Dr. Steven Dubovsky Retiring From Chair of the Department of Psychiatry Role

Published May 19, 2023

Dr. Dubovsky in a tan suit jacket.

It is with mixed emotions that I announce the retirement of Steven L. Dubovsky, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, effective June 30, 2023.  An active researcher, teacher and clinician, we are pleased that he will remain involved in the department and the school.  

Dr. Dubovsky has been a phenomenal leader for the Jacobs School’s Department of Psychiatry, charting a course of growth and improvement that has resulted in an enhanced reputation and international recognition.

The department recruits more medical students into psychiatry than any other in the country, and its general and child residencies continue to be highly sought after. The department has become a model of clinical, educational and scholarly innovation, with novel collaborations with a host of disciplines within and outside the university.

Dr. Dubovsky developed the department’s Annual Comprehensive Review of Psychiatry, which attracts internationally renowned speakers, and which is attended by clinicians from around the world. With grants from four local foundations, he modernized delivery of psychiatric services throughout Western New York and the state through the development of programs that are now a national model of intermediate levels of care for complex psychiatric disorders.

Dr. Dubovsky was the first investigator to demonstrate dysregulated intracellular calcium ion signaling in bipolar mood disorders, a key finding that has been replicated internationally. He pioneered the use of novel treatments such as calcium channel antagonists for mood disorders, expanding treatment options for this difficult illness. His findings have been discussed and extended worldwide. He has also conducted key studies of psychotic depression, a condition that is more common than was once thought, and he has developed guidelines for recognition of subtle symptoms of this condition that indicate a different treatment approach than for other forms of depression.

He developed a clinical trials program in psychiatry that has flourished over the years, with more than 80 sponsored clinical trials since his arrival in 2004. He has written widely cited discussions of psychosomatic illnesses, or disorders that are at the interface of mental and physiological dysfunction. He has served on the editorial boards of multiple international journals and on international grant panels, as well as a founding member of international task forces and pioneering internet-based forums on psychiatric treatment. He is a regular reviewer for more than 60 journals and publishers.

Dr. Dubovsky’s extensive service to the Jacobs School and the university over the past two decades includes previous roles as president of the UBMD Management Council and chair of the Promotions Criteria Revision Committee, the Practice Plan Reorganization Committee and the Great Lakes Consolidation Committee for Psychiatry, chair of the School of Medicine Conflict of Interest Committee, member of the UBA Executive Committee and the UB SRSI project, president of Research for Health in Erie County, chair of the IRB, the Legal Committee for the Optimum Physicians Alliance, and the advisory committee to the UB extreme events strategic strength. Such activities were recognized by the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Faculty Service in 2020.

Dr. Dubovsky’s service to the broader community has further enhanced the reputation and influence of the Department of Psychiatry and the Jacobs School. In 2006, he was a founding member of the board of directors for ProtectNY, an academic and professional society devoted to safeguarding the state from terrorism and natural disasters. He served as the society’s president from 2012-14, and as a member of the Incident Dynamics Group, developed a virtual reality model of an urban hospital emergency department to study responses to pandemics and similar disasters. His commitment to his community on behalf of Jacobs School is evident in his service as a volunteer firefighter and a reserve sheriff’s deputy.

After graduating from New York University with a major in French Literature, Dr. Dubovsky obtained a medical degree from NYU School of Medicine. After a psychiatry residency at the University of Colorado, he joined the faculty there, where he served as professor of psychiatry and medicine, associate dean for student affairs, associate dean for academic and faculty affairs, vice chair and interim chair of the Department of Psychiatry, and acting dean and associate medical director of the General Clinical Research Center.

In the latter position, he provided medical and scientific oversight of the first liver transplant service in the world. He has served as a visiting professor at multiple universities and medical schools, including Cornell, the University of California, King Saud University (Saudi Arabia), the University of Manitoba, The Quebec Child Psychiatry Society, West Virginia University, Wilford Hall, the University of Texas, among others. He served as a senior examiner for the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology for over two decades.

Dr. Dubovsky is a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the American College of Psychiatrists. He has been named a UB Exceptional Scholar, and has received the Dean’s Award, the Nancy D. Smith Memorial Award “In recognition of your compassionate and enlightened service to the most vulnerable among us,” from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Buffalo and Erie County, and the Community Service Award from Crisis Services. He is listed in Who’s Who, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in the Medicine and Health Care, US News Top Doctors, America’s Top Psychiatrists, and numerous other listings.

Dr. Dubovsky leaves the department in outstanding shape, and with a legacy that will prepare future leaders to reach even greater heights. We are grateful for his expert leadership and support of our clinical and research mission. The Psychiatry Department staff remains dedicated to serving the educational needs of UB medical students, residents, and fellows. A search is currently underway for an interim chair to ensure a continued commitment to excellence in education, discovery, and clinical care.

Please join me in thanking him for his years of service and wishing him the best of luck in the next stage of his career.