Gold named chair of UF psychiatry department

Mark Gold, M.D., an international authority on addiction medicine, and chairman of the University of Florida College of Medicine's department of psychiatry. (Photo by Sarah Kiewel/University of Florida)Mark Gold, M.D., an international authority on addiction medicine, and chairman of the University of Florida College of Medicine's department of psychiatry. (Photo by Sarah Kiewel/University of Florida)

Mark Gold, M.D., an international authority on addiction medicine, has been named chairman of the University of Florida College of Medicine's department of psychiatry.

"I feel extremely fortunate that Dr. Gold has agreed to take on the ambitious task of leading the department to great national prominence," said College of Medicine Dean Bruce C. Kone, M.D., who cited Gold's extensive clinical and research accomplishments as well as his teaching contributions in announcing the appointment.

Gold's work has changed the medical field's understanding of how drugs of abuse - from tobacco to cocaine to narcotics - function in the human brain.

"Addiction, behavioral and mental health problems are the nation's top public health issues and some of the most treatable and cost-effective to treat," said Gold, UF's Dizney eminent scholar and a distinguished professor of psychiatry, neuroscience, anesthesiology, and community health and family medicine. "Addiction research and treatment has grown considerably here at the McKnight Brain Institute, Shands at Vista and the Florida Recovery Center. In the process, our FRC program has grown to national prominence and our research has helped long-suffering patients and reduced stigma. We hope to use what we have learned over the past 15-plus years to foster the development of a broad range of high-impact research and nationally recognized clinical treatment services in child, adolescent, college health, geriatric, community, addiction, forensic and veterans' psychiatry."

Gold replaces Dr. Wayne K. Goodman, chairman of psychiatry at UF since 1998, who is now serving as the director of the division for adult translational research for the National Institute of Mental Health.

Chief of addiction medicine at the College of Medicine since 1990, Gold has gone from being the sole member of the division to leading more than a dozen full-time clinical physicians who treat drug abuse and dependence, and an equal number of researchers in the fields of proteomics, functional imaging, genomics, public health, impaired professionals and nanotechnology.

During his career, Gold's research has led to new treatments for addicts and tests for drug intoxication, and has shaped understanding of how heroin and other opiates cause dependence and withdrawal. Gold has explained how a neurotransmitter called dopamine functions as a motivational factor in addiction, and disclosed dangers of secondhand exposure to smoke and other drugs. Furthermore, he has used principles of addiction research to explain obesity and human response to highly palatable foods.

In addition to a long history of research collaborations across medical specialties and institutions, Gold has been an outstanding mentor to students and faculty at all levels, and a forceful advocate of the career development of underrepresented minorities in the health professions, according to the dean.

Among a portfolio of honors and recognitions, Gold received the prestigious Nelson J. Bradley Career Service Award in 2006 for leadership in addiction treatment from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers. In 2007, he was named the Dizney eminent scholar at UF to champion the university's efforts to address major health challenges facing Americans, including smoking, overeating and obesity, secondhand smoke and drugs and alcohol.

An author of more than 900 medical articles, chapters, and abstracts and 12 professional books on a wide variety of psychiatric research subjects, Gold has received multiple UF honors for exemplary teaching, mentoring minorities and faculty research.

He is a current member of the College of Medicine's alumni board and is honored on the college's "Wall of Fame." Nationally, he had been honored as a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Pharmacology and of the American Psychiatric Association and was the 2005 recipient of the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry Founder's Award and of DARE's 2007 Public Service Award. He serves as "UpToDate's" section editor in addiction medicine.

Gold received his medical degree from the University of Florida in 1975 and completed his residency at the Yale University School of Medicine in 1978.

"Dr. Gold has had a stellar career in academics and leadership, and he has promoted the values and missions of the College of Medicine in an outstanding manner," Kone said. "The department of psychiatry is in exceptionally capable hands."

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John Pastor

UF&Shands Communications

John Pastor oversees News & Publications for UF&Shands, the University of Florida Academic Health Center. He and his team tell the stories surrounding the research, education and patient care activities...Read More