William R. Yates: A Physician Leader Who Retired To Something

Bill YatesSo I was thinking about Bill Yates yesterday and decided to google him. I haven’t seen or heard from him in years. Bill is actually the originator of the Clinical Problems in Consultation Psychiatry (CPCP) case conference that we do regularly in order to live the principle of lifelong learning. You can see his energy in the video below:

The other day one of the residents essentially asked me how I developed my teaching style. At the time, I just took it as a compliment and I still don’t know how to answer that question.

But then I thought of Bill. Those of us who know him would drop jaws about that comment. Bill and I are nothing alike and yet, of all the faculty who taught me when I was in training, Bill was one of the very few who impressed me and who I tried to emulate. He was the head of the psychiatry consultation service and the psychiatry residency directory at The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics back in the day.

He was Professor of Psychiatry at The University of Oklahoma in Tulsa for a decade until several years ago–when he retired. Yeah, right…retired. I took a look at his blog which focuses on the analysis and commentary of selected neuroscience research and I can see that Bill and I have extremely different concepts of retirement. I still tend to think of retiring from something.

Bill obviously figured out how to retire to something. He’s now a research psychiatrist at the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa. He’s active on Twitter and here’s a couple of relevant tweets:

One thing I didn’t know about Bill is that he’s a bird photographer. So bird-watching is at least one thing we have in common.

Bill has a pack of admiring trainees who are following in his footsteps, Dr. Ondria Gleason, MD is just one of them. She’s now the Chair of Psychiatry at The University of Oklahoma at Tulsa .

Let’s give Bill a hand for inspiring the next generation of doctors.



  1. Thanks for writing a blog post on me! I spent ten years as chair at University of Oklahoma, Tulsa and “retired” from OU as it was time for Ondria Gleason step up. Although “retired” from OU since 2007 I have “worked” an average of about 16 weeks per year doing locum tenens (outpatient, geriatrics unit and research unit). This keeps my clinical skill levels up while allowing time for travel, writing, reading and the bird photography. Love blogging and using Twitter to continue my role as educator and goal of trying to “point” to what is important.

    You should really write a follow up paper on the CPCP for something like Academic Psychiatry, Gen Hosp Psychiatry or Psychosomatics. My original description is Yates WR, Gerdes TT, Problem-based learning in consultation psychiatry. Gen Hosp Psychiatry 1996;18:139-44.

    This would also be a good resident project. Let me know if you decide to do something as I would be happy and honored to assist in any way I can. I have more time now that I am “retired”.

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