Main content
William McDonald named chair of Emory’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Media Contact
Jennifer Johnson McEwen
(media inquiries only)
Dr. William McDonald

William M. McDonald, MD, has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine. McDonald is professor and J.B. Fuqua Chair for Late-Life Depression and Reunette W. Harris Chair for Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and has led the department as interim chair since January 2021.

A graduate of Duke University Medical School, McDonald was a Duke faculty member before joining Emory in 1993. Since 1999 with an initial gift and continued philanthropic support from the J.B. Fuqua Foundation, McDonald led the establishment of the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression and currently serves as director of the center. The Fuqua Foundation endowed the J.B. Fuqua Chair in 2003 and, under McDonald’s leadership, the Fuqua Center has become recognized for collaboration with other state and national mental health programs in efforts to decrease stigma and increase access to mental health resources for the elderly.   

McDonald’s research initiatives have been supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Neurological Disease and Stroke, Stanley Foundation, Brain and Behavior Research Foundation and other private agencies. His research is focused on novel strategies to address treatment-resistant depression including pioneering work in neuromodulation (e.g., transcranial magnetic stimulation). In line with the mission of the Emory Brain Health Center, and in collaboration with Emory neurology, McDonald has helped to define criteria and treatments for comorbid psychiatric disorders in Parkinson’s disease and other neurologic disorders.

“Dr. McDonald has been a tremendous leader in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences for 29 years as a clinician, a researcher and an educator. We are extremely pleased that he has accepted this new challenge as chair,” says Vikas P. Sukhatme, MD, ScD, dean, Emory University School of Medicine.

McDonald is a Distinguished Life Fellow in the American Psychiatric Association (APA), member of the American College of Psychiatrists and has served on committees for the APA’s Council on Research, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the National Network of Depression Centers.  McDonald was awarded the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award in 2009 and has received multiple national education awards, including the 2018 American Association of Geriatric Psychiatry’s Teacher of the Year Award.  He has served as a special advisor to the governor of Georgia on mental health, president of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association, and was awarded the Georgia Psychiatrist of the Year in 2011. 

McDonald is also engaged in community work and is vice-chair of the board of 3Keys, an Atlanta provider of housing for homeless individuals with chronic mental illness, and is on the board of directors for Skyland Trail, a nationally recognized Atlanta mental health residential treatment facility.

Recent News