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Dr. Bruce Ballard

Psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Ballard was born in Waverly Hills, Kentucky, on December 19, 1939. The youngest of four children, Ballard was the son of a physician and a secretary. Ballard attended Yale University, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1960, and went on to Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, earning an M.D. in 1964.

Ballard began his career in Chicago, Illinois, performing his internship at Michael Reese Hospital from 1964 to 1965. From there, he began his residency at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, where he remained for three years. Joining the Air Force in 1968, Ballard was sent to Hawaii's Hickam Air Force Base as the chief of mental health services, and after completing his service, he returned to New York in 1970. Taking a position at the Harlem Hospital Center, he was involved in the training of students performing their residencies. Ballard took a position with New York Hospital-Westchester in 1976 as the associate director of the Adult Outpatient Department and later as the coordinator of the residency program. In 1981, Ballard was hired by Cornell University as the associate dean for equal opportunity programs, and today he still works in that capacity as well as serving as the associate dean for student affairs. He has also maintained a private practice since 1972.

Ballard has been the director of the Travelers Summer Research Fellowship Program since 1981. The program aims to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities enrolled in medical school programs through hands-on experience at partner universities. Ballard has also been active on a number of committees, and has chaired the Committee of Black Psychiatrists of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Selection and Advisory Committee for the National Institute of Mental Health Minority Fellowship Program of the APA. He has published numerous scholarly articles, served on the editorial boards of several textbooks, and given presentations to various groups on ethnicity and psychiatry. The Air Force presented him with a Commendation Medal in 1970, and the APA presented him with the Nancy C.A. Roeske, M.D. Award for Excellence in Medical Student Education in 2001. Ballard and his wife, Eleanor, live in New York. They have two children.

Accession Number

A2003.218

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/19/2003

Last Name

Ballard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Occupation
Schools

Yale University

Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

First Name

Bruce

Birth City, State, Country

Waverly Hills

HM ID

BAL01

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Kentucky

Favorite Vacation Destination

Sarasota, Florida

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/19/1939

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Shrimp

Short Description

Psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Ballard (1939 - ) was the associate dean of student services and equal opportunity at Cornell University.

Employment

Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii

Department of Psychiatry, Harlem Hospital

New York Hospital-Westchester

Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research

Cornell University Medical College

Delete

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Dr. Bruce Ballard narrates his photographs

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Slating of Dr. Bruce Ballard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Bruce Ballard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about his father's family history, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about his father's family history, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Waverly Hills, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Bruce Ballard recalls his early childhood education

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains the intellectual and social environment of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the racial segregation in Louisville, Kentucky during his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Bruce Ballard remembers the African American community of his childhood in Louisville, Kentucky

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains his father's efforts to combat tuberculosis

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Bruce Ballard recalls his time at Louisville Central High School in Louisville, Kentucky during the 1950s

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the impact of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains how he decided to attend Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the demographics of the class of 1960 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his experiences at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Bruce Ballard recalls his trips to New York, New York as a college student

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about how he spent his summers during college and his graduation from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Bruce Ballard recalls entering Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York, New York in 1960

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the coursework that interested him at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about his early interest in studying psychiatry

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains his decision to specialize in psychiatry

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about the origins and evolution of psychiatry

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his residency at New York State Psychiatric Institute

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about Dr. Elizabeth Davis

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about the New York State Psychiatric Institute and HistoryMaker Dr. Alvin Poussaint

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains how he was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii in 1968

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the population he treated at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Bruce Ballard recalls lessons learned while a psychiatrist at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his analytic training

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about his tenure as chair of Harlem Hospital's psychiatric residency training program

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about the APA and Cornell University's New York-Presbyterian Hospital's Westchester Division

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains how he became associate dean for minority affairs at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York, New York

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Bruce Ballard details his work as the associate dean for minority affairs at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Bruce Ballard details his work as the associate dean for minority affairs at Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains his cross-cultural approach to psychiatry

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about the current focus on cultural competence in the field of medicine

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Bruce Ballard speculates about his future pursuits

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains the need for African American psychiatric educators

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Dr. Bruce Ballard shares his views on integration

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Bruce Ballard talks about advances in the field of psychiatry

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Bruce Ballard explains why he would enter psychiatry again

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Bruce Ballard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his parents' impression of his career

