Formerly Secretary and President, Iranian Psychiatric Association
Professor Harutiun Davidian was born in 1924 in Tehran, Iran. After graduating from Alborz High School, he entered the Medical School of Tehran University and qualified in 1948. Pursuing his interest in psychiatry, he joined Professor Hossein Rezaee's firm at Pahlavi Hospital for specialty training. He then went to the Institute of Psychiatry in London for further experience and training and obtained his DPM in 1958.
On his return to Iran, he joined Professor Abdolhossein Mirsepassi's academic team at Roozbeh Hospital as an assistant professor, and was promoted to full professor in 1968. During his services at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Tehran, he was head of the department on several occasions, as well as superintendent of Roozbeh psychiatric hospital, the first and most prestigious psychiatric hospital in Iran.
Professor Davidian was one of the founders of the Iranian Psychiatric Association and was elected as the secretary general and president on several occasions. He played a major role in solving the social and economic problems of Armenians in Iran, particularly during his service as the president of the Armenian Prelacy Council of Tehran. He was a mental health advisor to the World Health Organization from 1968 to 1991, and was a member of the ethical committee of the World Psychiatric Association from 1977 to 1985. He was awarded the title of ‘Leader of Psychiatry’ by the latter in 1999.
Professor Davidian was a Foundation Member and later a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He was particularly interested in the cultural aspects of psychiatry and published more than 100 papers in international and Iranian journals. He also published several books in Farsi and English. He formally retired after 42 years of service in 1991 but continued his activities as a teacher, clinician and researcher. His last book, History of Psychiatry in Iran, was published shortly before his death, and undoubtedly will remain one of the best references for Farsi-speaking psychiatrists for years.
Professor Davidian was elected the best physician by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences in 1992, and was further honoured by the University in 2002 and 2008. Owing to his immense contribution to psychiatric education and mental health services, he was elected an honorary member of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1991.
Professor Davidian always tried to find time for his hobbies, painting and Persian poetry, which received formal recognition in 2003 when he was invited to join the Academy of Persian Language and Literature. One of the duties of the Academy is to select Farsi equivalent of English medical and scientific words, an area in which Professor Davidian was highly competent. No one who heard him speak will forget his use of Persian poetry when delivering his scientific speeches.
Professor Davidian will be remembered for his warmth and generosity. He was always willing to give help and advice to colleagues and members of the Iranian Psychiatric Association.
Professor Davidian died at home on 12 November 2009 after a long-standing cardiac problem; he leaves behind him his students and colleagues to mourn for a great teacher and mentor. He is also survived by his wife Hripsime and his daughter Shake. Let peace be upon him.