Lois R. Chatham

Associate Director of IBR (1928-2021)

Ph.D., Clinical Psychology
University of Houston

Lois Chatham obtained a B.A. from Houghton College in 1951, M.A. from Southern Methodist University in 1954, and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston in 1960. She spent most of her career in Washington D.C. where she served as a member of the Senior Executive Service in the National Institutes of Health, working in the fields of mental health as well as alcohol and other drug addiction (NIMH and NI-AAA). While there, she received several awards for outstanding contributions to estab-lishing, managing, and evaluating mental health and substance use services as well as addressing women’s health issues.

Dr. Chatham had particular concerns about creating an integrated national strategy for monitoring community-based behavioral treatment services. While in her position as head of the substance abuse services division of NIMH, she therefore invited Dr. Saul B. Sells (Founder and first Director of the IBR at TCU) to propose a data system that could meet these needs. Towards this end, the pioneering and federally-funded Drug Abuse Research Program (DARP) was initiated at the IBR in 1968. Dr. Chatham as well as a ca-dre of other leading national authorities on addiction treatment services and research served as members of various advisory boards for this multi-phase national treatment monitoring effort. One of her major contributions was to help establish objective “be-havioral indicators” of program and client performance for use as effectiveness criteria. Clinical intake, treatment participation, and followup outcome records based on almost 44,000 clients treated at 52 agencies across the U.S. became the focus of scores of DARP studies later carried out on treatment taxonomy and effectiveness. Importantly, these efforts also helped lay the foundations for two more federally-funded national ad-diction treatment evaluations conducted over the following two decades.

After retiring from NIH in 1988, Lois and her husband George moved to Fort Worth TX, chosen for having clear weather and opportunities for enjoying their time together flying small private planes as co-pilots, and for Lois to continue developing her collection of library materials on women in aviation. It was there, however, that she soon found an unplanned opportunity for a second career in the area of work she deeply cared about. Dwayne Simpson had become Director of the IBR and was awarded a new grant from NIDA to conduct another phase of addiction treatment research inspired by findings from DARP and subsequent treatment effectiveness studies.

Lois was drawn to this project because it was designed to examine clinical treatment processes involving therapeutic engagement as a function of client and counselor at-tributes. It also included novel visual-representation and communication techniques (based on work of TCU Professor Donald Dansereau) adapted to enhance counseling procedures and be tailored to special populations. Furthermore, the project went on to examine treatment agency organization and institutional climate in relation to client post-treatment outcomes and recovery. Because of its appeal to her long-term interests, Lois joined the IBR in 1989 to serve as IBR Deputy Director and later as Co-Principal Investigator for this and other projects. Her particular areas of emphasis at the IBR in-cluded treatment exposure as a predictor of outcome, gender differences in drug use and response to treatment, and the development of techniques for encouraging the in-corporation of treatment research findings into evidence-based clinical practice. She published over 35 professional journal articles and treatment manuals.

Following her retirement from IBR in 2003 (and the passing of her husband George in 1998), Lois continued serving as an advisor to the IBR Director and found time to be-come active in several community service initiatives, including serving as a Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Ambassador, meeting, greeting, and providing directions to travelers from across the globe. She is widely and very fondly remembered by many as a dear friend, wise mentor, and valued colleague. Her bright eyes, quick wit, stylish dress, even tem-per, high principles, and integrity were her trademarks — and she made our lives better both personally and professionally. While she was well known throughout her career as having been a “seasoned administrator,” Lois had a less recognized personal but very substantial caring and sensitive character. She lives on like a bright star in our memory and we are forever thankful for having known and worked with her.

D. Dwayne Simpson
George W. Joe
Barry S. Brown
Patrick M. Flynn