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Dr. Syed Arshad Husain MD, former Chief and Training Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Missouri and Senior Vice President/Medical Director of Psychiatry Services at Compass Health, has died peacefully on the morning of September 24, 2022 at his home in Columbia, Missouri with his wife of over 50 years, Jennifer Devine Husain, by his side. He was 84 years old. A titan in the field of child psychiatry and a leading expert in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Dr. Husain’s greatest impact is the result of his decades-long global humanitarian work with children as they faced grief and trauma in the aftermath of the unimaginable destruction of natural disasters and man-made war zones.

Dr. Syed Arshad Husain was born on June 25, 1938 in Delhi, India, the fourth of eleven children. At nine years old, Arshad found himself in the midst of civil hardship following the partition of India in 1947. His family soon emigrated to Karachi, Pakistan, and during the harrowing journey he witnessed many numerous atrocities and the displacement of people into refugee camps. . This experience left an indelible impression that would later shape her professional and humanitarian endeavors.

Both a student and an outstanding athlete – he qualified for the 1960 Rome Olympics in athletics – Dr Husain’s pursuit of his medical career led to a world-first furrow at Dow Medical College in Karachi , then training in London and New York. , and finally at McGill University in Montreal. It was in the latter that he was recruited to join the nascent department of psychiatry at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Early in his tenure at MU, he was introduced to Jennifer Devine, the eldest child of Missouri football coach and future Hall of Fame inductee Dan Devine. After a short courtship, the two married in 1972. They had two sons, Kareem Daniel Husain (1973) and Abraham Darius Husain (1977), both of whom graduated from David H. Hickman High School in Columbia.

The 1980s were defined by a series of professional milestones for Dr. Husain. He was appointed head and director of training in child psychiatry at UM. In addition to his academic responsibilities, Dr. Husain was instrumental in growing a 40-bed psychiatric hospital in Windsor, Missouri into what is now Compass Health; a conglomerate of hospitals and clinics employing more than 2,800 people and considered the largest mental health system in Missouri and the third largest in the United States.

Attributing the 1992 completion of his first Hajj – the pilgrimage to the Kabba in Mecca demanded by all Muslims – as the impetus for his professional evolution towards humanitarian efforts, Dr. Husain traveled 27 times to ravaged Bosnia and Herzegovina through the war, where he met his adopted daughter Elma. Informed by lessons learned from this experience, Dr. Husain established the International Center for Psychosocial Trauma at the University of Missouri. Over the next two decades, its trauma team would train approximately 7,500 teachers, doctors, nurses and other volunteers in refugee camps in Bosnia, Palestine and Pakistan, earthquake-stricken areas in India, affected by a tsunami in Indonesia and, more locally, the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Maria, and the E5 tornado in Joplin, MO.

Demonstrating that his humanitarian efforts went beyond disaster response, Dr. Husain established the International Medical and Educational Trust (IMET) in 1998 and, through this non-profit organization, established a hospital and a birthing center in Karachi for those who did not have access to quality medical care. Dr. Husain also formulated the Mothers as Teachers (MATs) model which has given thousands of young Pakistanis the opportunity to learn in a system that often closes its doors to the less privileged.

A prolific contributor to academia, Dr. Husain has published over 70 articles in renowned medical journals, including the American Journal of Psychiatry and the Journal of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. He is the author of seven professional books on various aspects of child psychiatry, including “Road Map to Power”, and has been a member of twelve professional societies in the United States and around the world.

Preferring to emphasize the contributions of those around him, Dr. Husain could not avoid the many distinctions and honors bestowed upon him. They include: the Bruno Lima Award from the American Psychiatric Association, the Irving Phillips Memorial Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the “Pride in the Profession Award” from the American Medical Association, the “Doctor of of the Year Award from the National Council of Welfare and the Citation of Merit Award from the University of Missouri School of Medicine.

Dr. Husain continued his humanitarian work and fulfilled his role as Senior Vice President/Medical Director of Psychiatric Services at Compass Health until 3 weeks before his 82nd birthday, when a series of serious health problems forced him to retire. He spent his last 2 years in a calmer existence centered on his wife, children and four grandchildren.

He is predeceased by his father Syed Mumtaz Husain, his mother Akhtar Zamni, his brothers Raghib ul Hassan and Mumtaz Akhtar, and his sisters Zaib Naqvi and Surriya Mumtaz. He is survived by his wife Jennifer, sons Keary and Darius, daughter Elma Dizdar, daughter-in-law Jennifer Plum, grandchildren Daniel, Margaret, Charlie and Ava, brothers Massod Akhtar, Khalid Anwar, Shahid Mumtaz and Rashid Mumtaz. , sisters Khalida Yousafi and Shehanz Maudood, dozens of nieces and nephews who adored him, and the countless people who consider him a father, brother, mentor and friend.

For more information on the remarkable life of Dr. Husain and the memorial fund established in his honor, visit:

Posted on December 03, 2022

Published in the Columbia Daily Tribune

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