Dr. Jonathan Shay

For 20 years Dr. Jonathan Shay was a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Boston, where his only patients were combat veterans with severe psychological injuries. He retired from clinical work in May, 2008 to devote himself full time to preventive psychiatry in military organizations—what he calls his “missionary work” focusing on moral injury and psychological and emotional pain. While he has written and lectured on matters that have interested academics, he has not held a conventional faculty position anywhere for decades. Sporadically, he has held positions within US military institutions, such as Visiting Scholar-at-Large at the US Naval War College (2001), performed the Commandant of the Marine Corps Trust Study (1999-2000), served as Chair of Ethics, Leadership, and Personnel Policy in the Office of the US Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (2004-2005), and spring semester 2009 was the Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership at the US Army War College jointly with Dickinson College. He has been a MacArthur Fellow since January 2008. He is the author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994) and Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002). The latter has a Foreword authored jointly by US Senators John McCain and Max Cleland. He is currently attempting to “wrestle to the ground” a multivolume work titled Trust within Fighting Forces: Its Significance, Its Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction. He has contributed to understanding the role of theater in the democratic polity of classical Athens, where every citizen was ipso facto a soldier or sailor, and the polity itself constantly at war. He is planning expansion of this theme into a book, once the wrestling match is over.Dr. Shay has delivered a number of high-profile named lectures in Classics over the years, for example, The Eitner Lecture in Classics at Stanford University. The title was “Agamemnon, Achilles, Odysseus: Homer on Military Leadership.”Dr. Shay is Class of 1963 at Harvard College, has an “ABD” [wry smile] in sociology from the GSAS at Columbia, and an MD-PhD from the University of Pennsylvania.