Carmen Keith Conners died of heart failure in Durham, North Carolina on 5 July, 2017. He was 84 years old. He was a Fellow Emeritus of ACNP, having been elected to membership in 1970. Keith is widely recognized as a pioneer in the methodology of pediatric psychopharmacology, beginning with his work in the early 1960s on use of amphetamines and methylphenidate in children with disruptive behavior disorders. When Keith presented the seminal study with methylphenidate to the American Psychiatric Association meeting in St. Louis in May 1963, the discussant commented ‘This study has what can be called the new look in methods of assessing the effects of drugs on human behavior… specifically the behavior of children.’ Over time, the condition carried several diagnostic labels—from hyperkinesis or minimal brain dysfunction to ADHD today. Keith played an important role in almost every major treatment outcome study pertinent to ADHD, including serving as one of the Principal Investigators for the landmark Multimodal Treatment Study of ADHD (MTA) that was initiated in the mid-1990s and continues in follow-up phase to this day. Keith further set the psychometric standard in developing the Conners Parent and Teacher Rating Scales to assist with screening, diagnosis, and follow-up of treatment effects. These scales remain in global use as well-validated assessments that Keith continuously worked to update. Keith was a first rate scientist, a generous colleague, a brilliant teacher, and an active, effective clinician.

Keith left high school without graduating—for early admission to The University of Chicago. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree, he was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to The University of Oxford, where he obtained his master’s degree with a ‘first’ in philosophy, psychology, and physiology. He then obtained his doctorate in clinical psychology at Harvard University. He went on to join the faculty at The Johns Hopkins University, where he collaborated with Leon Eisenberg on pioneering studies of dexamphetamine and methylphenidate on hyperkinesis in children. Besides Johns Hopkins, Keith served on the faculties at Harvard Medical School, The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and George Washington University School of Medicine before coming to Duke University in 1989.

Keith’s early and mid-career phases were focused on spreading awareness and building recognition for ADHD. Keith’s leadership led to his founding editor role with The Journal of Attention Disorders. During his late career and in retirement, he worked to educate doctors, the pharmaceutical industry, and patients on the proper diagnoses of ADHD. He called attention to the over-diagnosis of ADHD, and to the corresponding over-use of stimulant drugs in children, as he felt these practices were masking other mental health issues that were overlooked.

Dr Conners was married three times. In addition to his wife Carolyn, he is survived by a twin sister, Carol Wagner; six children from his first two marriages: Anthony Conners, Rachel Carr, Sarah Homolka, Rebecca Conners, Michael Conners, and Katie Conners; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. The Conners family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Duke Heart Center in Dr Keith Conners’ name. Cheques can be made out to Duke University (Duke Heart Center, Attn: Ms Blue Dean, 710 W. Main Street, Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701), by phone 919-385-3144, or online at Duke If making a gift online, please select Duke Heart Center and note your gift is in memory of Dr Keith Conners.