Leaders in Psychosomatic Medicine: Dr. Russell Noyes, MD

Dr. Russell Noyes, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa, was one of my favorite teachers. I’ve cobbled together the scale he and others designed for identifying patients with medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS) based on a paper he published [1]. It’s acceptable to patients with MUPS because it doesn’t invalidate their physical suffering, a common pitfall in the communication between physician and patients with MUPS. He is still working in the outpatient clinic at the University of Iowa. He is a superb writer and has a knack for connecting immediately with patients. I think both skills are tied to a verbally economic style that tends to relax people more effectively than sedatives–and without the side effects. His disarming sense of humor is well-known.

His early research centered on near-death experiences. He published nearly 300 articles and served with distinction on the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Psychiatry Consultation Service before formally retiring in 2002.

He sponsored me when I applied for membership in the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine. He edited my awful writing, which is still awful but improved from his attentions.

1. Noyes, R., Jr., et al., Health Attitude Survey: A Scale for Assessing Somatizing Patients. Psychosomatics, 1999. 40(6): p. 470-478.

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