St. Louis psychologist honored for his work teaching other


Stephanie Chelf

MINNEAPOLIS – In the past 15 years, Dr. C. Alec Pollard, founder and director of the Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute Anxiety Disorders Center, has taught more than 450 mental health professionals how to properly treat people suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

In doing so, Dr. Pollard has expanded access for OCD treatment for thousands of people across the country as he travels from city to city teaching valuable skills to therapists and doctors.

For his dedication, the International OCD Foundation awarded Dr. Pollard the Outstanding Service Award at its 16th annual conference this month in Minneapolis.

D.r Pollard, a professor at St. Louis University, leads the foundation’s Behavior Therapy Training Program, a low-cost intensive accredited training program to teach mental health professionals how to accurately diagnose and treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. In 2009 he led professional training in Tampa, Chicago, and will head to San Diego this fall.

OCD affects up to 4 million people in the United States, yet there is a shortage in the number of therapists who are trained in Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), the most widely accepted treatment for OCD. According to foundation research, it takes an average of 14 to 17 years from the onset of OCD symptoms for a person to receive effective treatment.

“Our goal is decrease that gap so all OCD sufferers have a chance to learn how to manage their OCD symptoms. That starts with the doctors who treat them,” Pollard said. “It’s an honor to do this work with people who are so dynamic and hungry for information.”

The OCDF is a nonprofit that works to improve the quality of life for OCD sufferers and their families by funding research, providing support groups and information about treatment options, and by training mental health professionals.

“Dr Pollard has been all over this country to share his expertise so people everywhere have the chance to meet a qualified therapist who can navigate them through the appropriate OCD treatment,” said Dr Jeff Szymanski, executive director of the OCDF.  “Pollard’s work has made the OCD community better and improved the lives of patients.”

About The International OCD Foundation

The International OCD Foundation is the foremost resource about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and related illnesses. It is an international organization that exists to raise awareness among policy makers and the general public about OCD, educate the mental health community about the latest treatments and research, connect people suffering from OCD with treatment providers, and advance research for more effective treatments. Based in Boston, the IOCDF has affiliates in Minnesota, San Francisco, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Boston, and Puerto Rico. The IOCDF was founded as the Obsessive Compulsive Foundation in 1986 by a dozen OCD patients at Yale. Twenty-two years later the organization has an annual $1 million annual operating budget, has granted $2.5 million for treatment research, and is a resource for tens of thousands of people. For more information visit