Distinguished Alumni Award 


James. F. Leckman '69


June 2001


James F. Leckman received his bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from Wooster in 1969. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Leckman returned to his home town of Albuquerque, N.M., where he attended medical school at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. He earned the M.D. in 1973 and proceeded to an internship at the USPHS Marine Hospital in San Francisco. He then was a clinical associate with the National Institute of Mental Health from 1974 to 1976.

In 1976, Leckman went to the Yale University School of Medicine as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Psychiatry. He has been at Yale ever since and is currently the Neison Harrison Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics at Yale. He serves as the Director of Research at the Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine — a position he assumed in 1983. During his tenure in this post, the Center has emerged as one of the major sites for child psychiatric research nationally.

Leckman's specific research interests include the interaction of genes and environment in the development of the human central nervous system. Areas of research include Tourette's syndrome and Obsessive-compulsive disorder. His research on these disorders is multifaceted æ from phenomenology, to neurobiology, to genetics, to risk factor research, to treatment studies. His research has been supported by a program project grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) since 1992 and smaller grants from the Tourette Syndrome Association and other private foundations. In 1999, he authored with Dr. Donald J. Cohen, Tourette's Syndrome: Tics, Obsessions, Compulsions æ Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Care, published by John Wiley & Sons.

Recent interests include the application of Darwinian principles of evolution to the study of psychopathology. Among other activities, Leckman currently serves as a corresponding editor for the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and as a deputy editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology.

Leckman is the recipient of many professional honors including the Blanche E. Ittleson Award for Research in Child Psychiatry awarded by the American Psychiatric Association in 1995. He has been selected on five occasions as the Outstanding Research Mentor by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists. He was elected to membership in the American College of Psychiatrists in 1991 and is a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychology, and the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology. He is a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Leckman's service to Wooster has included his membership on the Alumni Board and his participation as an Alumni Admissions Representative. For the past three years, Leckman, in collaboration with Dr. Linda Mayes, has taught an undergraduate seminar at Yale College that seeks to integrate the principles of evolutionary biology, ethology, and developmental neuroscience with the study of psychopathology. Based on student evaluations, this course is one of the most highly rated courses offered in the Department of Psychology at Yale.

Leckman and Hannah Hone Leckman '69 are the parents of two children, Emily Beth and Peter Edwin.