Dr. Herbert Kleber, hailed for his pioneering work in addiction treatment, was honoured with a Google Doodle today. He was a renowned American psychiatrist and a substance abuse researcher. Tuesday marks the 23rd anniversary of his election to the prestigious National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).
The doodle shows Kleber with a notepad in hand sitting across from a woman, who could be presumed to be a patient. “Of course I’m an optimist,” he once remarked. “How else do I work with addicts for 40 years?”
Volunteering for the United States Public Health Service in 1964, Kleber was assigned to a prison hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, where thousands of inmates were being treated for addiction.
Kleber, who viewed addiction as a medical condition as opposed to moral failure, described his nursing method as “evidence-based treatment.” Instead of punishing or shaming patients, Kleber carefully used medication and therapeutic communities to help patients stay on the road to recovery and avoid relapse.
A self-described “perpetual optimist,” Kleber changed the landscape of addiction treatment, allowing patients to be diagnosed and treated rather than shamed. His success attracted the attention of President George H.W. Bush, who appointed him Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Born in 1934, Kleber founded and headed the Drug Dependence Unit at Yale University, where he was Professor of Psychiatry. He and his then-wife Dr. Marian W. Fischman also established America’s leading research program on substance abuse during their stint at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
Kleber authored hundreds of articles, books in the field of addiction treatment and mentored young physicians. “One of Herb’s greatest characteristics was his generosity. Herb mentored a great number of the leading academic researchers in the country. Beyond academics, he championed many people’s professional and personal lives,” his widow Anne Burlock Lawver told Google.
The illustration has been designed by guest artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka.