OhioMHAS Pays Tribute to Iconic Mental Health Leader
Dr. Howard Sokolov Remembered for Expertise, Leadership and Contributions
Ohio’s behavioral health field lost a legend with the passing of Dr. Howard Sokolov, an outstanding psychiatrist, leader, scholar and person who made tremendous contributions to Ohio’s mental health field for decades.
Dr. Sokolov served as Commissioner of the former department of Mental Health in the 1970s, and subsequently had a number of other important positions including Forensic Medical Director and Acting Medical Director for an extended period. He was instrumental in updating the forensic mental health processes in the Ohio Revised Code, and many other states have since turned to this work as a model for modernizing their own forensic systems. He also served as President of the Ohio Psychiatric Association and was Professor of Psychiatry and George T. Harding III Psychotherapy Chair at The Ohio State University, where he was named as “Professor of the Year” by the psychiatry residents on several occasions.
Dr. Sokolov completed his undergraduate degree at Columbia University and his medical degree at the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, followed by residency training at the University of Cincinnati and certification in psychoanalysis at the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute. He received numerous honors and awards, including Best Doctors in America and the Ohio Forensic Award from the former Ohio Department of Mental Health.
OhioMHAS Medical Director Dr. Mark Hurst recently reflected on his relationship with Dr. Sokolov.
“I worked for Dr. Sokolov when he was Medical Director at the old Harding Hospital in Worthington and I was the director of addiction treatment services. During those years, I had the pleasure of meeting with Howard each week for supervision which I continue to value. These years and his mentorship were key to my professional and personal development, as he was not only knowledgeable but also incredibly wise,” said Dr. Hurst.
“Howard was a great man, and I am proud to have known him. He will be missed,” he said.
Robert Baker, assistant chief of the OhioMHAS Bureau of Criminal Justice added, “I had the privilege of working closely with Howard for over 12 years. His wisdom, insight, and delightful sense of humor created a wonderful working environment. I will miss him as a mentor and friend.”