Google is dedicating a doodle on its homepage to Dr. Herbert Kleber. The renowned American psychiatrist and substance abuse researcher is known for pioneering addiction psychology. The doodle is honoring the 23rd anniversary of his election to the National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine).
Dr. Kleber was born on June 19, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He attended Dartmouth College, where he studied pre-med and discovered his passion for psychology. Upon completing his psychiatric residency at Yale University, he volunteered for the United States Public Health Service in 1964. Dr. Kleber was assigned to a prison hospital in Lexington, where thousands of inmates were being treated for addiction.
Here, he noticed how the majority of patients relapsed shortly after release. But instead of viewing addiction as a moral failure, he saw it as a condition that could be treated. He then began to develop a research-based method to treat addiction. Calling it “evidence-based treatment,” Dr. Kleber used research to help patients in their road to recovery. He also used medication and therapeutic communities to ensure there was no relapse.
Dr. Herbert Kleber Recognition
“Of course, I’m an optimist,” Dr. Kleber was once quoted as saying. “How else do I work with addicts for 40 years?” The success of this treatment method also caught the eye of then US president George H.W. Bush. Bush also appointed Dr. Kleber as Deputy Director for Demand Reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Dr. Kleber also co-found the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. At the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he and his then-wife Dr. Marian W. Fischman established America’s leading research program on substance abuse.
During his long career, Dr. Kleber authored hundreds of articles, and wrote a lot of books. He will always be remembered for changing the perception towards addiction. Instead of shaming, he treated them as patients and as a result saved countless lives. He passed away last year.