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Association News
DB Executive Mary Cliffe Retires
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 21 page 4-4

There are certainly days when district branch executive directors ask themselves how they can manage all the tasks and responsibilities that come with that position. Mary Cliffe is that extremely rare person who has willingly shouldered the burden of not just one but two district branches.

Now, after 28 years at the helm of one district branch and 23 years steering another, Cliffe has decided that what she is ready to manage is her retirement.

It was 1975, she told Psychiatric News, when she accepted a job as director of the Psychiatric Society of Westchester County. Five years later she expanded her reach to become executive director of the neighboring Bronx District Branch.

Among the projects she shepherded at Westchester, she is especially proud of the success of the annual legislative brunch she organized at which state and local lawmakers have an opportunity to meet and talk with local psychiatrists. In addition to the December legislative brunch, Cliffe organized a clergy breakfast, which is held each October to educate clergy about psychiatric treatment.

In the Bronx, Cliffe has overseen the district branch’s involvement in the Bronx Mental Health Coalition, a 32-member group of organizations and treatment facilities that, among other projects, has organized displays of patients’ art works.

Cliffe noted that the greatest challenge facing her successors will be working with district branch members to develop ways to stem the membership decline that both district branches are facing.

At a preretirement gathering at which Cliffe was honored, former Bronx DB president Bruce Schwartz, M.D., said that Cliffe "really held the offices of president, president-elect, secretary, and treasurer. All the advice the outgoing president had to give the new president was ‘Call Mary Cliffe.’ " ▪

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