Dr. Harry Prosen (1930-2021) was a Canadian-American psychiatrist, earning his MD in 1955 from the University of Manitoba. He later led the department of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and then at the Medical College of Wisconsin, from which he received the Distinguished Service award when he retired in 2003. He was president of the Canadian Psychiatric Association, and also held roles at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Psychiatric Association.
Within the Museum of Health Care’s collections, Dr. Prosen makes his mark as part of a series of vinyl records entitled “Psychiatric Consultations” that were produced in Montreal by healthcare company Hoffman-LaRoche Limited. These records consisted of conversations between a general practitioner and psychiatrists on different topics relating to psychiatric practice. Dr. Prosen weighs in on the sixth record in the series, lending his expertise to a conversation on Psychiatric Emergencies in General Practice, concerning how a general practitioner should treat patients with emergency psychiatric issues like violence or acute anxiety.
Across his life, Dr. Harry Prosen’s work mainly dealt with the study of empathy in both humans and animals– some of his proudest work was treating mentally ill primates like Brian the Bonobo at the Milwaukee County Zoo, who Prosen referred to as “a really cool little dude.” Dr. Prosen is remembered as a man who loved to spend time with his wife, children, and grandchildren, and enjoyed reading, learning, fishing, and travelling.
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