Prof. Dr. Joseph Biederman

During the opening ceremony of the 8th World Congress on ADHD 2021...

held as a virtual congress from 6 – 9 May 2021, Prof. Dr. Joseph Biederman was awarded the Medal of the World Federation of ADHD for a lifetime of outstanding contributions to the science and practice of ADHD. Dr. Biederman, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, is Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Chief of the Pediatric Psychopharmacology and Adult ADHD Program at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston Massachusetts.

Dr. Biederman is the epitome of the clinician-researcher. His reputation for outstanding clinical care is so high that people from around the world seek his help.  His clinical observations led to several key breakthroughs. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he observed that many of his patients with ADHD also had clinically significant depressive and anxiety disorders.  He confirmed that observation and used the family study method to show that these disorders ran together in families.  His findings were widely replicated by many groups around the world and confirmed by recent genome-wide association studies.

Dr. Biederman was one of the first to see that some ADHD children met diagnostic criteria for bipolar disorder.  His clinical research suggested that second generation antipsychotic medications would be useful for treating childhood bipolar disorder with or without ADHD and his work was confirmed by randomized controlled trials.  

In the early 1990s, many believed that nearly all children with ADHD would outgrow their disorder in adolescence.  Dr. Biederman was one of the few to observe that many patients with ADHD continued to have ADHD into adulthood.  His research documented the persistence of ADHD into adulthood, its validity based on clinical and familial correlates and the efficacy of medications for ADHD in adults with ADHD.
Today, in 2021, psychiatric comorbidity in ADHD and adult ADHD are widely accepted.  But the path to acceptance was not easy; we would not have gotten here so quickly without Prof Biederman's untiring work. Prof Biederman's work is so highly cited that he places in the top 1% of researchers worldwide across all disciplines of science.