Accomplished Career Earns Favazza ’62 Golden Disc for Distinguished Achievement

By JoLynne Bremmer | June 25, 2012

Barbara Starks Favazza ’62 graduated from Beaver College as Class Valedictorian, with Departmental Honors in Chemistry.

She continued her education by attending the University of Virginia Medical School, earning her Doctor of Psychiatry degree in 1966, breaking through the Civil Rights barriers of the 60s to be recognized as the first African-American female to earn a degree in medicine from that institution.

After completing her residency in psychiatry and fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical Center in 1971, she began her career as a child psychiatrist with the Contra Costa County Hospital in Martinez, California. She treated children and their families, served as psychiatric consultant to the hospital’s clinical social workers and pediatricians, supervised staff psychiatrists, and began to teach psychiatry.

She left California for Missouri in 1973 to become a child psychiatrist at the Mid-Missouri Mental health Center in Columbia. She maintained a busy clinical practice, consulted, taught, supervised and mentored medical students and psychiatric residents and, along the way, she quietly built her reputation as one of the foremost mental health practitioners in the state.

As a member of the Missouri State Mental Health Commission appointed by the governor, she made many substantial contributions to local legislative bodies and mental health organizations and facilities.

Taking a few years off to become a full-time parent, Favazza returned to full-time professional work in 1980 when she was appointed clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Missouri Department of Psychiatry, specializing in children’s emotional needs. As director of the department’s residency training program, she was responsible for recruitment, education and faculty-resident liaison, and was a much sought after supervisor and mentor for generations of medical trainees and young professionals.

Favazza is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, member of the American Association of University women and the Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and a prominent member of the State of Missouri Children’s Service Commission Subcommittee on Mental Health. Throughout her more than 30-year career of distinguished service in psychiatry, she has been highly regarded as a pillar of Missouri’s mental health establishment.

Favazza describes herself as “first and foremost a clinician.” Her classmate describes her as a “modest person who simply, does.” Children, families, medical trainees, young professionals—many have benefitted from her legacy that embraces the passion to serve and the will to get it done.