Jerilyn Ross, a pioneer and visionary leader in the field of mental illness, died January 7 in Washington, D.C., of neuroendocrine cancer. She was 63. In 1979 she was among a small group of patients and doctors who founded ADAA. Ross served as its president and chief executive officer from 1986 until her death in 2010.
Ross’ vision was to bring together clinicians, researchers, and patients to advance scientific knowledge, provide training, and help those who suffer from an anxiety disorder find treatment and hope. She was an ardent public advocate, traveling the country to deliver the message that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable. She appeared on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “Today,” “Good Morning America,” and hundreds of other national television and radio shows and was quoted as an expert in several hundred newspaper and magazine articles.
Twice she testified before Congress on behalf of those suffering from anxiety disorders, and she served on the Scientific Advisory Committee of the federal government's Panic Disorder Prevention and Public Education Program.
After graduating from State University of New York, Cortland, in 1968 with a degree in education and sociology, she worked as a mat