Analyzing Trump, and recommendation for BMC

To the editor:

Our neighbor senator to the north, Bernie Sanders, quipped that his interest in funding mental health could best be justified by looking at the field of Republican presidential hopefuls. As that field has narrowed down, so perhaps has the scope of psychiatric diagnosis.

The following are the official diagnostic statistics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder: * Has a grandiose sense of self-importance. * Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power,brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. * Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions). * Requires excessive admiration. * Has a sense of entitlement, i.e. unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectation.

* Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends. * Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. * Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her. * Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

Pseudologia (pathological lying), probably fits Mr. Trump more than Mr. Cruz, but paranoia? An Ivy League education does not insure against narrow-minded unlikeability in either. Would each make funding mental health a priority if it entailed looking in the mirror?

The Berkshires benefit from two noted psychiatric institutions — Austen Riggs in Stockbridge and Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. While the former several years ago had a world famous psychiatrist in Beatriz Foster, M.D who later left and moved to Los Angeles, it has never had a female medical director.


BMC seems very "Hillary" with a medical psychiatric staff of 12 including the following 11 women: Lara Aillon-Sohl, MD, University of Guadalajara; Phyllis Atwell, MD, UNC Chapel HIll; Brenda Butler, MD, Medical College of Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Donlon, MD, Brown; Leslie Fishbein, MD, University of Pennsylvania; Liliana Markovic. MD University of Belgrade; Jennifer Michaels, MD, NYU; Sharon Mozian, MD, University of Colorado; Mary O'Malley, MD, Cornell; Melinda Randall, MD, Columbia; Linda Smothers, MD, Tufts; and Shahrzad Yamini, National University of Iran, Tehran.

In my time of association with Berkshire Medical Center since 1971, the institution has had three male chiefs of psychiatry and one male associate chief who has retained his association with UMass, but has not been part of the active staff of the department of psychiatry for 20 years, What gives?

The current chief of psychiatry, described as a "psychiatric tornado" by his deputy chief of staff Dr. Jenny Michaels, has expanded psychiatric services but seemingly "trumped" any female advancing to be his successor.

Male child psychiatry patients traditionally outnumber girl patients about 3:1, while the reverse ratio holds true for adults. Although it may be difficult to fill the current psychiatrist-in-chief, Dr. Alex Sabo and the excellent path he has taken for Pittsfield and Berkshire County, perhaps it is time for BMC to consider a woman for its top psychiatric position.

David H. Lippman, Great Barrington David H. Lippman, M.D, MPH, is a life fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, a psychiatric intern at Berkshire Medical Center/Austen Riggs and a former BMC part-time psychiatrist 15 years ago.