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Liptzin to keynote health awareness lectures at AIC

March 19, 2012
SPRINGFIELD — Benjamin Liptzin, M.D., chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Baystate Medical Center, will be the keynote speaker at this year's Desmond Tutu Public Health Awareness Lecture Series at American International College (AIC).
Liptzin, a professor and deputy chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, will speak about depression. The event is scheduled for April 19 at 3 p.m. in the Griswold Theatre. The lecture is open to the public free of charge.
In this talk, Liptzin will describe the symptoms of a clinical depression and the treatments available to treat it. Recent books have raised questions about the efficacy of antidepressant medications and Liptzin will address the controversy.
"Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness," Liptzin said.
For the past two years, AIC has hosted distinguished speakers in its annual Desmond Tutu Public Health Lecture Series. In 2010, Archbishop Desmond Tutu served as the series' inaugural speaker and its namesake. His lecture highlighted a message of social justice and energized an audience of 1,200 high school and college students gathered in AIC's Butova Gymnasium.
"This lecture series is consistent with our mission to provide education both nationally and internationally," Gregory T. Schmutte, executive vice president for academics at AIC, said. "It's particularly relevant for our health science programs and is consistent with their goals."
Dr. Peter Bittel, a member of the AIC Board of Trustees, is one of the series' originators and a strong advocate for its mission. "The function of the lecture series is to bring attention to issues of public health in the college community," he said.
Bittel noted that, according to a recent study, Hampden County has the highest incidence of public health issues in the Commonwealth, underscoring the need for local public awareness campaigns.
Liptzin has enjoyed extensive experience as a practicing psychiatrist, professor at Tufts University, and prolific author. His research interests include dementia, delirium, and geriatric psychopharmacology. Liptzin's focus on depression will mark the first lecture in the series to address a specific disease, one that Bittel believes to be acutely relevant.
"Depression is one of the most significant health problems that we face. And it's vastly undiagnosed and untreated," Bittel said. "That's the reason for the conversation in public health."
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