Elkes grew up in Eastern Europe, emigrated to England as a young man, and moved to the United States in his mid-40s, to help set up and direct the Clinical Neuropharmacological Research Center of the National Institute of Mental Health. His 12 years as Henry Phipps Professor and Psychiatrist-in-Chief were but a brief interlude in a fertile and storied career as a pioneer in psychopharmacology.
“In 1963, I was invited to assume the chairmanship of the Department of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, vacated the previous year by my friend, Seymour Kety....Three major developments began to take shape in my time: Dr. Solomon Snyder established his group in neuropharmacology,…Dr. Joseph Brady … developed behavior analysis and operant conditioning as a major research approach to the study of the effect of drugs on behavior. … At the same time, Drs. Eberhard Uhlenhuth, Lino Covi, and later, Len Derogatis established much of the technology for quantitative trials in an outpatient setting.”
Joel Elkes, Psychopharmacology: Finding One’s Way. Neuropsychopharmacology 12: 93-111, 1995
“Elkes believes that modern psychiatry provides a natural bridge between the behavioral sciences and medicine as a whole, including preventive medicine, and to facilitate the use of this natural bridge he changed the name of his department at Johns Hopkins from ‘Psychiatry’ to ‘Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.’ …What later was to become known as “behavioral medicine” grew at Hopkins under his direction as an organic continuation through the work of Curt Richter, Horsley Gantt and Jerome Frank in the great tradition in psychobiology, pioneered by Adolf Meyer.”
Thomas A. Ban, (ed) : CINP: Pioneers in Psychopharmacology: Selected Writings of Joel Elkes, 2nd edition 2010.