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Google Doodle Celebrates Psychologist Dr Herbert Kleber For His Pioneering Work

In a heart-warming doodle on 1 September, Google has tipped its cap to the incredible work of a pioneering addiction psychologist Dr Herbert David Kleber on what would have been the 23rd anniversary of his election to the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr Kleber, who passed away in 2018, was born in Pennsylvania on 19 June 1934. With persuasion from his father, who aspired to be a doctor himself, Dr Kleber attended Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, United States. He studied pre-med on his road to medicine, but discovered a passion he had for psychology instead.

It was only after completing his psychiatric residency at Yale University, when Kebler was assigned to the Public Health Service Prison Hospital in Kentucky, that his life's mission really came to the fore.

Dr Kleber had a vastly different view of addiction that many doctors of his time. He saw addiction not as a moral failure, but as a condition that could only be treated with a combination of research, medication and therapy. Over his time treating inmates at the Kentucky prison for addiction, Dr Kleber founded a scientific approach called "evidence-based treatment" to successfully treat addiction.

Dr Kleber eventually became famous in his field, even catching the eye of President Bush, who appointed Kebler the deputy director for demand reduction at the Office of National Drug Control Policy. In his time serving as deputy director, he implemented new policies and policy changes that led to a lower "demand for illegal drugs through programs in prevention, education, and treatment," a Columbia University statement reads.

He and his wife at the time, Dr Marian Fischman, went on to set up the Division on Substance Abuse at Columbia University, which would one day be the largest and most successful research programs in the US on substance abuse. At age 46, Dr Kleber was an elected member of the prestigious National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine.

Towards the end of his incredible five-decade-long career in addiction treatment, Dr Kleber is said to have remarked, "Of course I'm an optimist. How else do I work with addicts for 40 years?"

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