The man or woman who is chosen for Top Doctors of the Year has the distinction of having made a significant contribution to medicine throughout the current year, and has risen above his or her peers with hard work and dedication. The award for Top Doctors of the Year after a careful review of credentials and reputation we have picked is Dr. Robert L Sadoff, M.D. who specializes as a clinical professor of forensic for the University of Pennsylvania. Trademark Who’s Who is extremely proud to give this prestigious award to Dr. Robert L Sadoff, M.D. we wish him continued success.
DR. ROBERT L. SADOFF, M.D. is the clinical professor of forensic psychology for the University of Pennsylvania which is located at Suite 326 the pavilion 261 Old York Rd., Jenkintown, PA 19046. Robert Leslie Sadoff was born in the wake of the great depression to Midwestern parents who emphasized the value of doing well for others. They exposed him to a unique set of humanistic qualities that later contributed to his acquiring an unyielding commitment to those in need. His family espoused traditional Jewish principles of charity (tzedakah), repairing the world (tikkun olam), and respect for others in need. His parents influenced him significantly through their professional and personal values. They were graduates of the University Of Minnesota School Of Pharmacy, and his maternal grandmother was an herbalist. Many of his cousins became physicians or attorneys. His maternal aunt was one of the early women graduates from the University of Minnesota Law School. Sadoff was a Hebrew scholar who graduated from the University branch (Beth Midrash) of the Talmud Torah of Minneapolis, where most of the other students in his class either became rabbis or married rabbis. He matriculated at the University of Minnesota at the age of 16, after graduating as valedictorian from North High School. He had to overcome a stuttering problem to deliver his speech. He began with a biblical saying: “Everything is foreseen and yet the freedom of choice is given” (Avot 3:19). These words became a guiding creed for his future lifestyle. He carried his beliefs to the university and became the president of the Hillel Foundation, the Jewish student organization on campus. He was uncertain about his vocational direction until his father recounted his own unfulfilled dream of becoming a physician, with the apparent hope that the son would consider a career in medicine. Sadoff had mixed feelings about medicine, but after reflection he decided to take an accelerated undergraduate course and head toward medical school. Throughout his training, he always managed to maintain interests in literature, the arts, and the workings of the mind. In medical school, he began to work with one of the pioneer psychopharmacologists, Burtrum Schiele, who was one of the first American psychiatrists to conduct research on largactil, later known as thorazine. Sadoff was fortunate enough to meet his future wife while in medical school. However, his parents admonished him against marrying before he finished his studies. Perhaps the most momentous week in his life was in 1959, when he graduated from medical school, took his board examinations, drove to Detroit, and married Joan Handleman on June 21. They will celebrate their 50th anniversary next year. Influenced by his mother’s passion for law and justice, he developed an interest in forensic psychiatry. He was fortunate to be in the vicinity of the University of Southern California, where the pioneering forensic psychiatrist Seymour Pollack was teaching. Pollack would turn out to have a profound impact on Sadoff’s career development. There was no formal forensic psychiatry training at UCLA at that time, and Sadoff was a participant in the Berry Plan, which required him to meet his military obligations following completion of his residency training. He started a two-year stint at New Jersey’s Fort Dix with three other psychiatrists. He volunteered for the work in the stockade and courts martial psychiatry at Fort Dix and Walson Army Hospital while attending the law school at Temple University in the evenings. However, he did not obtain a law degree. He believed that his 33 credits were sufficient for him to learn how lawyers think and what they need from mental health professionals. He met two brilliant mentors at Temple University’s Unit in Law and Psychiatry. The first was Samuel L. Polsky, a law professor who taught courses in law and mental health. He played an important role in Sadoff’s training and development. Melvin S. Heller was the other half of the forensic psychiatry team, a Yale-educated forensic psychiatrist who helped steer Sadoff’s course within medicine and psychiatry. It was Heller who invited him to the first meeting of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL) in 1969, which was led by Jonas Rappeport and held in Baltimore. There were eight original members of AAPL who met to help each other with the training and teaching of this burgeoning subspecialty of psychiatry. Sadoff was named the first membership director of AAPL, and in that capacity initiated a membership drive with the help of Seymour Halleck and Ames Robey, in Madison, Wisconsin, in late 1969. They began with invitations to 100 practicing psychiatrists to join the newly formed professional organization. After 40 years, AAPL now has close to 2000 members worldwide. Sadoff served as the second president of AAPL from 1971 to 1973. Since that time, he has served on several committees and programs, spearheading the growth and development of AAPL and writing frequently for its Journal, as well as serving on its early editorial board. His first step at the University of Pennsylvania was to invite a psychiatrist from the Philadelphia Naval Base to become his first fellow. The stipend was paid by the Navy, and James Thrasher spent the first year, 1972 to 1973, working with Sadoff and his staff. Two other Navy officers served as fellows during the next two years while the Center for Studies in Social-Legal Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania developed its research, training, and clinical programs with the help of grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute of Justice.
