BROWN, Dr. Janet Died peacefully in her Chestnut Hill home on April 6 at age 83. Jan was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Newburgh, New York. She was graduated in 1950 from Mt. Holyoke College, and received an M.A. in Psychology in 1951 and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1955 from Yale University. It was at Yale that Jan became grounded in her work with young children. From 1954-1957 Jan was a researcher at the Yale Child Studies Center where she was involved with the data analysis of pregnancy and the first years of life on a longitudinal study of normal children conducted by the renowned Ernst Kris, MD and Katherine Wolff, PhD. Jan also had training in developmental diagnosis with physician Sally Provence. From 1957-1978 Jan was a Psychologist at the James Jackson Putnam Center in Roxbury, MA. Historical Note: Dr. Marian Cabot Putnam founded and became a co-director (along with Beata Rank) of the James Jackson Putnam Childrens Center in 1943, in honor of her father, Dr. James Jackson Putnam (1846-1918) who was a Boston neurologist. She established the Putnam Center in order to provide treatment of pre-school and very young children, as well as to conduct a long-term study of healthy children, which became the Well Baby Clinic directed by T. Berry Brazelton MD. The Center was opened under the auspices of the Judge Baker Guidance Center but in July 1946 became an independent unit, incorporated as the James Jackson Putnam Childrens Center. The Center came to specialize in long-term treatment of autistic children. When Dr. Putnam retired in 1962, over 200 atypical children had been treated. The decline of the Center began in the 1960s with the progressive loss of federal and private funding for psychiatric research and treatment. All psychiatric facilities were affected, especially the university teaching hospitals, but the Center may have been more impacted than most due to its small size and specialized focus. The Center, located in Roxbury, Massachusetts, was closed in 1979. For 21 years at the Putnam Center, Jan provided differential diagnostic evaluations of young children; treatment of children with emotional and developmental problems and their parents; interdisciplinary training and supervision. She was involved with research on the etiology, treatment and follow up of children with profound developmental disturbances; interaction of constitutional equipment and environment in the development of normal children; reaction of normal children to the loss of a parent; etiology and treatment of antisocial development, correlation of lead ingestion with psychological functioning in children; stresses associated with inner city school desegregation; development of projective tests for inner city children. Jan was Clinical Instructor of Child Psychiatry (Psychology) and then Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (Psychology) at Boston University. She lectured in Social Relations at Harvard in 1969. After the Putnam Center closed in 1979, Jan conducted a private practice as a Consultant in Child Psychology to the MA Department of Social Services and other agencies until 1995. From 1980 - 2012 Jan conducted annual psychological assessments of the children attending the Community Therapeutic Day School, a private, nonprofit organization in Lexington for children with neurologic and psychiatric disabilities. During these years Jan provided consistent and in depth professional psychological evaluations of these exceptionally complex children. She always brought an essential and special perspective to the work with these children and their families that concentrated on each childs abilities and disabilities. Jan would strive to find the very best and the highest potential in each child. Her professional training at Yale, her years of experience at the Putnam clinic, her diagnostic skills with adoptive children and atypical children has given her a very unique view of the internal cognitive and emotional life of the children. Her compassion for the children, experience, and her professional skills helped her to see many of the fundamental issues these children struggle with in their lives, and the core of their strengths as well as their disabilities. Jan was Fellow and Life Fellow, American Orthopsychiatric Association; Fellow, Society for Research in Child Development; and Fellow, Massachusetts Psychological Association. Jan's life partner of almost 50 years, Margaret Davidson, died in 2011. They were avid members of Women Outdoors, a national organization for women outdoor enthusiasts and stewards of the earth of which Jan was a founder. Together they traveled world wide and logged thousands of miles on many extended camping, hiking, and canoe trips all over North America. A small memorial service will be held in the fall at the Community Therapeutic Day School, Lexington. Please email CTDS1@verizon.net if you are interested in being contacted.
Published in Boston Globe from May 17 to May 18, 2014.