Obituary: Jerome K. Myers

Retired Yale University sociology professor Jerome K. Myers, 79, died on May 7.

Retired Yale University sociology professor Jerome K. Myers, 79, died on May 7.

Professor Myers was a pioneer, helping to establish and shape the fields of social psychiatry and medical sociology. He was principal investigator in a number of large-scale community surveys on mental health and mental health services, culminating in the first major study of the prevalence of mental disorders in the United States. He was author or co-author of several books, including “Research Techniques in Schizophrenia,” “Family and Class Dynamics in Mental Illness,” “A Decade Later: A Follow-up of Social Class and Mental Illness” and “Community Surveys of Psychiatric Disorders.” He wrote dozens of research articles.

Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1921, Professor Myers attended Franklin and Marshall College, graduating magna cum laude in 1942. He served in the United States military during World War II and then resumed his education, studying sociology at Yale, where he received his Ph.D. in 1950.

Professor Myers remained at Yale throughout his 43-year career of teaching and research. During those years, he co-founded and directed a National Institute of Mental Health Training Grant in medical sociology that educated dozens of Yale graduate students, many of whom became national leaders in the new field of the sociology of health and medicine.

“My memories of Jerry Myers are of a decent, unassuming man who held himself to the highest moral and professional standards, a man who conscientiously did his job and fulfilled his commitments,” said long-time friend Wendell Bell, professor emeritus of sociology. He was “a man of truth and loyalty, a man who loved and cared for his family, a man of patience and persistence, a man who always could be counted on, and a man whose presence always counted. I was honored to call him my friend and colleague. We shall miss him.”

Among Professor Myers’ many honors were the Rema Lapouse Award from the American Public Health Association and the Distinguished Career Award from the Psychiatric Sociology Section of the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

Professor Myers is survived by his wife Betsy, daughter Susan Myers, son Joseph and five grandchildren. His son, Keeley Myers, predeceased him.

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