Patricia R. Recupero, JD, MD

Inducted: 2016
Dr. Patricia Recupero, a resident of Providence, has dedicated her life advocating for the mentally ill. Following her graduation from the State University of New York with a degree in mathematics, she attended Boston College Law School, receiving her degree in 1973. After a few years practicing law and driven by her desire to help people, she enrolled at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. When one of her courses took her to Butler Hospital, she realized psychiatry would be her chosen field.

After completing her psychiatric residency at Butler, she continued there working in direct patient psychiatry care and subsequently at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston, where she became versed in managed care and Medicare administrative procedures.

In 1999, Dr. Recupero was named President and CEO of Butler Hospital, retiring in 2015. Under her leadership, Butler Hospital’s research programs in mental health and brain technology flourished, gaining it national prominence in many areas. Her tireless leadership led the way to an expanded array of services in response to the growing need for acute psychiatric care. She continues as a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Warren Alpert Medical School and has previously served as a residency training director guiding the development of the education of hundreds of physicians in training.

Her passion for changing the landscape of mental health has motivated Dr. Recupero to write and lecture on a variety of topics including prevention of sexual harassment, substance abuse, marital violence, the effects of alcohol on women and children, and cyber medicine. She is the author of more than thirty peer-reviewed articles as well as numerous book chapters and other articles and abstracts.

Dr. Recupero has lent her expertise to a variety of mental health advocacy organizations and professional associations. She worked closely with the Rhode Island legislature to promote fair and enlightened treatment for those with mental health issues. She helped spearhead parity legislation in Rhode Island that expanded the type of serious mental illnesses covered by insurance plans. Her deep concern for those who struggle with behavioral health earned her the Community Champion Award from Northern Rhode Island Community Services.

Throughout her career, Dr. Recupero has served as a role model and advocate for women who strive to attain top leadership positions. She was the first woman president of Butler Hospital and the second woman President of the American Academy of Law and Psychiatry. Her leadership style demonstrates to others how one could be tough as well as compassionate.

Scroll to Top