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Taking Issue   |    
A Tribute to John A. Talbott, M.D.
Howard H. Goldman, M.D., Ph.D.; Donald Hammersley, M.D.
Psychiatric Services 2004; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.55.10.1089
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As we in the United States are in the midst of the quadrennial campaign to elect a president, this is the season for thinking about leadership. We ask, "What makes a good leader?" Strong principles, intelligence, foresight, and rousing words matched by committed action. These are the traits that distinguish a leader—someone who inspires us and guides us on a better path.

John Talbott, retiring after 23 years as editor of this journal, is our idea of a leader. In fact, the testimony of commentaries and letters from many of today's leaders in mental health services indicate that John Talbott is a "leader's leader." He has influenced other leaders with his writing and his deeds. He was an early champion of those who most needed psychiatric services and a concerned observer of deinstitutionalization, who called for asylum, not asylums, and for assistance for those who were homeless, and who urged us to learn the lessons of our research. He organized committees and led the American Psychiatric Association as its president, all the while editing this journal to guide the field.

This issue of Psychiatric Services is a tribute to John Talbott. We reprint here some of his most important published papers. We have organized the issue as a set of small volumes of the journal: on deinstitutionalization, on asylum and asylums, and on the public mental health system and lessons from research. Each section begins with a Taking Issue commentary written by John, followed by one or more of his related papers and then commentaries by current leaders in the field. The book review section examines many of John Talbott's books, and the letters to the editor are from colleagues who wish to pay him tribute. Even the cover portrait reminds us of John.

We are the editors of Psychiatric Services who succeeded and preceded John Talbott. For almost a quarter of a century he shaped and molded the journal from what it had been into what it is today. He made it a scientific journal that all of us find interesting and relevant—a leader among journals on psychiatric services. We hope to extend that tradition of leadership.

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