Robert Bernstein, Ph.D., served as president and CEO of the Bazelon Center for almost 20 years before his retirement in 2016. He is a psychologist with a strong interest in ensuring meaningful community participation and promoting the consumer voice within mental health systems, particularly for individuals who are marginalized or neglected by public systems.
For 19 years prior to joining the Bazelon Center in 1997, Dr. Bernstein was the architect and director of one of the nation's oldest and largest mental health and aging programs. NSO-Older Adult Services in Detroit, Michigan, featured an innovative system that blended in-home services and advocacy to support older adults with persistent mental illnesses in integrated community settings. In addition to his work with that trail-blazing program, he also ran a private practice where he specialized in treating children and adolescents.
Dr. Bernstein is a leader in the field of mental health policy and advocacy. He has published several important papers and served as an expert in litigation concerning such areas as conditions in psychiatric institutions, the use of seclusion and restraint, community mental health, older adult needs, and fair housing. He also contributed to the preparation of the 1999 Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health and the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health.