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David McDowell


1963 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences Gallery
David McDowell Obituary


Dr. David McDowell, 51, of New York, NY, died Wednesday June 4, 2014 at his home. He was born in Middletown, Connecticut, the son of Jacqueline (Larson) McDowell of Middletown and the late Dr. Arthur McDowell, Jr. Dr. McDowell was a graduate of Xavier High School in 1981 and went on to attend The College of the Holy Cross, where he graduated as valedictorian of the class of 1985. He then graduated from Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1989. While in medical school, he served as the president of his class and began publishing scientific papers. After a medical internship at The Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, Dr. McDowell completed a residency in psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University. He later completed a fellowship in Substance Abuse at Bellevue Hospital/NYU Medical Center in 1995. At that time, he began a private practice in psychiatry in New York City. Dr. McDowell joined the faculty of Columbia University's Division on Substance Abuse in the Department of Psychiatry in 1995. Along with his mentor, Herbert D. Kleber, MD, the former Assistant Drug Czar under the first Bush administration, he founded STARS, the Substance Treatment and Research Service. He acted as the medical director until 2004, after which he served as the senior medical advisor of STARS. In 2004, he founded the Buprenorphine Program at Columbia University, the first such opiate treatment program in the nation. Dr. McDowell was the author of numerous scholarly articles and chapters in addition to the well-regarded book Substance Abuse: From Principles to Practice (Brunner-Mazel, 2001). His scholarly work focused on co-occurring psychiatric disorders and substance abuse problems. In particular, his academic expertise focused on club drugs, such as MDMA and marijuana. He wrotewidely on issues of sex and sexuality and was a regular guest and contributor to talk shows, magazines, newspapers, and national news organizations. Dr. McDowell served in a wide variety of positions. He was the longest serving member of the American Psychiatric Scientific Program Committee, and served as the Vice Chair and Acting Chair from 2005-2007. He was named Distinguished Fellow from the American Psychiatric Association and was named one of the Best Doctors in America. He consulted widely on a variety of topics and was involved with a number of highly successful plays and films, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Next to Normal. In 2008, he joined the faculty of Mt. Sinai Medical Center, where he expanded the teaching and clinical services for those with substance abuse issues and the dual-diagnosed. At Mt. Sinai, Dr. McDowell was honored for his transcendent teaching work. He won the Teacher of the Year Award (voted on by all residents) in both 2013 and 2014 as well as the Excellence in Residency Education Award (voted on by graduating residents) in 2014. Also in 2014, Dr. McDowell was honored at his 25 year Columbia Class of 1989 reunion with 2 Chairs in the new Graduate and Medical Education Building. One in his name and one for "Dave's Friend (because he always has one with him)". David was the consummate physician and personality who brightened every room he entered. In addition to his mother, he is survived by his brothers, Dr. Arthur "Bud" McDowell, III and his wife Gail of Higganum, Steven McDowell and his wife Vicki of Portland, Thomas McDowell of Middletown; his sister, Elizabeth McDowell-Smith of East Hampton; his life partner, Carlos Moreira of NY; also several nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends. Funeral services will be held Tuesday (June 10th) at 9:45 a.m. from Biega Funeral Home, 3 Silver St., Middletown, followed by a 10:30 a.m. Funeral Liturgy at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Middletown. Burial will be at the convenience of the family. Friends may call on Monday (June 9th) from 4 to 7 p.m. at Biega Funeral Home3 Silver St., Middletown. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The David M. McDowell, M.D. Fund, made payable to Columbia University, Attn: Faye Farese, Columbia University Medical Center, 100 Haven Ave., Suite 26C, New York, NY, 10032 or Middlesex Hospital, c/o Dept. of Philanthropy, Middletown, CT 06457. To share memories or express condolences online please visit www.biegafuneralhome.com


Published in The Hartford Courant on June 7, 2014
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