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Professor Wayne Katon, one of the most influential consultation-liaison psychiatrists of his generation and pioneer in collaborative mental health care, died from lymphoma on March 1st 2015 at his home in Seattle. He was 64.

Professor Wayne Katon devoted much of his career to working out how outcomes could be improved for patients with depression seen in primary care.  His answer, developed iteratively over a number of years, was ‘collaborative care’, the key element of which is a system of collaboration of a liaison psychiatrist with primary care doctors combined with monitoring of outcomes. This seminal development was first found to be effective in a trial published in 1995. Wayne subsequently worked with colleagues to deliver more trials of collaborative care including the large IMPACT trial for late life depression. He further developed collaborative care to provide integrated medical and psychiatric care, the value of which was established by the TEAM care trial published in 2010. This trial found that the integrated and active management of both medical (diabetes and heart disease) and psychiatric (major depression) disorders achieved not only better medical outcomes, but also a greater effect on depression than previous collaborative trials, showing the synergistic effect of integration. Collaborative care is now established as an effective approach to improving patient care internationally.

His key publications include:

Katon W, Von Korff M, Lin EH, Walker E, Simon GE, Bush T, et al. Collaborative management to achieve treatment guidelines. Impact on depression in primary care. J Am Med Assoc. 1995;273:1026-31

Unutzer J, Katon W, Callahan CM, Williams JW, Jr., Hunkeler E, Harpole L, et al. Collaborative care management of late-life depression in the primary care setting: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Med Assoc. 2002;288(22):2836-45.

Katon WJ, Lin EH, Von Korff M, Ciechanowski P, Ludman EJ, Young B, et al. Collaborative care for patients with depression and chronic illnesses. N Engl J Med. 2010;363(27):2611-20.


Michael Sharpe


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