Howard Blue, the deputy director of Mental Health and Counseling at Yale Health who worked in the department for nearly 30 years, died suddenly Monday morning.
Blue was the first to hold the position of deputy director of MH&C at Yale, assuming the position on Jan. 1, 2016. He had previously served as a staff psychiatrist at MH&C since 1989 and as the associate chief psychiatrist since 1993.
University Secretary and Vice President for Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews notified the Yale community of Blue’s passing in an email Monday afternoon.
“He was completely devoted to Yale students in particular and to the Yale community as a whole,” Goff-Crews told the News. “I will really miss his wisdom and the love and compassion that he shared so effortlessly with all of us.”
Blue was particularly known for his work in addressing diversity and culture in mental health. In an interview with the News shortly after Blue’s appointment as deputy director, Director of Yale Health Paul Genecin affirmed Blue’s reputation for this work and training counselors in the field of ethnic and racial identity.
Blue’s position was created in tandem with efforts to prioritize issues involving diversity in campus mental health services. In a January 2016 interview with the News, University spokesman Karen Peart described Blue as an “outstanding clinician” and a “capable administrator,” adding that his expertise in the intersection of identity and mental health was relevant to the Yale community.
Yale College Dean Jonathan Holloway described Blue’s sudden passing as a “huge blow” to the Yale community, adding that Blue was one of the most sensitive and caring people Holloway has known at Yale and was always an active listener.
“Yale will march on, but it is diminished,” Holloway said.
Even during his time as associate chief psychiatrist and deputy director, Blue continued to see patients as a psychiatrist.
“In my interactions with Dr. Blue working on improving MH&C at Yale, he was a very thoughtful and friendly man,” said Michael Herbert ’16, a former Yale College Council president who led an initiative to improve mental health services for Yale undergraduates.
Blue received his medical degree at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1983 and finished his studies of psychiatry at Yale as a postdoctoral fellow.
According to Goff-Crews’ email, a memorial service for members of the Yale community will be organized, in addition to services offered by Blue’s family.