Remembering Dr. Carl Bell and Honoring his Legacy

The UIC Department of Psychiatry gathered for the annual Dr. Carl Bell Memorial Lecture on September 27, 2023, honoring the prominent community psychiatrist and former Director of the Institute for Juvenile Research. Dr. Bell was an extraordinary man with an impressive list of accomplishments – author of over 500 publications, recipient of the American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Service Award and the Adolph Meyer Award for Lifetime Achievement in Psychiatric Research, member of the National Academy of Sciences Board of Children Youth and Families, and Member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council of the National Institutes of Health. But beyond these accomplishments, Dr. Bell dedicated his work, influence, energy, and passion to the community, particularly the southside of Chicago, and never shied away from controversy for the benefit of others. He established the Community Mental Health Council to provide comprehensive mental health services to residents of Chicago’s Southside communities, and always prioritized the underserved and underrepresented. We were privileged to know Dr. Bell as our Director, colleague, and friend. We are diminished by his passing and miss him dearly.

To honor Dr. Bell’s indelible legacy, Illinois State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. spoke at the Annual Dr. Bell Memorial Lecture on “Mental Health: The Crisis, The Cause, and The Cure.” Senator Sims, Jr. serves as State Senator for the 17th Illinois Senate District, including portions of the southside of Chicago, Chicago’s South Suburbs, and Will and Kankakee counties. Sharing Dr. Bell’s focus, Senator Sims, Jr. emphasizes the importance of communities and families and has championed legislation to improve the quality of schools, public safety, criminal justice reform, and mental health awareness. In his lecture, Senator Sims highlighted the need to improve community mental health with policies that address societal stigma, lack of access, and systemic inequalities that disproportionately affect the underserved. In his work, Senator Sims, Jr., has advocated for increased funding and resources for mental health services; in this lecture, the Senator appealed to the expertise and experience of the audience to identify the areas that need priority. Senator Sims, Jr., made an impassioned call for societal change, policy reform, and increased support systems to create a healthy and compassionate society, and encouraged the members of our Department to work with his team towards these goals. Let us reach out to make an impact on the community, following in the footsteps of Dr. Bell.


Senator Elgie R. Sims

esimsatsenatorelgiesims [dot] com

(773) 933-7715

8233 S. Princeton Ave., Chicago, IL 60620