CYTRYN LEON CYTRYN, M.D. Leon Cytryn, Professor Emeritus of the George Washington University Department of Psychiatry and known as the father of affective disorders in children and adolescents in the field of child psychiatry, passed away on February 15, 2013. Dr. Cytryn was born in Lodz, Poland and survived, along with his father, the Nazi camps. He expressed his belief that it was his attachment to his father that gave him a purpose beyond himself that allowed him to withstand the atrocities of the Holocaust. After the war, he enrolled in the Prince Phillip Medical School in Marburg, Germany. Upon graduation, Dr. Cytryn became a merchant marine physician and was involved in the resettling of Jewish refugees to Israel and the United States. He then emigrated to Baltimore where he began his pediatric residency at Sinai Hospital and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. After several years in private practice, Dr. Cytryn returned to Johns Hopkins to pursue an academic career in the nascent field of child psychiatry. By the early 1960 and 1970's, working at Children's Hospital, Dr. Cytryn developed a hypothesis that major depressive disorders that were seen in adults, could also occur in children. He coined the phrase "masked depression" and his groundbreaking research conducted over the next two decades at the National Institutes of Mental Health confirmed this now well accepted scientific idea. His cumulative work led to a new school of thought of childhood psychiatry, with recognition of the physiologic basis of this condition. Dr. Cytryn authored hundreds of scientific papers and medical book chapters. He has won numerous awards for his research. Dr Cytryn also sought to educate the lay population. His general community books including, "Why Isn't Johnny Crying" and "Growing Up Sad" have been translated a into nine languages. Dr. Cytryn was a renaissance man for his time. He was fluent in seven languages, an aficionado of many classical and other music styles and a devotee of various art forms. Dr. Cytryn is survived by his wife, Dr. Eileen Cytryn; as well as his four children, Dr. Esther and Allen Samson of Los Angeles, California, Dr. Albert and Ricki Cytryn of Potomac, Maryland, Sheryl and Dr. Mark Schweitzer of Ottawa, Ontario and Mark Cytryn of Brooklyn, New York. He leaves eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. Services previously held. Memorial contributions can be made to Yad VeShem and Shaare Zedek in Jerusalem, Israel.
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Published in The Washington Post on Feb. 24, 2013