Intelligence drew Eric Pfeiffer, M.D. to a career in medicine. He was taught by a professor who invested his time and helped him choose a subject he would enjoy, which was psychiatry. Dr. Pfeiffer prepared for his career by obtaining a Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine, both from Washington University in St. Louis. He began his medical training as an intern at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY, from 1960 to 1961. He then completed a residency in psychiatry at the University of Rochester in New York from 1961 to 1964. He went on to practice medicine, specializing in psychiatry in Durham, NC, from 1966 to 1976. During this time, he also served as a project director and as an assistant professor at Duke University, where he was eventually promoted to associate professor and then full professor. He was appointed director of the Davis Institute of Care and Study Aging in Denver, CO, from 1976 to 1977. He then joined the staff at the University of Colorado as a professor of psychiatry, while also practicing medicine with a specialty in psychiatry from 1976 to 1978. He finally joined the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida as a professor of psychiatry and chief of the division of geriatric psychiatry from 1978 to 2008. Also at the Morsani College of Medicine, he served as the director of the Suncoast Gerontology Center from 1980 to 2008.
Outside of his primary appointments in the medical field, Dr. Pfeiffer has served as chief of psychiatry service at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, FL. He was also a consultant in the field, board chairman of Social and Scientific Systems Inc., and chairman of the Committee on Mental Health and Mental Illness of the Elderly in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For his success in the field, Dr. Pfeiffer has received many accolades. He received the Allen Gold Medal from the American Geriatrics Society in 1977 and he is the namesake of the Eric Pfeiffer Chair in Alzheimer’s Disease at the University of South Florida.
As a varied professional, Dr. Pfeiffer has also been a prolific writer in his career. He has been committed to writing since he started a school newspaper as a young child. He also wrote a book of poems and wrote his first text book during his residency. Since then, Dr. Pfeiffer has written several textbooks in addition to practicing and researching in the field of psychiatry. Throughout his career, Dr. Pfeiffer has found that he works well with all people, and more specifically, with elderly patients because he finds them more interesting than younger patients.
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