Alan Siegel, chief of MIT Medical’s Mental Health and Counseling Service, will retire from his position after nearly 15 years of dedication to the MIT community. Medical Director Cecilia Stuopis made the announcement in an email last week to MIT Medical staff. Siegel will continue in his current role through 2016.
“During his tenure here, Alan has worked diligently to destigmatize mental health care and improve mental health outreach throughout the MIT community,” Stuopis wrote. “Through his efforts, service quality and access have improved.”
A native of Medford, Massachusetts, Siegel earned bachelor’s, master’s, and doctorate degrees from Boston University. He came to MIT in 2002 after more than 20 years at The Cambridge Hospital and the Cambridge Health Alliance, where, he says, “we worked to engage people where they lived and needed to be seen,” a service model he brought with him to the Institute. “At MIT, I wanted to focus on the whole community, on being where the need is,” he says, “not just working one-on-one with patients in the office.”
Stuopis cites the “collaborative approach” Siegel used in pursuing that goal by creating new partnerships and expanding existing connections between the Service and the rest of the Institute. For example, he asked clinicians to begin spending more time in their assigned student residences, talking with residents, doing regular presentations, and training staff and students on “how to know when somebody is in distress and what to do about it.”
Siegel’s ability to work cooperatively and to, as MIT Medical Psychiatrist Haleh Rokni put it, “create an environment where change could happen” earned him MIT’s 2013 "Bringing Out the Best" Excellence Award. “Alan is relentlessly optimistic about people and their potential to live full, successful, and connected lives,” Rokni says. “When I think of someone who brings out the best, I immediately think of him.”
According to Stuopis, MIT Medical is in the process of forming a search committee, which will be led by Associate Medical Director Howard Heller and will include individuals from MIT Medical as well as from the larger Institute community. “Ideally we’d like to have someone in place in time for the start of the fall semester,” she says, “but it’s hard to say how long it will take to fill the position. It’s a complicated process.”
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