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Heritage Snapshot: Part 180

By Richard Schaefer
Community Writer
2015-10-07 at 14:06:18
Born January 13, 1929, in Columbus, Ohio, George T. Harding IV, MD, was the grandson of George T. Harding II, MD, who in the early 1900s became the first Seventh-day Adventist psychiatrist. He grew up in Worthington, Ohio, the locale of the Harding Hospital, founded in 1916 by his grandfather, and Worthington Foods, founded in 1939 by his father, George T. Harding III, MD. His father was president of the Loma Linda College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University) from 1948 to 1951. During World War II George, as a teenager, worked as a psychiatric aid at the Harding Hospital and had many opportunities to learn about medicine. He attended Washington Missionary College (now Washington Adventist University), Pacific Union College, and La Sierra College (now La Sierra University), graduating in 1949. While a medical student, he married Joan Loveless on August 25, 1952 in Glendale, California. The Hardings have five daughters: Pamela Libby; Mary Ann Schaepper, MD; Carolyn Harding Meizlish; Julie King; and Elizabeth Harrington. They have 12 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Dr. Harding graduated from the College of Medical Evangelists (now Loma Linda University School of Medicine) Class of 1953-B on June 7, 1953. His was the first class to receive diplomas immediately upon completion of the medical course, as previous classes had to first gain internship experience before receiving their diplomas. He took a one-year internship at Ohio State University and a psychiatry residency at the Harding Hospital in Worthington, Ohio, and the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas. He served as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps from 1955 to 1957. Dr. Harding’s grandfather, George T. II, while on the staff of the Columbus (Ohio) State Hospital learned the effectiveness of “moral therapy.” While reading the writings of pioneer psychoanalyst, Sigmund Freud, he recognized that a spiritual component—something he learned years before while a student at Battle Creek College, was missing. Participating along with the Menningers in Topeka, Kansas, in the development of “milieu therapy,” Dr. Harding’s father (George T. III, MD) and uncle (Harrison S. Evans, MD) added attention to spiritual and religious concerns in comprehensive psychiatric treatment. This addition contributed to the acceptance of psychiatry and mental health treatment by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Loma Linda University, in contrast to the opposition to mental health treatment exhibited by many conservative religious groups. Dr. Harding joined Harrison Evans, L. Harold Caviness, Charles Anderson, and Charles Witchiebe in giving leadership to the Annual Institute on Mental Health, which trained more than 700 Adventist clergy over a 25-year period. Not only has Dr. Harding exercised leadership within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he also has been a leader in professional organizations and community activities. Through the years he was an active participant in the Alumni Association of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine. He convened Seventh-day Adventist psychiatrists for a breakfast meeting during the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. He also served as President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, and Chaired the Committee on Spirituality and Religion of the American Psychiatric Association. In the year 2000, Dr. Harding was invited to become Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, Loma Linda University. In this role he emphasized the bio-psycho-social-spiritual education of medical students and resident physicians, emphasizing the value of relationships and psychotherapy. He also encouraged the participation of department faculty in regional and national professional organizations, and gave leadership to funding the Harrison S. Evans MD Endowed Chair in Psychiatry. Dr. Harding comes from a family of 27 physicians, including 10 psychiatrists: his grandfather, father, two uncles, one aunt, three brothers, daughter, and nephew. His brother, Richard, is a past president (2001) of the American Psychiatric Association, the first Loma Linda graduate to achieve that honor, and his daughter, Mary Ann Harding Schaepper, MD, directed the Psychiatry Residency Program at Loma Linda University from 2002 to 2014, and is currently in the private practice of psychiatry in Redlands. His great uncle, Warren G. Harding, was the 29th president of the United States. Dr. Harding, now Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, is not only an effective clinician, skillful therapist, and stimulating teacher, but also a person who recognizes the importance of planning, organizing, and reaching out beyond the boundaries of one’s professional practice or department. He invites and encourages people to join in efforts to improve not only the lives of individuals, but also organizations and communities. He believes that psychiatry, along with the spiritual and religious, deals with ultimate concerns—the most important issues in life. And to work collaboratively to heal the whole person and further the teaching and healing mission of Jesus Christ.

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