Yale Professor Deepens Ties with the University of São Paulo

April 8, 2014

After twenty years of collaboration, a Yale professor has received a doctoral degree from and is now a faculty advisor at one of the most prominent universities in Brazil.

On Wednesday April 9, 2014, Professor James F. Leckman, M.D., at Yale School of Medicine defended his doctoral thesis entitled “Phenomenology and Natural History of Tourette Syndrome” at the University of São Paulo (USP) Medical School. Receiving a doctoral degree from USP has enabled Professor Leckman to serve as an official faculty advisor for the university’s graduate programs in psychiatry.

Professor Leckman is the Neison Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pediatrics and served as the Director of Research for the Yale Child Study Center from 1983 to 2010. Since 1996, he has established a longstanding relationship with Brazilian researchers and professionals in child psychiatry through a wide array of collaborations such as faculty and trainee exchanges, scientific research, innovative outreach programs and advocacy efforts. He was instrumental in the initial conceptualization of the National Institute for Developmental Psychiatry (INPD) founded in 2008, a nation-wide effort to promote healthy development of children and adolescents in Brazil.

Beyond continuing and current collaborations, Professor Leckman’s doctoral degree allows him to become more deeply involved in University of São Paulo (USP)’s graduate programs through faculty academic advising and research funding applications. The rector of USP Marco Zago and the director of USP Medical School Professor Giovanni Guido Cerri attended Professor Leckman’s defense of the thesis which synthesized three of his previous studies on Tourette syndrome. The thesis defense was live streamed.

“The most important thing for me was watching our students absorb the way [Professor Leckman] cares about patients, his commitment to research issues relevant for our society, his enthusiasm in sharing all he knows, and his capacity to be pleased with the success of others,” said Professor Euripedes C. Miguel, Coordinator of INPD and Head of the department of Psychiatry at USP. “His way of developing new professionals and being a role model, naturally rather than intentionally, has been extremely effective in generating in his students, like me, the desire to be even just a little bit like him.”

See a photo gallery of Professor Leckman receiving his doctoral degree >>

Learn more about the Yale Child Study Center >>

- By So Yoon Sim