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Hackett Award Goes to Michael Sharpe, MA, MD, FACLP

The Academy’s highest honor is presented to an individual for outstanding achievement in C-L Psychiatry 


Michael Sharpe, MA, MD, FACLP
Michael Sharpe, MA, MD, FACLP

This year’s ACLP Eleanor and Thomas P. Hackett Memorial Award has been awarded to Michael Sharpe, MA, MD, FACLP, University of Oxford in the UK.

The Academy’s highest honor is presented to an individual for outstanding achievement in C-L Psychiatry—a member who has demonstrated distinctive achievements in C-L Psychiatry training, research, clinical practice, and leadership.

Dr. Sharpe will give the Hackett lecture on the Friday of this year’s Annual Meeting in Austin in November.

His theme is: ‘A Special Relationship’.

“In 1944, when FDR was President, Winston Churchill spoke of the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US. In my lecture, I shall reflect on special relationships, how they shape us as people and as C-L psychiatrists, and how an understanding of what makes a relationship special helps us to care for our patients.”

Dr. Sharpe—Emeritus Professor of Psychological Medicine at the University of Oxford and a C-L psychiatrist for Oxford University Hospitals—aims to improve the lives of patients with medical illnesses by integrating psychiatric interventions into their care. To this end, he has published more than 320 research papers and established an integrated C-L Psychiatry clinical service in Oxford University Hospitals. Dr. Sharpe was president of the Academy in 2019-2020.

“In UK general hospitals, Psychiatry has usually been delivered by an external ‘mental health provider,’” says Dr. Sharpe. “Psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, who may or may not be trained in C-L Psychiatry, see a small number of patients referred by medical teams. The focus has been mainly on patients in the emergency department who have attempted suicide and not on the wider range of problems where C-L Psychiatry can help.

“In 2012, I took on the role of hospital groupwide C-L Psychiatry lead to improve services to the general hospitals. I persuaded senior hospital managers to set up a new, much-expanded, in house C-L Psychiatry service that was fully integrated with medical care, offered equitable access for all patients across the hospital system, and was delivered by properly trained C-L psychiatrists.

“This service has won a number of awards (including UK Royal College of Psychiatrists’ national team of the year) and is now regarded as the leading C-L Psychiatry service in the UK.”

Award nominations

Among nominations for Dr. Sharpe for the Hackett award, Carol Alter, MD, FACLP, professor of psychiatry at Dell Medical School, University of Texas at Austin, writes: “The Hackett award is a critical component of the ACLP. It serves as a way to teach, inform, motivate, and inspire our members to not only excel in our own clinical, educational, and scholarly work but also to understand the value that the ACLP can provide through our active participation. Michael Sharpe is an exceptional example of someone who has made remarkable contributions through his work and, most importantly, through the Academy. As such, he richly deserves this honor.”

Donald Rosenstein, MD, FACLP, professor, of psychiatry and medicine, at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, writes: “Dr. Sharpe possesses a rare capacity for critical analysis of research methodology and scientific findings as well as experience-informed insights into the strategic challenges and opportunities for both the ACLP and our field on a global scale.

“Several years ago, I had the privilege of visiting his ‘shop’ at Oxford University and was able to meet with his clinical and research teams. It was obvious to me that Dr. Sharpe is a highly respected leader, both at his home institution (a top-tier academic medical center) and within the international community of C-L psychiatrists and psycho-oncologists.

“Dr. Sharpe is an ideal candidate for the Hackett Award. To honor Dr. Sharpe in this way is particularly fitting as he has been such an enthusiastic and effective force within the Academy and internationally for nearly a quarter of a century.”

CLP 2023 presentations

At CLP 2023, apart from the Hackett lecture, Dr Sharpe will also co-present the opening plenary:

and a further session:

  • The Future of Inpatient C-L Psychiatry: A ‘Hot Topic’ Evidence-based Practice Update and Open Forum, Saturday, November 11, 9:15 AM–10:45 AM CST.

These presentations will explore results from The HOME Study, the largest randomized trial of C-L Psychiatry to date, which Dr. Sharpe co-led.

The study set out to answer the question: Given that psychiatric disorders and psychosocial problems are highly prevalent in the older inpatient population, and are associated with longer stays, could C-L Psychiatry help?

“Long stays are a problem because they increase the risk of adverse outcomes for patients and increase the cost of care for the hospital,” says Dr. Sharpe. “Many interventions have been designed to address this problem, but none [to date] have been found to be effective in randomised trials.”

The HOME Study included 2,744 older medical patients in three hospitals and evaluated the effect of a proactive and integrated C-L Psychiatry service on the time they spent in hospital.

Beyond ACLP, Dr Sharpe is current president of the European Association of Psychosomatic Medicine (EAPM). He is also the recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Adolf Meyer Award for lifetime achievement in psychiatric research.

  • ACLP News has already announced three top awards: the Wayne Katon Research Award, the Don R. Lipsitt Award for Achievement in Collaborative Care, and the Foundation Research Professor Award. See: ACLP Rolling News here. More awards will be featured soon.

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