SERV psychiatrist receives NJ Psychiatric Association’s highest honor
November 24, 2014
Dr. Nancy T. Block, a psychiatrist at SERV Centers of N.J.'s Clifton Behavioral Healthcare, recently received the New Jersey Psychiatric Association's highest honor, the 2014 Platinum Award.
Dr. Block received the award at NJPA's "Program for Excellence," held Nov. 16 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin. The presentation was made by Dr. Margaret Tompsett.
The following tribute to Dr. Block is taken from the program journal:
"This year's Platinum Award is being given to Nancy T. Block, MD, DLFAPA for her contributions to psychiatry and the wider community.
Great grandniece of one of the first woman physicians, she grew up in a missionary family, and has continued throughout her life to live up to their ideals of service to humanity.
After graduating Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1957, she served as a medical missionary in south India for two years. On her return she worked as a physician for the women's prison and child care centers. Her medical approach always appreciated the whole patient in his or her family and social context, rather than just his or her disease. This biopsychosocial orientation inspired her in 1969 to train as a psychiatrist at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) in Newark.
After completing psychiatric training in 1973 she continued at UMDNJ, initially as Director of Children's Psychiatric Outpatient Services, and later as an attending psychiatrist working with many of the sickest patients needing long-term care. As an assistant professor and, since 1980 a clinical associate professor, she taught many generations of medical students, psychiatry residents, psychology interns and ancillary professional staff.
Dr. Block has been a member of the American Psychiatric Association since 1973, is a Distinguished Life Fellow and has served (the NJPA) district branch in many capacities, up to the office of President in 2002-2003. One of her greatest achievements was to organize the "Brian Behavior" exhibit at the Liberty Science Center in 1997-2000. This was a massive undertaking and involved hours of work and the organization of numerous volunteers. She and colleagues on the Public Education Committee worked to influence the health curriculum of public schools. She also served on Governor Richard Codey's Work Group on Post-Partum Depression. While president of NJPA, Dr Block appointed a task force to obtain information on the "Mental Health Needs and Services in New Jersey" and worked with her colleagues to produce a comprehensive report.
After closing her private practice, she has been working at SERV in the Clifton clinic serving disadvantaged people, insisting on spending sufficient time with patients to give quality care. She has continued to teach at UMDNJ in Newark, to write for the New Jersey Psychiatrist and to work with NAMI to give teachers better understanding of the needs of mentally ill children in the schools.
She has been a strong advocate for our patients and our profession, going to Trenton and meeting with legislators to educate them about the needs of the mentally ill. At an age when many are fully retired, she has continued to work for our patients and our profession as well as for the wider community. She has been working with Physicians for a National Health Program for a single payer health care system, so that all Americans can access the healthcare they need. At Council meetings, she is respected for the knowledge, wisdom and experience she brings to the table.
At the same time she has been a devoted wife to Russ, ... sharing his work for the housing needs of the people of Elizabeth. Her three children, their spouses and her 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren are all important to her and recently she took two grandchildren on the Walk for the Mental Health Association of New Jersey.
In her balance of life, career and family and her consistent caring for others in the wider community, she is an inspiration to us all."