February 29, 2024

Statement on the departure of National Institute of Mental Health Director Dr. Joshua Gordon

Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.

It is with immense gratitude for his contributions to NIH that I announce the departure of Joshua A. Gordon, M.D., Ph.D., director of NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Dr. Gordon is expected to depart from NIMH on June 14, 2024, to return to Columbia University, New York City, as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons and Psychiatrist-in-Chief of the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital campus at Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Gordon also will serve as director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI).

Prior to joining NIMH in 2016, Dr. Gordon served as an associate professor of Psychiatry at Columbia and as a research psychiatrist at NYSPI. In addition to his research, Dr. Gordon was an associate director of the Columbia University/NYSPI Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, where he directed the neuroscience curriculum and administered the research programs for residents. Dr. Gordon also maintained a psychiatric practice, caring for patients living with mental illnesses.

As a visionary psychiatrist and neuroscientist, Dr. Gordon brought this perspective to his role as director of NIMH, the lead federal agency for research on mental illnesses. For the past eight years, Dr. Gordon has overseen an extensive portfolio of basic, translational and clinical research that aims to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses. Among many other priorities, he focused on enhancing suicide prevention research, expanding efforts in neural circuit research to include translation efforts and increasing our investments in computational psychiatry to bring a broader array of mathematical and theoretical approaches to mental health research.

Under Dr. Gordon's leadership, NIMH has made sizable research contributions to mental health practice and services, such as new medications and other interventions, screening and risk reduction and the rapid evolution of telemedicine, which was put to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on foundational NIMH research, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved novel medications for treatment-resistant depression and postpartum depression. Working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, NIMH helped establish the Accelerating Medicines Partnership Schizophrenia, a public-private partnership to generate tools that aim to considerably improve success in developing early stage interventions for patients at risk of developing schizophrenia. These and numerous other efforts speak to Dr. Gordon’s inspiring leadership. While much remains to be done, especially in the face of the crises in youth mental health and opiate overdoses, the future for NIH-conducted and -supported mental health research is strong.

I will miss Dr. Gordon’s passion, commitment, unwavering voice and compassion for advancing mental health. He truly embodies the NIMH and NIH missions and keeps sight of the millions of people we serve through medical research.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Gordon in his new role, where he will undoubtedly continue making outsized contributions to mental health. Following Dr. Gordon’s departure and while we conduct a national search for a replacement, Shelli Avenevoli, Ph.D., currently serving as the NIMH Deputy Director, has graciously agreed to serve as the Acting NIMH Director.

Monica M. Bertagnolli, M.D.
Director, National Institutes of Health