The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness

Dr. Kenneth Wells & Dr. Elyn Saks

Medicine + Media Arts
6 Jun 2023 - 12:00pm

For UCLA Health psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Kenneth Wells, the inspirational true-life tale of his friend, USC professor Elyn Saks, was a perfect fit for his other job: opera composer.
Wells has written a new opera based on Saks’ acclaimed 2007 memoir, “The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness,” which details her lifelong experience with schizophrenia, from her first psychotic experiences in high school to ascending the ranks of academia at a prestigious law school. The opera, which will be performed in June at the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, is the fourth written by Wells and the second about Saks.

Dr. Kenneth B. Wells, M.D., M.P.H., received his M.D. from UCSF and his M.P.H. from UCLA. He is a psychiatrist, a Senior Scientist at RAND, Professor of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Professor of Health Services at the UCLA School of Public Health. He directs the Health Services Research Center of the Jane and Terry Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, which focuses on improving quality of care for psychiatric and neurological disorders across the lifespan.

Dr. Elyn R. Saks is associate dean and Orrin B. Evans Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry and the Behavioral Sciences at the University of Southern California Gould Law School, an expert in mental health law, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship winner. Saks lives with schizophrenia and has written about her experience with the illness in her award-winning best-selling autobiography, The Center Cannot Hold, published by Hyperion Books in 2007. She is also a cancer survivor.

This exciting conversation is scheduled to take place prior to the live workshop and performance dates on June 17, 23, and 25.