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Jean J. Rossi papers

Biographical note

Beginning in the mid-20th century, Dr. Jean J. Rossi, Ph.D., worked with Dr. Nelson J. Bradley, M.D., and Dr. Daniel J. Anderson, Ph.D., at the Willmar Hospital in Minnesota to develop a modern medical treatment for alcoholism. When Dr. Bradley joined the Willmar Hospital staff, the hospital was the state facility used to dry out "inebriates". Once these patients had sobered up, they were sent back into the community with no further care. The percentage of recidivism alarmed Dr. Bradley. Influenced by the A.A. 12 step program, Dr. Bradley gathered around him a staff capable of treating the entire person mentally, physically and spiritually. This new program used medical treatment, lectures, films, group therapy, one-on-one counseling, group discussions, A.A. meetings and recreation in the attack on alcoholism which they had come to see as the primary illness, not merely the symptom of another disorder. Dr. Rossi, a clinical psychologist from New Jersey, answered a Willmar job posting and joined the staff for the psychiatric treatment of patients but soon became primarily involved in the treatment of alcoholics.

In the late 1950's and early 1960's these three innovators moved to other treatment centers. Dr. Anderson went to Hazelden. Dr. Bradley and Dr. Rossi went to the Parkside Treatment Center in Chicago, a part of the Lutheran General Hospital complex. Dr. Rossi was the program director for Alcoholism and Drug Dependency Rehabilitation. Both Dr. Rossi and Dr. Bradley took the ideas generated at Willmar and developed "The Lutheran General" or the "Parkside" model, which placed more emphasis on the medical aspects of alcoholism and chemical dependency than the Minnesota Model which Anderson developed at Hazelden. Rossi eventually retired to private practice.