January 29, 1999

VUMC mourns loss of Dr. Vernon Sharp

VUMC mourns loss of Dr. Vernon Sharp

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Dr. Vernon Sharp

Dr. Vernon H. Sharp, associate clinical professor of Psychiatry and director of The Family Treatment Training Program at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, died recently of a heart attack. He was 66.

A native of Nashville, Dr. Sharp graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1953 and Vanderbilt School of Medicine in 1957. Dr. Sharp served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1961 to 1963. He was a member of the faculty at Cornell University Medical Center in New York from 1963 to 1966. He served as assistant professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York from 1966 to 1969.

After a long private practice in Scarsdale, New York, Dr. Sharp returned to Nashville in 1983 where he served as chief of the department of Psychiatry at St. Thomas Hospital. He was a founding member of the Center for the Family in Nashville and also served as an attending psychiatrist at Vanderbilt University Hospital, Parthenon Pavilion and Vanderbilt Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Hospital.

Dr. Sharp was instrumental in introducing the concepts of family therapy and actively promoting them in Middle Tennessee. He trained undergraduates, medical school residents, and practicing psychiatrists in the techniques of family therapy. In 1993 he received the Outstanding Teacher Award from Child and Adolescent Fellows at Vanderbilt University. Dr. Sharp initiated the Peer Educators and Assistants Program at University School of Nashville, where his daughter is enrolled.

He was a member of the American Psychiatric Association and many other professional psychiatric groups.

"We were the closest of friends from our high school days on," said Sharp¹s medical school classmate Dr. W. Anderson Spickard Jr., professor of Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "He was a devoted family man who cared deeply about family health. He was committed to teaching young people about this unique and very important subject."

Dr. Sharp is survived by his wife Alix Weiss-Sharp; three sons, Mark F Sharp of Seattle, Wash; Christopher C. Sharp, and Daniel F. Sharp, both of New York City; a daughter, Monica Elena Weiss-Sharp of Nashville; and sisters, Sarah S. Taylor, Gertrude S. Caldwell and Margaret S. Howell, all of Nashville. He loved sailing, caving, hiking and was a passionate amateur geologist.