Professor Israel Kolvin, child psychiatrist, was born on May 5, 1929. He died on March 12, 2002 aged 72. Psychiatrist who investigated the 'cycle of deprivation' which afflicts some children and the factors that make others resilient. Israel Kolvin was one of a small band of child and adolescent psychiatrists of his generation who made a substantial research contribution to the health of troubled children, not only in Britain but in many less privileged parts of the world. A respected clinician and university teacher, his major contribution was through his research into the causes of many childhood psychiatric disorders and how to treat them.
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Child and adolescent psychiatry entered a new phase of its short existence in the early and mid-1960s. The subject, previously dominated by psychoanalytic theories, especially those formulated by Sigmund and Anna Freud as well as by Melanie Klein and Donald Winnicott, then became open to empirical research studies aiming to investigate the nature, extent and causes of emotional and behavioural disorders in the general child population. The findings of these epidemiological and clinical studies have had an important impact on policies for children and for the development of services. For at least two decades, the UK led the world in this approach and still plays a major role. For four decades, Israel Kolvin was right in the forefront among those who pioneered such work.
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Professor Israel Kolvin, who has died aged 72, made an important research contribution to our understanding of the health of emotionally troubled children, and to the practice of child psychiatry. He was one of a small number of child psychiatrists, who, over the last 40 years, established an academic base for the subject.
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The British Medical Journal
Bowlby emeritus professor of child and family mental health Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust (b Johannesburg, South Africa, 1929; q Witwatersrand1955), died after a long illness on 12 March 2002. During his medical training his funds ran out and he had to leave and work in various jobs, taking a BA in psychology in 1951, before completing his studies. During his term as house physician he became interested in psychiatry and left South Africa with his wife to train in psychiatry at Edinburgh University.
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The Jewish Chronicle
One of the leading child psychiatrists of his generation, South African-born Professor Israel (Issy) Kolvin embarked on a research career in Britain which generated 240 learned articles and five books across the whole field of child psychiatry.
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Israel Kolvin was one of a small group of medical practitioners who, in the late 1950s, decided to specialise in child and adolescent psychiatry. Over the next 4 decades ‘Issy’ Kolvin was to become one of the great pioneers of academic child mental health and a leading figure in clinical child and adolescent psychiatry.
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The death of Professor Israel Kolvin - affectionately known as Issy - on 12 March 2002, followed an illness he had endured and fought bravely during the preceding year. It was not unexpected, in view of his illness, but it was somewhat premature in someone who still had so much to offer to the field of child and family mental health. Issy's death brought very great sadness to all of us who know him, and most particularly to his beloved family.
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Speeches by Issy’s son, Philip, at his funeral in March 2002 and his stone-setting in March 2003.
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