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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Mourns the Passing of Dr. Paula Clayton

14 Sep 2021 — 1 min read

By Robert Gebbia, AFSP Chief Executive Officer


Paula Clayton, M.D.

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Dr. Clayton served as AFSP’s Chief Medical Officer from 2006 to 2013 and was instrumental in helping to expand AFSP’s suicide prevention research and its educational programs. She worked closely with AFSP’s scientific community, as well as its growing network of chapters across the country to increase their suicide prevention skills and effectiveness.

Dr. Clayton joined AFSP after a distinguished career in psychiatry, which included serving as the Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota for over two decades. Dr. Clayton has the distinction of being a true pioneer for women in medicine after being admitted to medical school in 1956 when women comprised less than 3% of medical students. She went on to have a distinguished clinical and research career focused on mood disorders and bereavement and became the first woman in the U.S. to chair a major academic department of psychiatry.

Among her many accomplishments while CMO at AFSP, was her leadership in developing AFSP’s first school-based educational program, More Than Sad and establishing AFSP’s collaboration with the International Academy for Suicide Research (IASR), which led to the bi-annual AFSP/ IASR International Suicide Research Summit.

Dr. Clayton’s expertise, drive and passion for preventing suicide was unparalleled and her work as Chief Medical Officer advanced AFSP’s mission and saved lives.

Dr. Clayton will be missed.

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