February 17, 2021 – Dr. Jane Murphy, former professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a renowned psychiatric epidemiologist, passed away on February 9, 2021, at the age of 91.
Dr. Murphy was affiliated with Harvard Chan School from 1966 to 2010 as a beloved leader, teacher, mentor, and colleague in the psychiatric epidemiology program. She was also on the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she directed the Psychiatric Epidemiology Unit. In addition, she was a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia.
Dr. Murphy was known as one of the pioneers in population-based psychiatric epidemiology. From 1975 to the present she led the Stirling County Study, initiated by her late husband, Dr. Alexander Leighton, in 1948. The study has made extensive contributions to the literature on depression, anxiety, and substance abuse, including the impact of environmental factors and social change on these health issues. While direct data collection ended over 20 years ago, the study was funded until recently for ongoing analyses, and Dr. Murphy continued to write papers about research findings until shortly before her death. She will be dearly missed by her colleagues, and her contributions to public health will continue to have long-lasting impact.
Read Dr. Murphy’s obituary in the Boston Globe.