Dr. McHugh was educated at Harvard College and Harvard Medical School with further training at the Peter Bent Brigham (now Brigham and Women’s) Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Institute of Psychiatry, University of London, and in the Division of Neuropsychiatry at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. After his training, he was eventually and successively Professor of Psychiatry at Cornell University School of Medicine, Clinical Director and Director of Residency Education at the New York Hospital Westchester Division; Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Oregon Health Sciences Center. He was Henry Phipps Professor and Director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1975-2001. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine named him University Distinguished Service Professor in 1998. Dr. McHugh was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences in 1992. In 2001, he was appointed by President Bush to the President’s Council on Bioethics and in 2002 by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to the National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Young People.
During his career, Dr. McHugh has pursued three interrelated aims: to create a model department of academic psychiatry by rendering explicit the conceptual structure of psychiatry and by demonstrating what this structure implies for patient care, education and research; to teach how the brain-mind problem is embedded in these concepts and how it affects the thought and actions of psychiatrists; and to investigate the “motivated” behaviors, such as hunger, thirst, sex, and sleep that are open in this era to multiple levels of analysis from molecular biology to social science. With his expertise, Dr. McHugh will bring an intriguing set of questions to the conversation of the Schmitt Lecture Series. Dr. McHugh’s most recent book is Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash over Meaning, Memory, and Mind. It is an account of the recent legal and psychiatric struggle over the repressed memory movement, a struggle in which Dr. McHugh played a significant role. It is also a plea for a more humane and well-grounded psychiatry.
Dr. McHugh’s Fall 2010 Schmitt Lecture, set to explore the moral dimensions of psychiatry, promises to be an outstanding addition to the Schmitt Lecture Series. The series honors the generosity of the Arthur J. Schmitt Foundation to the University of Notre Dame. It aims to provide occasions at which the Schmitt Fellows, graduate students in the Colleges of Science and Engineering, can join with other members of the Notre Dame community to reflect on the ethical, political and religious dimensions of the studies in which they are engaged.