Mourning the Loss of Psychiatrist, Scientist Elizabeth Weller, MD
The field of child and adolescent psychiatry is critical for the emotional and behavioral health of children and teens who may suffer from myriad disorders, including depression and anxiety.
The field lost a distinguished practitioner and investigator in 2009 when Elizabeth Weller, MD, passed away after a lengthy battle with breast cancer.
A national leader in research on child and adolescent psychiatry, including mood and anxiety disorders, depression, and bereavement, Dr. Weller focused on the proper diagnosis and pharmacological treatment of depressive disorders and mania in children and adolescents.
As part of her research she helped to develop Children’s Interview for Psychiatric Syndromes (ChIPS), a brief interview of succinct, simply worded questions used to screen children for a variety of psychiatric conditions, and the parent section of the interview, known as PChIPS.
Dr. Weller also served as the principal investigator of multiple clinical research studies examining the appropriate treatment of psychological conditions, such as assessing the safety and efficacy of medications in children and adolescents with bipolar disorder, comparing treatments for major depressive disorder, and evaluating treatments for atypical depression.
An extraordinarily productive and highly acclaimed child psychiatrist, Dr. Weller served with distinction as a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at Children’s Hospital. She was the first chair of the Hospital’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the first woman to hold an endowed professorship in psychiatry.
Her work positioned her to lead by example as an exemplary teacher, mentor, and clinician beloved by her trainees as well as her patients and their families.
With much perseverance and appreciation for her care at the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Weller prevailed over breast cancer for many years while continuing to attend to her research, academic activities, and clinical care, rarely missing a single day of work until the time of her death.