1 Not So Boring Obituary

Posted on Tuesday 28 February 2017

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Feb. 28, 2017

John M. Nardo, MD, Born December 3, 1941 in Chattanooga, TN, died February 19, 2017.

John Michael Nardo, MD (known as Mickey) was the rare physician who excelled in patient care, medical education, and research. Born in 1941 to John and Nita Nardo, Mickey attended McCallie School and City High School. After attending the University of Tennessee, he initially expected to pursue a medical career in research, completing an NIH fellowship in Immunology and Rheumatology during an internal medicine residency in Memphis. However, his experience as an internist at Lakenheath Air Force base in England convinced him that he enjoyed working directly with patients and wished to have more time and skills to help them. So he decided to pursue a second residency in psychiatry in 1974 at Emory University. In 1976, he began psychoanalytic training at Columbia University in New York. After three years as Medical Director of the Grady Memorial Hospital psychiatric emergency room, he joined the faculty at Emory University Department of Psychiatry and assumed the position of Director of Residency Training. Later, he opted for private practice, serving Atlanta as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst for more than thirty years. Anyone lucky enough to have been his patient received superb care. Anyone lucky enough to have been his colleague appreciated Mickey’s gift for turning complex concepts into memorable vignettes. For decades, Mickey taught for the Atlanta Psychoanalytic Society and the Georgia Psychiatric Association. He was an active faculty member in Emory’s Psychiatry Residency Training and a pillar of the Psychoanalytic Institute.

In 2003, after a successful career as “Dr. Nardo,” Mickey “retired” in order to build barns and a house with two close friends, to create maps and a web site for the Mountain Stewards Trail Tree Project, and to blog about politics. In 2007, when he joined the Good Samaritan Clinic in Jasper, GA as a volunteer physician, he began to see first hand the problems of current psychiatric drug promotion. He quickly educated himself about the drugs that he had used only sparingly in his private practice. As a result of these observations, the focus of his blogging turned to exposing the problems in the pharmaceutical industry, especially the distortion of clinical trial reports. This work culminated in a “Highly Cited Paper” that he co-authored in the British Medical Journal in September 2015. After a lengthy struggle to obtain the original patient-level data used in a key article on a popular psychotropic drug, Mickey rigorously reanalyzed the data in order to demonstrate that the study’s claims of the drug’s effectiveness in children were false. In December 2016, on his 75th birthday, Mickey said, “I never thought I’d make my most important contributions to the field of medicine at this time in my life.” In January 2017, Emory School of Medicine promoted Dr. Nardo to Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry in recognition of his devoted service to psychiatry at Emory and in Atlanta and of his internationally recognized research.

Although Mickey spent his life trying not to be special, he was one of a kind. He had an epic sense of play and could sit for hours entertaining children with legos, clay, or toothpicks. And his neighbors all knew him as a consummate barbecue pit master. Mickey is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sharon Nardo; his daughter Abby Nardo, a psychologist in Raleigh, NC; his son-in-law Christian Karkow, an adjunct professor of design; his semi-adopted daughter of 30 years, Caitlin Way, Associate Director of Development at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta; and his sister Anna Nardo, LSU emerita professor of literature, now living in Evanston, IL. A memorial gathering will be held in Atlanta at 2pm on March 18th at the Emory Brain Health Center (12 Executive Park NE). In lieu of flowers, please donate to one of the following three groups in the name of Mickey Nardo: Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine (http://firmfound.org) 16 Cutler St, Suite; All Trials (http://www.alltrials.net); and Lown Institute (https://lowninstitute.org).


    February 28, 2017 | 2:42 PM

    Thank You for posting. Wonderful Man, I am glad you had him all these years.

    February 28, 2017 | 5:22 PM

    Thank you very much, Abby.

    Susan Molchan
    February 28, 2017 | 7:46 PM

    So sorry to hear this sad news (have been out of the country w limited access). I’ve so enjoyed & learned from Mickey’s posts and on occasion advice. Had really hoped to meet him in person at some point. What an amazing guy.

    March 1, 2017 | 4:31 PM

    I’m glad I had him, too. I don’t feel shorted. He wasn’t perfect, but I feel like he never stopped teaching me and always felt proud of me. He didn’t say it a lot, but I never felt he needed to. It was obvious.

    March 2, 2017 | 10:52 AM

    Very nice obituary, why is it these days we seem to have too few good men like Dr N and too many, well, not so good men and women who leave a less than favorable mark on society?

    Deeds, not words are what define us. Seems an adage Dr N lived by as well.

    Again, my condolences to all impacted.

    Joel Hassman, MD

    soulful sepulcher
    March 2, 2017 | 10:31 PM

    Thank you, Abby for keeping this blog open which is a great resource. Dr. Nardo was a significant part of my blogging life, we spoke often via blogs and email. His contribution to the review of skewed data and questioning published works will last infinitely, he has helped others forever as a result. Well done, Dr. Nardo, and thank you for the many years in the blogging world.~soulful sepulcher blog (now retired)

    March 3, 2017 | 8:57 AM


    As someone who was not a daily reader (I only focused on the articles that were related to our situation because.as you know….his articles are very dense for someone not in the field), as someone who did not know either you or your father personally; his love, admiration and pride in you was still glaringly apparent! I noticed it from the times he mentioned or referred to you in his blogs.

    Thank you for continuing to post things – it is so nice to still be able to search up ‘one boring old man’ and read something new.

    March 3, 2017 | 9:00 AM

    …..also I wonder if you would ever considering indexing his articles by subject? (I have no idea how big of a job that would be) HIs articles are such a valuable resource and that would allow people to find some of his earlier work more easily.

    March 3, 2017 | 11:10 AM

    Yes, indexing by subject is something I’m considering.

    John Blenkinsopp
    March 6, 2017 | 3:12 PM

    Could I offer my condolences and just say that Mickey was an astute research scientist, a kind doctor, a wonderful writer and a true gentleman.

    Ferrell Varner
    March 6, 2017 | 5:56 PM

    Truly an original. A scientist and energetic compassionate soul.

    Rebecca Twersky, MD
    March 14, 2017 | 11:06 PM

    This is so sad. I learned so much from reading Mickey’s blog, and he was so generous when I reached out to him with questions. He was a great teacher, and a role model for what it means to practice medicine with devotion and integrity. My only contact with him was online, but it was an honor to have “known” him.

    Donald klein
    March 21, 2017 | 4:48 AM

    Mickey was like wait

    Was inspiring to deal with because he seriously believed that scientific discussion would pay off even when held outsides the realy boring limits of constricted academic discussion . This was a profoundly democratic View that has become seriously different from the conventional wisdom that adheres to authority .Furtherbe acted on it setting up bid engaging. Blog who will accept his Nessus shirt ,viewing the. Substantial,clever, tender. Unpaid
    .work required against a .powerful autocracy ?
    Mickey’s apparent hope was that his faith in democracy would be carried on by an organized opposition . many of us have thrown in cutting. Brickbats. But it has been preaching to the choir . Taking and expanding his blog and expanding it seems the appropriate tribute .Please. Contact me if that seems useful. Best
    Donald Klein

    Mickey why Angie Brandy Brandy Brandy Brandy Brandy Brandy Brandy

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