1; Pg 9]

On April 4, 2003, Dr. Russell R. Monroe, former Chairman at the University of Maryland, died of pneumonia in San Francisco at age 82. Originally from Des Moines, he graduated from Yale, had psychiatric and psychoanalytic training at Columbia University, and finished a psychiatric residency at Rockland State Hospital in Orange, NY. After 10 years at Tulane, he came to the University of Maryland in 1960 and became Chairman of he Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior--a position he held until 1985. After stepping down as Chairman, he saw private patients until he moved to San Francisco, where his son is a psychiatrist, in 1998. Dr. Monroe, who was an expert on violence, epilepsy-like phenomena, and genius, wrote Episodic Behavioral Disorders: A Psychodynamic and Neurophysiologic Analysis and Brain Dysfunction in Aggressive Criminals, as well as numerous papers.

Dr. Gary Nyman commented about him, ”He was an intellect who was interested in trying to help people. He didn't ask for anything for himself.” Furthermore, Dr. Nyman said, Dr. Monroe was largely responsible for the shift of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center's emphasis to the study of schizophrenia, and he ensured that it would have the funding that made possible its many important contributions. William T. Carpenter, MD, its Director, stated, “Russ was a wonderful person and terrific benefactor for the MPRC. His testimony in Annapolis resulted in the transfer of scientific responsibility to the Department of Psychiatry. His steadfast devotion to the Center was critical to the successful development of science at the MPRC.”