Danny Wedding, PhD: 2011 Lasting Legacy Award Recipient

Dr. Danny Wedding’s impact on mental health in Missouri can be measured by the millions of dollars in research and grant funding for mental health that has come to the state in the past two decades.

A clinical psychologist, Dr. Wedding directed the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) for 19 years.  He resuscitated what had become a moribund institution by the time he moved to St. Louis in 1991, and during his tenure as the Institute’s Director, Dr. Wedding increased annual research funding at the Institute from $135,000 to over $6,500,000. 

Dr. Wedding was instrumental in recruiting dozens of new faculty to the Institute, and he worked with these individuals to write grant applications that were submitted to federal, state and local funding agencies.  Many of these grants were awarded, and they routinely brought $20,000,000 – $30,000,000 to the state each year to serve the clients of the Missouri Department of Mental Health.  These grants provided important services that supported a myriad of clients from the Department of Mental Health, and they helped the Department evaluate new and existing programs and identify best practices as well as those programs that yielded the highest return for the tax payers of Missouri.

Dr. Wedding has served on the Boards of numerous mental health agencies and institutions (e.g., Independence Center, NAMI of Greater Saint Louis) and he has served the Department of Mental Health in numerous ways (e.g., participating in Transformation grant work groups).

When the Institute’s state funding was cut over 90 percent in 2010, Dr. Wedding characteristically and unselfishly resigned from his role as the Institute’s Director and gave up his position as a tenured full professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia so limited and precious sate funds could be used to support other positions and activites at MIMH.

Dr. Wedding’s final contribution to the mental health community was to work with the Department to make the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) the next academic home for the Institute; this simple change will bring more then $400,000 in revenue to the Institute each year, and this new affiliation will facilitate additional grants and collaborative research that will support enhanced mental health services in Missouri.