Anna L. Dickerman graduated from Harvard University in 2005 with a degree in History of Art and Architecture, magna cum laude. While at Harvard, she sought to combine her interest in the brain and mind with her love of the arts, and ultimately won a Thomas Temple Hoopes prize for her interdisciplinary senior thesis entitled: “In a Fine Frenzy: La Folie de Hugues van der Goes, a Flemish Portrait of Madness and Genius” under the supervision of Professor Henri Zerner. Dr. Dickerman went on to receive her medical degree from New York University School of Medicine, and decided to pursue a career in psychiatry. She completed her general psychiatric residency at the Payne Whitney Clinic of New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. She is currently completing a fellowship in Psychosomatic Medicine (Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry) at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. Beginning in July 2014, she will be an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and Assistant Attending Psychiatrist on the Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. In addition to numerous other academic honors and distinctions, Dr. Dickerman has been published in the American Journal of Psychiatry and has contributed to major textbooks from American Psychiatric Publishing, including D.S.M.-5 Clinical Cases. She recently presented her work on psychodynamic treatment of conversion disorder at the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine annual conference in November 2013. Dr. Dickerman’s main clinical and academic interests include psychiatric care of the medically ill, somatic symptom disorders, and psychodynamic psychotherapy.
Anna says: "My day-to-day work as a psychiatric consultant involves helping other (non-psychiatric) types of doctors better understand their patients in an attempt to relieve mental suffering. Trying to comprehend the complexities of another human being’s mind is not unlike analyzing a work of art. There is no question that my art history training at Harvard has been hugely important in helping me hone my skills in clinical observation. Looking carefully can often be key to making a correct diagnosis or achieving a better understanding of someone. Even something as subtle as a patient’s body language, the way in which the patient arranges him or herself physically in the room, can be hugely telling. I remember so fondly when I first saw Charcot's photographs of the "hysterics" at the Salpetriere in Professor Zerner's class on 19th century art...these images haunted and moved me profoundly. In fact, I am now developing an area of specialization within psychiatry that focuses on modern-day correlates of such patients (we no longer call it "hysteria," but rather "conversion disorder")."