Wayne Katon, MD, Pioneer of Collaborative Care

Wayne Katon, MD, died on March 1st of lymphoma. Dr. Katon was vice chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington (UW). He was a pioneer in the integration of primary care and behavioral health, specifically in the collaborative mental health care model.

Jürgen Unützer, UW professor and chair of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences said in a letter to colleagues “Wayne was truly a great human being, a mensch, a dear friend, a generous mentor and a wonderful colleague to so many of us.” For more than 35 years, Katon worked graciously and tirelessly to improve the lives of those living with mental and physical health problems.

Dr. Katon recognized the need for integrated care early in his career when he did an elective rotation in family medicine and recognized that the vast majority of people with depression and anxiety never got treatment. His pioneering work in the field as physician and researcher was vitally important to the development of the collaborative care model, and the evidence base for it. In his recent blog post, Tom Insel, MD, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health described Katon as

“…a brilliant, effective, innovative leader. Wayne led the team that conducted the first large randomized controlled trial of the collaborative care approach for depression. Since its original publication in JAMA in 1995, randomized controlled trials around the world, more recently in low- and middle-income countries, have validated the effectiveness of this approach.”

Katon’s colleague, Jürgen Unützer said:

“Today the collaborative care model pioneered by Wayne and his research team puts effective depression care in reach for millions of people living with depression around the world. The greatest tribute to Wayne’s legacy will be the broad implementation of collaborative care during this era of mental health care reform.”

For additional information, see the AIMS Center website.

Katon W, Von Korff M, Lin E, et al. Collaborative management to achieve treatment guidelines. Impact on depression in primary care. JAMA. 1995 Apr 5;273(13):1026-31. PubMed Citation

Posted March 2015