In this episode, Virgil had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Steve Sharfstein about the history of the moral treatment movement. Dr. Sharfstein is the former longtime CEO and President of the Sheppard Pratt Health Systems and former president of the American Psychiatric Association.

Virgil asked Dr. Sharfstein questions such as, “What was the moral treatment movement, in what ways did it succeed, why did it fail, and how does it still impact the treatment field today?”



Dr. Sharfstein has has a long and productive career. He served as the CEO of Sheppard Pratt for over 25 years, transforming it from an inpatient mental hospital focused on short-stays to a comprehensive health system serving a wide array of people across the lifespan in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He was also a clinical professor and the vice chair of psychiatry at the University of Maryland and held a variety of positions at the National Institute of Mental Health.


  1. What was the moral treatment movement?
  2. In what ways was the movement successful and why did it fail?
  3. Does the moral treatment movement still impact mental health treatment today?

#SteveSharfstein #SheppardPratt #MoralTreatment #podcast