Message From the Director

I am delighted and deeply honored by the opportunity to serve our Center as its 12th Director. I look forward, in the coming weeks and months, to meeting with you and reflecting together on where we have been and where we hope to go as a Center. 

First, though, I want to express my deep gratitude to all those who have, with great effort and care, shepherded us through this transition. In particular, I offer my sincere thanks to Dr. Sharone Ornstein and the members of the search committee for their months of outreach, study, deliberation, and dedication. My thanks go, as well, to the members of our wider Department of Psychiatry who interviewed me and whose insights and experience informed the process. Dr. Melissa Arbuckle–who has generously given her time and attention to the Center over the years–expertly oversaw the search and selection efforts. I feel lucky to have her to call upon for guidance as our Vice-Chair. Finally, I am deeply grateful to Dr. Blair Simpson for offering me the opportunity to lead the Center. In our many meetings, Dr. Simpson demonstrated a compassionate and principled leadership that I hope to emulate. 

Each of these esteemed colleagues’ questions and observations challenged and inspired me to reflect on the past five years and to take a sharp look at the tasks ahead. 

As for my close friend and our former Director, Dr. Susan Vaughan, I think I speak for all of us in expressing my profound gratitude for her five remarkable years at our helm. Please stay tuned for an opportunity to celebrate her tenure in the Spring.

In the months ahead, I hope to meet with as many members of our community as can spare the time to share their views of the Center’s strengths and challenges and their visions for our future. I will be looking to these conversations to help guide our next steps and will reach out to you about them soon.

It is humbling to step into a role previously held by people I love and respect. I will strive to live up to their examples and to provide the kind of leadership our exceptional faculty and trainees deserve. I feel so fortunate, as I have for the past 20 years, to be a member of this rare and wonderful community. I look forward to the work ahead in service to our extraordinary Center.


Justin Richardson, MD
Director, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research