Honoring 100 for the 100th: Hayden Donahue

Image of Hayden DonahueHayden H. Donahue (BSS 1939, Pre-Medicine and Engineering and M.D. 1941, Kansas University) is recognized for his lifetime support of Oklahoma social work practice. Historically, his career is intricately tied to the progress of psychiatry in America during the post-World War II era. Pioneering military experience in North Africa related to his combat psychiatry, led to his involvement in General Omar Bradley’s redevelopment of the Veterans Administration, and led to his assistance of Oklahoma legislators in writing the initial mental health laws. These actions exemplify Dr. Donahue’s leadership, vision, and dedication to improving psychiatric treatment.

In 1952, Dr. Donahue was appointed the first director of the Department of Mental Health. As Superintendent of Central State Hospital in Norman from 1962-1979, he simultaneously served as Department Director from 1970-1978. Norman, Oklahoma became the first U.S. town to build a community-mental health center due to Dr. Donahue’s efforts. He has received state and national recognition for his advocacy of the interdisciplinary team approach of psychiatric treatment. Dr. Donahue is the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given by the American Psychiatric Association. He is fondly recognized as the “Father of Psychiatry” in Oklahoma. Also, he was one of Social Work’s earliest and staunchest supporters. Dr. Donahue’s unconditional support for the profession was prominent under his leadership and is evidenced in the development of psychiatric social work services with the Department of Mental Health, the development of stipend and scholarship assistance for social work students, and specialized training programs for social work professionals. His wife Pat (MSW 1978, University of Oklahoma), always by his side, has also advocated for the profession.

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