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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 22, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 27
Eaton to Lead Department of Mental Health

William W. Eaton

William W. Eaton, a leading expert in the field of mental health, will chair the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A longtime faculty member, he has served as interim chair for the past two years.

"Professor Eaton has an international reputation as an outstanding researcher and teacher and has led the department successfully as interim chair," said Alfred Sommer, dean of the school. "In consultation with the school's other departmental chairs and deans, I concluded that a formal search for a new, permanent chair would prove time-consuming and disruptive and would be unlikely to identify someone as highly regarded and successful as Professor Eaton."

Eaton's research has focused on the risk factors and consequences of severe mental disorders. He has conducted research on the incidence, natural history and risk factors for schizophrenia using data from psychiatric case registers from around the world. He also investigated more common mental disorders, such as major depressive disorder and the anxiety disorders, in the context of the Baltimore Epidemiologic Catchment Area Follow-Up, a 20-year cohort study. His research team determined that major depressive disorder was predictive of the new occurrence of important physical conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke and breast cancer.

Currently, he is focusing his reserch on the relationship of autoimmune diseases to schizophrenia, autism and bipolar disorder, in collaboration with a team of investigators from Denmark.

Eaton joined the faculty of the School of Public Health in 1983. He previously served as assistant chief of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies at the National Institute of Mental Health and, prior to that, was an assistant professor of sociology at McGill University in Montreal. Eaton earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


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