Dr. Peter J. Fagan, a former priest and a clinical psychologist who had been director of the Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, died Saturday from multiple myeloma at his Fulton residence. He was 77.
Dr. Paul R. McHugh, former chair of the Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, recalled Dr. Fagan as a “splendid person.”
“I worked with him on his books. I found him intellectually strong and very alert to the problems that psychiatry finds,” said Dr. McHugh, a Guilford resident. “He was a wonderful and thoughtful psychologist who was interested in sexual disorders and how psychologists put things together.”
Peter Jerome Fagan was born and raised in New Britain, Conn., the son of Charles “Chick” Fagan, a salesman for Connecticut Light & Power Co., and Marguerite “Peg” Fagan, a bank employee.
After graduating in 1959 from the former St. Thomas Aquinas High School in New Britain, Dr. Fagan completed undergraduate studies at St. John Seminary in Brighton, Mass., and received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy in 1963. In 1973, he obtained a master’s degree in divinity, also from St. John’s Seminary, then a second master’s degree in education in 1973 from the University of Notre Dame.
He received a Ph.D in clinical psychology in 1984 from George Washington University, and later completed a post doctoral fellowship in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Dr. Fagan was ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn. He was an instructor from 1968 to 1971 at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Conn., and from 1969 to 1971 was an assistant chaplain at St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Conn.
He then served until 1978 as associate chaplain at the St. Thomas More Catholic Chapel & Center at Yale University. He was a lecturer at Albertus Magnus College in New Haven. He later left the priesthood.
He came to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1984 when he joined its Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit. He was named its director in 1987 and held that position until 2003. As part of the unit’s curriculum, third-year psychiatry residents were supervised in the evaluation of sexual dysfunction, sexual disorders and gender disorders, according to Dr. Fagan’s curriculum vitae.
“Peter had always been interested in youth, and that went back to his days at Yale, and he brought that to our department,” Dr. McHugh recalled. “We were enriched by him, and he did very good work. … He was a wonderful genial fellow who had come out of the priesthood.”
Dr. Fagan was also an associate professor of medical psychology and, in 1994, began working in managed care when he was appointed director of clinical services for Mental Health and Substance Abuse at Johns Hopkins Bayview Physicians P.A.
“In that role, he developed the administrative databases and research operations for the behavioral program,” according to a Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC biographical sketch. From 2002 until retiring in 2013, Dr. Fagan was director of research at Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC.
“He was one of the most interesting individuals I’ve met in my career and life,” said Dr. Linda J. Dunbar, vice president of Population Health at Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC. A Stoneleigh resident who is also a registered nurse, Dr. Dunbar worked closely with Dr. Fagan for 15 years.
“He was a genuinely kind person,” she said. “Even though I was his boss, we had a unique relationship — we were each other’s best friend.
“We are clinicians at heart who are interested in taking care of people who are very sick and needy,” she added.
After retirement, Dr. Fagan served as a consultant with Kennedy Krieger Institute and worked on a telebehavioral mental health service for military families.
He was author of “Sexual Disorders” and “Sexual Disorders: Perspectives on Diagnosis and Treatment.” He was co-author with two others of “Health Behavior Change in Populations,” published in 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press.
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He was the former president of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research. His professional memberships included the American Psychological Association, the Maryland Psychological Association, the International Academy of Sex Research and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex. He also was a member of AcademyHealth, a nonprofit that works to advance the fields of health research and policy.
Dr. Fagan had recently joined the executive board of the Maryland Association for Justice Reform, and was also an active member of the International Justice Mission, which focuses on human rights and law enforcement.
He and his wife of 39 years, Gail Lambers, who works in real estate sales, conducted a prison ministry at the Jessup Correctional Institution.