Wayne S. Fenton, MD, died in Washington, DC, on September 3, 2006. According to an announcement from the Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), Dr Fenton was the director of the division of adult translational research and associate director for clinical affairs at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Much of his work at the NIMH was geared to the development of new diagnostic instruments and interventions for mental illness, including schizophrenia. It was anticipated that improving cognitive impairment in persons with severe disorders would enable them to live in the community. In addition, as the NIMH liaison to the APA and the World Psychiatric Association, Dr Fenton helped shape the agenda for the forthcoming DSM-V.
In his private practice, Dr Fenton often treated the most seriously ill patients. The WPS-APA announcement stated: "His tragic death is a huge loss to the psychiatric community and to the nation." Thomas Insel, director of the NIMH, described him as, " . . . without question one of the nation's experts in schizophrenia." Dr Fenton's contributions to psychiatric research and dedication to improving the lives of the most seriously ill patients stand as his legacy.