Interview with Dr. Call, Med Times Copyright, All Rights Reserved, 2004-2005
Being an active Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Human behavior and of Pediatrics at UC Irvine since 1994, Dr. Justin David Call now lives at his beautiful home at Newport Beach, with his backyard facing the bay, and practices psychiatry for children and adolescents privately. He graduated from University of Utah for his B.A in 1944, and the School of Medicine, for M.D in 1946. And from then on until 1965, he had gone through 10 different professional training including pediatrics internship, residency in child neuropsychiatry and pediatrics, child psychiatric and adult psychoanalytic training programs, chronologically, from New York to Los Angeles, to show his passion and great interest in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. He has published more than 100 scientific papers and written or edited seven books from his experience and clinical work in infancy. Dr. Call has also co-founded the World Association for Infant Psychiatry and has become world-recognized leader in infant psychiatry. Enjoying exploring the magic of how brain and mind work together, he emphasizes mainly on infancy and focuses on attachment, language acquisition, and early intervention in infant psychopathology. He has followed some of his patients who are in their forties today. Now this experienced doctor spends most of his time seeing general patients for developmental, behavioral, and family problems.
MT: Where will child psychiatry go in the Millennium?
Call: In 15-20 years, what I see is the importance of how brain develops with mind. We have to deal with changing dynamics because one thing can go right but the other goes wrong simultaneously, and this is a dramatic event in early infancy. It wont be long for psychology and neuroscience to merge to an unity.
MT: Why did you specialize in psychiatry and psychoanalysis?
Call: During the first five years of pediatric training and research, I was very curious about human. Thats why I specialized in psychiatry and psychoanalysis after finishing my pediatrician residency. And brain, "the origin of mind" has always kept me interested and has made me want to learn more and more.
MT: What kept you learn continuously throughout this long time? Dont you get tired?
Call: Well, I always feel learning about the brain is interesting. Thats what keeps me going. I also want to learn the unconscious mental process and what the mind is like. During the training I had at UCLA, I learned to give helpful personal analysis, and I learned more about myself as well. I want to discover the basis of the problems and to understand how the mind works. The early life mind development is a simplistic notion, and people dont notice that till the adolescence. The early development is extremely important for later functioning. But most people dont realize how important it is, thats why some mental diseases are hard to cure at later time. My interest in this field is to prevent and treat mental illness. The brain is such a complex structure which is highly structured, even cloned or identical twins who have the same genetic make up dont develop their brains identically. The environment is the major factor here. In the first three years of child life, language acquisition lead to different developments of brain and mind.