Frank J. Menolascino, MD, c. 1973



Frank J. Menolascino, MD, c. 1973




Frank J. Menolascino, MD, was born in Omaha, Nebraska, January 1, 1930. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Omaha in 1952 and his medical degree from UNMC in 1957. He joined the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry in 1958. Dr. Menolascino also joined the team at the Nebraska Psychiatric Institute (NPI) as the clinical director and a pediatric psychiatrist.

At NPI, Dr. Menolascino worked closely with Wolf Wolfensberger, MD, developing a lifelong friendship. The two men worked together to develop community activism and support for persons with intellectual disabilities as well as championing the deinstitutionalization movement in Nebraska. They also helped created the Eastern Nebraska Community Office of Retardation (ENCOR), the first community-based support program in Nebraska and one of the first in the United States for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

In 1985, Dr. Menolascino became chair of the combined Department of Psychiatry for Creighton and UNMC, the first joint program in the United States. During his tenure he authored 14 books and over 200 papers. He was also a visiting professor in France, Scotland, Japan, Austria, England, the Netherlands, and Canada. During his travels, Dr. Menolascino became an internationally recognized expert on the treatment of mental illness in persons with intellectual disabilities. Dr. Menolascino served as chair of the department until his death in 1992.

He received many awards and honors, including being one of only two Americans to receive the Blake March Lecture Award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London. He received this award for his groundbreaking work on dual diagnostics of patients with intellectual disabilities and mental illness, which greatly improved treatment. His work led to the establishment of the Dual Diagnostic Unit at UNMC. The National Association on Dual Diagnosis (NADD) gives out the Frank J. Menolascino Award of Excellence annually to honor excellence, extraordinary achievements, and significant contributions in the field of dual diagnosis.




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