SADOFF DEVELOPED a course in forensic psychiatry that was given, for several years, at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association. He continued to write and teach, not only in the United States, where he has taught in every state in the country, but also in 12 other countries. He overcame his early speech handicap to become a sought-after speaker on many topics in forensic psychiatry in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. He invited his father-in-law to one of his first presentations at the American Psychiatric Association meetings in the early 1970s. At the end of his presentation, which was warmly and enthusiastically received by his peers, his father-in-law said, “Bob, one day you’ll be a fine speaker.” The religious values seeded early in life continued to play a central role throughout Sadoff’s adulthood. He helped others, not only in psychiatry and forensic psychiatry, but through community and charitable endeavors. He served as president for 15 years of the American Red Magen David for Israel, which is the American support group for the Israeli Red Cross that provides ambulances, blood services, and other lifesaving equipment and provisions for Israelis during difficult times. He became chair of the board in 2002 and retired after three years. He then focused his charitable efforts more locally, becoming active in the Philadelphia Chapter of the Anti-Defamation League, the Center for Social Responsibility of the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia, and, more recently, serving on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of Gratz College. He has contributed his efforts at Gratz, the outstanding nonsectarian Jewish educational institution in the Philadelphia area. He is planning, in honor of his parents, to establish a symposium on interfaith dialogue, inviting members of other major religions to discuss matters of mutual concern with the hope of establishing good faith among all religions. He is the recipient of numerous national awards in forensic psychiatry, including the prestigious Isaac Ray Award in 2006, for which he is currently writing his Isaac Ray Lecture and a book: Do No Harm—Minimizing the Inherent Harm in Forensic Psychiatric Practice. He has also received, as co-author with Robert Simon, the 1992 Manfred Guttmacher Award for a book on psychiatric malpractice. He was honored by the International Academy of Law and Mental Health with the Philippe Pinel Award for outstanding work in law and mental health. He received the Nathaniel Winkelman Award from the Philadelphia Psychiatric Center for outstanding contributions to psychiatry. He was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Philadelphia Psychiatric Society and has received several other prestigious local awards and honors, including being the named speaker at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School, Temple University, and other institutions of higher education. He is especially proud of the two awards he received from the University of Pennsylvania: the Earl D. Bond Award in 1979 for outstanding teaching at the medical school and the Dean’s Special Award in 2008 for his significant and unique contributions to the teaching of medicine. This last award honors, in part, his new initiative to establish a formal Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship Training Program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently submitting all the paperwork to the various accrediting agencies and hopes to have this program up and running in July 2009. In addition, he has visions of establishing a Center for Forensic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania that will encompass several different schools within the university, including the Law School, the Nursing School, the School of Biomedical Ethics, the School of Communication, the School of Veterinary Medicine, and the School for Social Policy. His intention is to bring together a consortium of scholars under the rubric of forensic science to enhance the training program for the forensic psychiatry fellows and the residents in psychiatry. Sadoff is most proud of his teaching accomplishments and the influence he has had on many students and residents over the past 45 years. When the American Psychiatric Association met in Philadelphia several years ago, he hosted a reception and videotaped the comments of his former students, all of whom were invited to the reception. His rich legacy is already clear, but he has many more significant items to add to his “bucket list” over the next several years. He has never turned away a student or colleague who asked for help and has always been there to provide guidance and support. One mark of distinction is that he never says an unkind word about anyone.. He has an outstanding track record as a university professor and forensic expert. His contributions to humankind, built on wisdom and fueled by tireless service, make him, in our opinion, truly a renaissance man. His humanism is infectious, and he inspires most of us who know him with the desire to be better human beings. Asked when he plans to scale back his professional activities, he (now 72 years old) responded, “I have already scaled back—to full time.”
ROBERT L. SADOFF, M.D.
ADDRESS: SUITE 326 THE PAVILION 261 OLD YORK ROAD JENKINTOWN PA 19046
PHONE NUMBER: 215-887-6144