We note with sadness the passing of Steven Reiss, Ph.D., on Friday, October 28, 2016.

The field of dual diagnosis has lost a pioneer and champion. Dr. Reiss was a brilliant researcher, program innovator, prolific author, and an exceptional theoretician. He had a vision for the field and was relentless in pursuing his interests. Without question, Dr. Reiss will always be remembered for his significant contributions to the field.  


Born in 1947, Steven Reiss earned his A.B. degree from Dartmouth College and a PhD. Degree from Yale University. He completed a clinical psychology internship at the Department of Neurology of Harvard Medical School and the Department of Child Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In 1980, Dr. Reiss founded one of the first outpatient programs for dual diagnosis in the nation. In 1983, he introduced the term "diagnostic overshadowing" to refer to the tendency to overlook the mental health needs of people with developmental disabilities. In 1987, he published the Reiss Screen for Maladaptive Behavior, an instrument that became the leading method for screening for dual diagnosis in North America and greatly reduced the cost of identifying service needs for people with a dual diagnosis. In the same year, he also organized the first-ever international conference on the mental health aspects of intellectual disabilities. Together with Michael Aman, he convened an international panel of experts to write a consensus handbook of best practices aimed at reducing the abuse of psychiatric overmedication. He served as the Director of the Nisonger Center at Ohio State University from 1992 until 2007.