Scott Rauch, MD, felt a natural connection to Major John Shaw Billings, MD, after learning he would be the 2014 recipient of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine’s Billings Alumni Leadership Award.
"As military health has been one theme of my own work, it enhanced my sense of affinity for Dr. Billings, along with the UC connection of course,” Rauch said. Rauch has extensively studied and treated military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and Billings, an 1860 graduate of the Medical College of Ohio (the forerunner of today’s UC College of Medicine), was a Civil War surgeon who also spent 30 years in the Army Surgeon’s General’s office.
Still, Rauch confessed he was unaware Billings was a fellow alumnus and knew nothing of his wide-ranging achievements when Thomas Boat, MD, dean of the College of Medicine, called to inform him he would receive the award.
"Honestly, I did not know about Dr. Billings until Dean Boat spoke with me about the award. It prompted me to learn more about his career contributions and his place in history,” Rauch said. "It is astounding what he accomplished across such a wide array of subject areas! I always admire pioneers, and he was clearly a brilliant leader who implemented transformational change broadly, from military health, to architecture, to an indexing system that revolutionized the organization of medical literature.”
Boat acknowledged Rauch as a transformational medical leader and as an exemplary role model for the college’s 2014 graduates. Boat created the Billings Award last year to annually recognize an alumnus for a career of extraordinary leadership and contributions to medical progress. Recipients also deliver the commencement address at the medical school’s annual Honors Day.
Rauch received his medical degree from UC in 1987. Today he is the president and psychiatrist in chief at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass., one of the nation’s premier psychiatric hospitals and research facilities. Rauch also is professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Previously, Rauch served as associate chief of psychiatry for neuroscience research at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was the founding director of the Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and the hospital’s division of psychiatric neuroscience research and neurotherapeutics. He also was director of the division of behavioral and mental health at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
"I take pride in the positive impact I feel that I have had,” Rauch said. "While there is nothing more gratifying than helping an individual patient or family, as my career has progressed, my roles have evolved to try and be helpful through the multiplying effects of advancing science through research, mentoring others, and by developing programs, or most recently implementing a vision for McLean Hospital. Ultimately, I have been most fulfilled by seeing people and programs grow, especially when I have felt some responsibility for those positive changes.”
"Dr. Rauch is a highly respected investigator and very quickly became a leader in his field,” Boat noted. "His success opened the door to leadership opportunities for him at the top psychiatric hospital. He is influential in his field and obviously one of the leading clinicians and investigators in the country.”
Rauch received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College. After graduating from UC he completed his psychiatry residency training and a radiology research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He has received numerous awards during his career, including the 2004 Joel Elkes International Award for Outstanding Contributions to Clinical and Translational Psychopharmacology Research from the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and the 2014 Joint Award for Research Mentorship from the American Psychiatric Association and American Association of Chairs of Departments of Psychiatry.
Rauch has served as president of the Society of Biological Psychiatry, sat on numerous expert panels and authored nearly 400 scientific papers and book chapters.
"I am very grateful for the quality of education I received at the UC College of Medicine. In particular, UC does an exceptional job of training its students to become outstanding compassionate physicians. I firmly believe that the clinical training is second to none. I was also fortunate to have extraordinary research mentors at UC during that early phase of my career,” Rauch said. "I feel so privileged to have trained with such wonderfully dedicated classmates, teachers and mentors at UC.’
Billings was internationally known as a physician, medical librarian, public health innovator, educator and researcher. He advocated for changes in pre-, undergraduate and graduate medical education that are today standards of medical education. He directed the Army Surgeon General’s Library growing it into today’s National Library of Medicine, created Index Medicus cataloging current medical literature and published the 16-volume Index Catalog. He designed and oversaw construction of Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and also planned Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston. After he retired from the Army Billings was selected in 1896 as the first director of the New York Public Library.