DCF Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

Robert A. Butterworth

September 14, 2007 (850) 488-4855

Florida's "Father of Mental Health" Immortalized at Florida State Hospital

- Administration building is dedicated in honor of Dr. William DeWitt Rogers -

CHATTAHOOCHEE, FLA. - Department of Children and Families Secretary Bob Butterworth today joined more than 100 people including legislators, judges, family, and friends of the late William DeWitt Rogers, to dedicate the administration building at Florida State Hospital in Rogers' honor.

"He earned the title 'The Father of Mental Health' for his contributions and accomplishments in the advancement of mental health treatment and care during nearly a half century of dedicated work," said Secretary Butterworth. "I can think of no one more worthy of this honor than Dr. William DeWitt Rogers."

"Dr. Rogers was a visionary, leader, and an agent of change for the mental health system in Florida," said Children and Families Assistant Secretary for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Colonel Bill Janes. "This impressive ceremony at the hospital he served so well recognizes his distinguished career."

Dr. Rogers, who began working at Florida State Hospital in 1934, served 10 years as Chief Physician and another 12 years as Superintendent. In 1957 he became the first Director of Florida's Division of Mental Health. By the time of his death in 1999, Dr. Rogers had established Florida's first statewide community mental health system. He led the effort to establish mental health treatment programs for children and the elderly statewide. Dr. Rogers was also responsible for implementing the Baker Act, "The Florida Mental Health Act."

Dr Rogers' achievements were commemorated on a plaque unveiled during the ceremony. The inscription, read by Secretary Butterworth, states the building was dedicated in memory of Dr. Rogers "for his exceptional and successful efforts to secure a higher level of mental health services for the citizens of Florida." The plaque was placed on the building following the ceremony.

For more information on Florida State Hospital, visit www.dcf.state.fl.us/institutions/fsh/.


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