Dr. Howard Blue, the deputy director of mental health and counseling at Yale Health, died suddenly on Feb. 13 at age 59.
Blue was a respected and beloved colleague and counselor at the Yale Mental Health and Counseling Department for more than 30 years including his years of training.
After graduating from University of North Carolina medical school, Blue came to Yale in 1983 to begin his residency training in Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. He distinguished himself with both his clinical knowledge and his deep interest in lives of his patients. In the fourth and fifth years of his psychiatric training, Blue had a clinical placement at Yale Health in the department dedicated to the treatment of Yale’s students. Upon completion of his training, he spent several years at Connecticut Mental Health Center, where he established a mobile psychiatric intervention service; he kept his connection with Yale Mental Health and Counseling, seeing several Yale students each week for psychotherapy. Starting in 1993, Blue became a staff psychiatrist at Yale Mental Health and Counseling.
“It was here that he found his calling and pursued his clinical career with great distinction,” said Dr. Paul Genecin, director of Yale Health. “Dr. Blue’s community service and commitment to those less fortunate pays tribute to his home community and those who helped further his journey.”
Growing up in rural southeastern North Carolina, Blue was a standout student, graduating valedictorian of the East Bladen High School class of 1975. Blue was also an honors graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. He is the third youngest of 16 siblings, 10 of whom preceded him in death.
A part of Blue’s commitment to underserved members of the New Haven community, he devoted part of his clinical time each week to work as medical director at Dixwell/Newhallville Community Mental Health Services, where he provided expert psychiatric consultation and treatment.
In addition to his abiding interest in clinical work with Yale students, Blue was hailed as a wonderful teacher and was a greatly sought-after supervisor across the Yale Department of Psychiatry. An assistant professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine, Blue had a wide range of expertise including clinical emergencies, psychotherapy and psychopharmacology. As an educator, he promoted a deep understanding of diversity in clinical practice. In Blue’s philosophy, issues of racial, ethnic, LGBTQ, economic, geographic, and multiple other determinates of diversity are inherent in the clinical work with all students. Over the years, he was committed to building a diverse staff of outstanding clinicians who taught and learned from each other as well as the students who were their patients.
Blue’s colleagues across the university knew him as a person with a warm sense of humor, who took a wise, practical approach to even the most complex and difficult situations. “His patients, colleagues, and countless friends will sorely miss him,” said Genecin.
Blue is survived by three brothers, Leon (Doris), Larry (Nedora), and John (Margot; two sisters Dorothy L. Harris, and Daisy M. McKoy (Reginald); five other sisters-in-law, Barbara, Earlene, Jane, Jessie, and Marguerite; two brothers-in-law, Charles H. McKoy and Thomas J. Steele; and a large contingent of nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews.
Information about funeral arrangements and a memorial event at Yale University will be forthcoming.