Joseph Westermeyer, MD, PhD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Joseph Westermeyer

Contact Info

MD, University of Minnesota, 1961

Residency, Psychiatry, University of Minnesota, 1967 - 1970

PhD, University of Minnesota, 1970

MA, Anthropology, University of Minnesota, 1969

MPH, Public Health, University of Minnesota, 1970


Dr. Westermeyer completed medical school and psychiatry residency at the University of Minnesota, with a rotating internship at the former Ramsey County General Hospital. He did family practice in Minnesota (1962-65) and tropical medicine and trauma surgery during the war in Laos (1965-67). He has worked in general psychiatry and addictive disorders on faculty of the University of Minnesota (1970-1989), and was professor and Chair of Psychiatry at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (1989-92).

His interests include alcoholism-addictions psychiatry, epidemiology, treatment efficacy and outcome, aviation psychiatry, and sociocultural psychiatry. Dr. Westermeyer has led numerous research projects and provides mentoring to many prospective researchers. A prodigious author and sought-after lecturer, Dr. Westermeyer has been involved in psychiatric organizations on local, national, and international levels. His consultative roles have included the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Army, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institute of Drug Abuse, National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Science Foundation, several airlines, the ministries of health in several Asian countries, and the V.A. Office of Health Services Research. He has mentored clinical and epidemiological investigators and leaders working in Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Cambodia, Turkey, Norway, Germany, Holland, and the United States.


Research Summary/Interests

  • Psychiatric epidemiology (especially "hidden" addictions, opium smoking, aboriginal drinking, comorbid conditions, course of addiction)
  • Treatment outcome research (opium smoking in Asia, cross-ethnic comparisons of alcohol use disorder in U.S., comparison of treatments)
  • Cultural psychiatry (epidemiology, descriptive psychopathology, working with interpreters, refugees and other migrants, trauma/torture, course)
  • Aviation psychiatry (consultation with Federal Aviation Agency, airlines, pilots, air traffic controllers)
  • Health Services Research (methodology, unintended consequences, economic aspects, prevention, early recognition, rehabilitation)