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About Daniel B. Fisher

In an effort to uncover the biochemical basis of mental illness, I obtained a PhD and carried out neurochemical research at NIMH. I uncovered the mechanisms of dopamine and serotonin biosynthesis. However, during that research, the reductionist approach to life it was based upon caused me great despair. As a result, at the age of 25, I withdrew into my own world. I was diagnosed with schizophrenia and hospitalized on 3 occasions. During the next 5 years, I recovered from what is described as schizophrenia, and developed a vision of humanizing the mental health system. To fulfill that dream, I earned a MD, and completed psychiatric training at Harvard Medical School. I have practiced as a board-certified, community psychiatrist for 30 years.
My passion has been to bring the hope to all who suffer that they can recover a life and become experts by experience. To transform national mental health policies from fear to hope, Judi Chamberlin, Pat Deegan, Laurie Ahern, and I co-founded the National Empowerment Center. I was a member of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2002-03) and through that position was able to bring hope and recovery to national awareness. Then I helped organize the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, to make recovery a reality. Through that Coalition I have been working with a large national team on a SAMHSA contract called BRSS TACS, or Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center.
Recently I have been promoting peer-run crisis respite alternatives to hospitalization. I have also helped develop emotional CPR, a program for teaching community members how help each other through an emotional crisis.


Present Affiliate in Psychiatry, University of Massachusetts Medical School Department of Psychiatry
Present Executive Director, National Empowerment Center, Lawrence, MA

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • Frank Oliviera Advocacy Award, NYAPRS (2009)
  • Judge David Bazelon Award for Mental Health Advocacy (2002)
  • Clifford Beers Award by National Mental Health Association (2002)

Contact Information

National Empowerment Center
599 Canal Street
Lawrence MA 01840
Toll-free: 800-power2u (800-769-3728)

Articles (6)

Contributions to Books (3)

Other (2)