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Mclean Hospital

Update: 2015/1/17      View:
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McLean Hospital

McLean Hospital  is a psychiatric hospital in BelmontMassachusetts. It is noted for its clinical staff expertise and ground-breaking neuroscience research. It is also known for the large number of famous people who have been treated there, including mathematician John Nash,singer-songwriters James Taylor and Ray Charles,poets Sylvia PlathRobert Lowell, and Anne Sexton, and authors Susanna Kaysen and David Foster Wallace.McLean maintains the world's largest neuroscientific and psychiatric research program in a private hospital. It is the largest psychiatric facility of Harvard Medical School, an affiliate ofMassachusetts General Hospital and owned by Partners HealthCare, which also owns Brigham and Women's Hospital.


McLean was founded in 1811 in a section of Charlestown, Massachusetts, that is now a part of neighboring Somerville, Massachusetts. Originally named Asylum for the Insane, it was the first institution organized by a cooperation of prominent Bostonians who were concerned about homeless mentally ill persons "abounding on the streets and by-ways in and about Boston." The effort was organized by Rev. John Bartlett, chaplain of the Boston Almshouse. The hospital was built around a Charles Bulfinch mansion, which became the hospital's administrative building; most of the other hospital buildings were completed by 1818. The institution was later given the name The McLean Asylum for the Insane in honor of one of its earliest benefactors, John McLean, who granted it enough money to build several such hospitals at the 1818 cost. A portrait of McLean now hangs in the present Administration Building, along with other paintings that were once displayed in the original hospital. In 1892, the facility was renamed McLean Hospital in recognition of broader views on the treatment of mental illness.


      In 1895 the campus moved to Waverley Oaks Hill in Belmont, Massachusetts. The civil engineer Joseph Curtis and Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect who also conceptualized theEmerald Necklace public spaces of Boston, New York's Central Park, and Hartford's Institute of Living, were consulted on the selection of the hospital site. The move was necessitated by changes in Charlestown, including new rail lines and other distracting development. Olmsted was eventually treated at McLean, but there is no evidence that he was responsible for the design of the grounds. Once hospital construction began, Curtis was hired by the hospital and supervised the landscape work for many years.

      In the 1990s, facing falling revenue in a changing health care industry, the hospital drafted a plan to sell a percentage of its grounds for development by the Town of Belmont. The sale of the land became the root of a divisive and somewhat baroque political debate in the town during the late 1990s. Ultimately a plan to preserve some of Olmsted's original open space and to allow the town to develop mixed residential and commercial real estate prevailed over a plan to create only high-end residential development. The deal was finalized in 2005 and land development was well underway at the end of the year. Most of its Belmont campus (more than 300 acres (120 ha)) were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.

McLean is known widely for its treatment of adolescents, most specifically its treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder using Dialectical Behavioral Therapy developed by Marsha M. Linehan.

McLean is presently led by Scott L. Rauch, President and Psychiatrist in Chief, who is known for his innovative work using brain imaging methods to study psychiatric dysfunction.

McLean is differentiated from its New England peers (such as The Institute of Living and the Brattleboro Retreat) by its combination of teaching, treatment, and research. Most other facilities focus on one of these priorities.

McLean Hospital is currently ranked 1st among all psychiatric hospitals in the country according to U.S. News and World Report.

Notable patients

  • Actor Billy West
  • Athlete Ricky Williams
  • Athlete Brandon Marshall
  • Athlete Aldon Smith
  • Musician James Taylor
  • Musician Livingston Taylor
  • Musician Kate Taylor
  • Musician Ray Charles
  • Musician Steven Tyler
  • Musician Rick James
  • Musician Marianne Faithfull
  • Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted
  • Poet Anne Sexton
  • Poet Robert Lowell
  • Poet Sylvia Plath
  • Mathematician John Nash
  • Writer David Foster Wallace
  • Writer Susanna Kaysen
  • Writer Elizabeth Wurtzel
  • Writer Luanne Rice
  • Socialite Louis Agassiz Shaw II
  • Scholar John Strugnell
  • Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of writerF. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Transcendentalist Jones Very
  • Scientist Charles Thomas Jackson

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