From JFK to Patrick Kennedy: A New Moonshot

by on

This month marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s pledge to bring Americans to the moon within the end of that decade. The goal was met. Now his nephew, former Representative Patrick Kennedy (D., R.I.) is using one of what was arguably his uncle’s greatest achievements as a metaphor in fighting mental illness, as noted in CNN. Kennedy recently spoke at a gathering sponsored by the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where Rosalyn Carter and other mental-health advocates gathered.

Kennedy sees brain research into mental illness as the major new frontier, similar to the Apollo Space Program of the 1960s. His own life has been marked by bouts with mental illness and substance abuse, and times were hard after his father, Senator Ted Kennedy, died. But right now he looks forward to a hopeful future:

“Come July, Kennedy will be married, to Amy Petitgout, a sixth-grade history teacher he met after, yes, another talk. It was about special education, the cause championed by his aunts Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who founded the special Olympics, and Jean Kennedy Smith, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for promoting the artistic talents of people with disabilities. Petitgout’s father, a special-education teacher, had a ticket to the event but couldn’t go. As Kennedy says, ‘The rest is history.'”

To learn more about the Moonshot: One Mind for Research Conference click here.

Filed under: