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Institute for Innovative Education

papers of john romano


John Romano (1908-1994) was the first Chairman of the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, serving in that capacity from 1946 until 1971. During the course of a career that spanned nearly six decades, Dr. Romano played an influential role in American psychiatry and in the development of medical and psychiatric education.

Biographical Data & Sources

John Romano was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 20 November 1908. He was the son of Nicolo Vincenzo Romano (1873-1957), a native of Calabria, and of Frances Louise (Notari) Romano (1886-1957), whose family was of Tuscan origin. For most of his life, Nicolo Romano taught music at the Wisconsin College of Music in Milwaukee. There his son attended public grammar school, Riverside High School, and Marquette University, from which he received his B.S. in 1932. John Romano married Miriam Modesitt (1910-1989) in Milwaukee on 13 May 1933. They had one son, David Gilman Romano (b. 1946). John Romano suffered a stroke and was admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital where he died on 19 June 1994.

Studies and Career

  • 1932-1933 : Student extern in psychiatry in the Milwaukee County Asylum for Mental Diseases.
  • 1933-1934 : Intern in medicine at Milwaukee County Hospital.
  • 1934 : John Romano received his medical degree from Marquette University
  • 1934-1935 : Dr. Romano served as an intern and assistant resident in psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine Hospital.
  • 1935-1938 : Commonwealth Fund Fellow in the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Assistant Psychiatrist at the Colorado Psychopathic Hospital (Denver).
  • 1938-1939 : Received a Rockefeller Fellowship in Neurology at Boston City Hospital.
  • 1939-1942 : Sigmund Freud Fellow in Psychoanalysis at the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute, Instructor in Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, and Associate in Medicine (Psychiatry/Neurology) at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.
  • 1941 : was chosen to be Professor and Chairman of the Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and Director of the Psychiatric Service in the Cincinnati General Hospital.
  • 1942 : Assumed these duties.
  • 1943-1944 : Consultant in Neurology and Psychiatry to the Eighth Service Command of the United States Army.
  • April through July 1945 : Served in Europe as a Special Consultant in Psychiatry to the United States Army.
  • 1946 : Appointed Chairman of the newly established Dept. of Psychiatry at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry. During Dr. Romano's chairmanship Rochester became one of the premier psychiatric departments in the nation, and was regarded as a national model for psychiatric training.
  • 1949 : Supervised the construction of R-Wing, one of the first psychiatric facilities in the nation to be built as an integral part of a university hospital.
  • 1968 : was made Distinguished University Professor of Psychiatry and Chairman, one of only two such appointments among Medical Center faculty.

Professional Activities

Dr. Romano was involved in the work of numerous organizations, committees, journals and foundations.

  • 1946-1949: Served as general vice-chairman of the Advisory Board on Health Services of the American Red Cross.
  • 1946-1949: was a founding member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the United States Public Health Service.
  • 1949-1952: Served on the Training Committee on Psychiatry of the National Institute of Mental Health.
  • 1949-1954: Was member of the Board of Overseers Committee for the Harvard Medical School.
  • 1956-1961: Chaired the Mental Health Fellowship Grant Committee of the NIMH.
  • 1959-1961: Was a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the National Science Foundation.
  • 1962: Was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
  • 1981-1989: Was a member of the Board of Health for the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine and served on numerous committees and planning groups for the Ford Foundation, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, etc.

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