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$4

DAStory

5$1

DATitle
Dr. Bruce Ballard describes the population he treated at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii
Dr. Bruce Ballard describes his residency at New York State Psychiatric Institute
Transcript
In a nutshell, there were these kinds of problems. First, a lot of youth problems. This is the late '60s [1960s]. This is the era of protests against the war [Vietnam War]. There were a number of young people who signed up for the [U.S.] Air Force. When you signed up for the Air Force, you signed up for four years. A number of young people did that to avoid being drafted into the [U.S.] Army, which was a two-year commitment, but could mean being shot at in a ditch in Vietnam, quite frankly (laughter). So, they signed with the Air Force. There, you were at least at the Air Force Base. And the Air Force has a different structure in terms of the--of how it works. In the Air Force, your pilots are officers. People who fly planes are officers. Your other people in the Air Force are what are called support troops. The primary mission is to keep the planes going so that this means that you're not going to be in a battlefield so much as a sergeant or whatever it is in the Air Force 'cause you're gonna be at the base involved in some aspect of keeping the whole thing going. So, some young people were savvy enough to realize this, that it was literally less dangerous for you if you were in the Air Force and got into the Air Force. However, for some young people, this meant four years. And a nineteen-year-old, nineteen to twenty-three, or twenty to twenty-four, can give many young people that this is taking some of the best years of my life (laughter). This is taking my youth, so you saw a lot of youth problems of people who are kind of sorry that they did it. Maybe it would have been better to take a chance to be drafted. Should I go to Canada, you know? I hate this war in the first place. We shouldn't be in it, so there were a lot of problems like that. A second set of emotional problems had to do with people who had been in the military and were on the verge of getting out of the military having done twenty years. And these were people who were often officers and they were now forty-five or forty-six. And if you didn't make certain promotional cuts in the military, you wouldn't get any farther. You would be just be discharged with some retirement pension perhaps. But in other words, if you were a lieutenant colonel, didn't make colonel, you were processed out at that twenty-year period. So, you couldn't stay on any longer, so this meant colonel so-and-so was going to a civilian world where you are Mr. so-and-so, and in your mid-forties. And they didn't know what was out there or whether or not they could make it in the "real world", so to speak.$$So were the--were you actually seeing people or were you doing more administration? Were you--$$No, I was seeing--I was taking care of them.$$You were, you were taking care--$$I was taking care of patients.$$Okay. So did you find that, that like on the colonel-level that they were like--I don't want to talk to you.$$Oh, no, no.$$You didn't have any of that--none of that?$$Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.$$Okay, okay.$$No, people who are emotionally hurting want to see somebody who might help them.$$That's true, that's true.$$So--$$That's true. But you hear some of these stories sometimes--$$Yeah.$$Okay. I mean you do.$You were explaining that you were doing your residency--$$Um-hm.$$--at New York State Psychiatric Institute [New York, New York]--$$Yeah, um-hm, Columbia [University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York].$$--which is essentially Columbia University.$$Yeah.$$So you were saying and that, so you said that the focus was on, you know, the--I mean, what are the prevailing theories--$$Um-hm.$$--as you come out, you know, that are sort of prevailing terms of treatment?$$Um-hm, okay. Well, a lot of programs of that time were too tight. If you went to a kind of academic program that was university-based, and particularly, if it were a program in the East, there were, there were programs at say, Columbia, Albert Einstein [College of Medicine, New York, New York], where you largely worked with very ill psychiatric patients who were in the hospital a long time. And you had a cadre of supervisors who were training you in kind of psychodynamic methods. In this instance, they were usually psychoanalysts, so that I would say my own training had a distinct sort of dynamic and analytic focus. Partly because at that time, although we had some psychopharmacologic interventions available to us, there were three or four antidepressants. That was about it. There were several kind of medications that you could use in schizophrenia. That was about it. There were limitations in terms of what we could do. And in a training program like that, you certainly learn how to use those medications in an attempt to treat certain symptoms. But you were still very focused on, there must be some other sets of dynamic issues to explain why this person is presenting with the symptoms that they have. So it was really a combination, and heavily under an analytic emphasis. And for Columbia at the time, there was kind of always a message out there that the best of you in the residency will apply to the Analytic Institute [ph.] and become the best of psychiatrists. So that there was kind of the philosophy that if you really wanted a depth to understanding of things, you had become a psychoanalyst.$$Okay.$$And at the time, there's no question. It was probably the best education that we would term depth psychology, yes.