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Best-selling Author to Present in Sioux Falls Sponsored by USD Medical School's Department of Psychiatry

Susannah Cahalan headshot "Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness" author Susannah Cahalan will speak at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls Aug. 21.

VERMILLION, S.D. – Award-winning author Susannah Cahalan will speak at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls on Aug. 21. She will discuss her experiences with a life-shattering illness that suddenly transformed her from a healthy, promising young reporter just beginning a journalism career to a hospital patient strapped to a bed, under guard, and battling psychosis, violent behaviors and dangerous instability. Cahalan recounts her story in the New York Times best-seller titled "Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness."

Cahalan was nearly committed to a psychiatric ward before an insightful physician diagnosed her with a newly discovered autoimmune disease that caused her body to attack her brain.

Cahalan fully recovered from the disease, and she has been praised for her ability to examine the battle waged to regain control of her mind, body and self. Cahalan is now the book editor at the New York Post, and her next book is a history of psychiatry. "Brain on Fire" has been made into a Netflix Original movie.

Cahalan’s presentation combines science, psychiatry and her personal story. Her appearance on Aug. 21 at 11 a.m. in Mary W. Sommervold Hall at the Washington Pavilion in Sioux Falls is sponsored by the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry, the medical school’s Graduate Medical Education program and Avera Health.

The program – scheduled to last 75 minutes – is free and open to the public. 


USD's Sanford School of Medicine is nationally known for excellence. With its award-winning curriculum, the school prepares medical students to practice in all fields of medicine and is particularly recognized and ranked for its reputation in family medicine and rural medicine. In addition to the M.D., it offers graduate degrees in basic biomedical science, sustains a vibrant and forward-looking research agenda, and is home to the interdisciplinary Center for Brain and Behavioral Research.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News