Greystone Oral Histories

Patient Advocates


A variety of advocacy efforts from the beginning of Greystone’s history to current times are testimony to the enduring community commitment to rectify ongoing issues related to patient care.



Peter Basto, PhD. Director, AS Program in Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Dept. of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions, Rutgers University, NJ
Peter recalls his long standing connection to Greystone (1980’s – present) with a focus on his role as staff trainer and promoting peer support services.



Tom Blatner
Tom Blatner served as Deputy Director (1975-80) for the NJ Division of Mental Health and Hospitals. He provides a concise history of how the national deinstitutionalization movement was implemented at Greystone Hospital.

Governor RIchard Codey, Driving Force Behind  NJ Mental Health Care Reform
Governor Codey recounts his lifelong efforts to promote NJ mental health reform with a focus on Greystone. The Governor shares his memories of making impromptu inspections of Greystone, his relationships with its patients and his thoughts about the Main Building’s demolition.

Robert Davison, President, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris County, NJ
As a proponent of mental health care in NJ for over 30 years and the Chairperson of Governor Codey’s Mental Health Task Force (2004), Bob shares his knowledge about the operations of the Greystone throughout the years. He also provides insight into the importance of patient advocacy and mental health reform.



Hanna Fox, author of the monologue “Dorothea Lynde Dix: Woman with a Mission”
Hanna relates the amazing life and critical role that patient advocate, Dorothea Dix played in establishing psychiatric hospitals for indigent individuals in New Jersey.

Jean Ross, Esq. Life Long Advocate for Mental Health and Criminal Justice Reform.

Jean reflects on the expanse of her career as the founder of the Bergen and Essex County Mental Health Associations, Assistant Deputy Public Defender (NJ), Special Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director, NJ Division of Mental Health and Hospitals and involvement in numerous public interest advocacy endeavors.

Doe v. Klein

Dr. Eileen McEvoy, Student Psychologist (1974)
Dr. McEvoy recounts joining with other psychology students to report untenable hospital conditions to a local newspaper.  She recalls the anxiety of testifying before the NJ legislature, whose findings initiated the Doe v. Klein lawsuit. 

Michael L. Perlin, Professor Emeritus at New York Law School and co-founder of Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, was director of the Division of Mental Health Advocacy in the NJ Department of the Public Advocate, and was one of the lawyers who filed the complaint in Doe v. Klein.

Michael discusses the state of mental disability law in the early 1970’s and the conditions at Greystone Hospital before and at the time that the Doe case was filed, and contextualizes Doe with other mental disability law reform litigation in NJ and elsewhere.

Dr. Shirley Smoyak, Professor, School of Nursing, Rutgers University
Chairperson, Doe v. Klein Monitoring Committee

Dr. Smoyak recounts her connections to Greystone beginning in the mid 1950’s as a nursing student training at Greystone under the supervision of Dr. Hildegard Peplau. She also describes the Doe v. Klein lawsuit and her role as the Chairperson of the Doe v. Klein Monitoring Committee. Shirley was designed a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing in 2004. She also received the 2011 Award for Distinguished Services from the American Psychiatric Nurses Association.