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I was born in 1956 to Carlton Ralph Daniel and Beverly Beatrice Gordon. Dad’s family were the only Jews in a small town in southeast Georgia. They owned two clothing shops before the Great Depression, then lost everything and rebuilt. Dad was the only of six siblings to attend college and became an internist. Mom’s family were descendants of a rabbi and other eastern European Jews who settled in Meridian and Jackson, Mississippi and became prosperous merchants. Mom was politically outspoken and served as President of the Mississippi chapter of Hadassah.
During my grammar school and high school years, the civil rights movement and Cold War were prominent. Our rabbi and others in the Jewish community actively supported desegregation, leading to bombing of the synagogue and rabbi’s house by the Ku Klux Klan in 1967. During that period, it was not uncommon for Jewish families to sleep with firearms nearby for their protection.
My favorite columnists as a child were William F. Buckley and Art Buchwald. I was torn between a career in journalism and medicine. I elected the latter due to my interest in psychiatry. I obtained my medical school education and post-graduate training in psychiatry at Vanderbilt Medical School and began a research career in medical school with the study of cerebral blood flow patterns underlying behavior. I've published extensively on the biological basis and treatment of psychotic disorders and have patented my own treatments.