Yolande Davenport, a psychiatric social worker who in the 1970s was in the vanguard in advocating group psychotherapy in conjunction with drugs such as lithium as an effective treatment for bipolar disorder, died Feb. 21 at Maplewood Park Place retirement community in Bethesda. She was 93.
The cause was complications from two falls, said her daughter, Elizabeth McKune.
In the 1960s, Mrs. Davenport was one of the first black professionals hired by the National Institute of Mental Heath, her family said. She rose to be chief of the unit on family studies.
She served as director of social services at Chestnut Lodge from 1985 to 1991 and then had a private practice in Bethesda until the early 2000s.
Mrs. Davenport’s work in bipolar research, particularly emphasizing group psychotherapy, proved prescient in the evolution of treatment. She presented scientific papers at meetings of the American Psychiatric Association.
Yolande Bradfield was born in Detroit, where she graduated in 1942 from Wayne State University. She received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan in 1944.
She accompanied her husband on his military assignments before settling in the Washington area in 1968.
She was a past board member of Mobile Medical Care, which provides primary and specialty health care to low-income, uninsured and homeless Montgomery County residents.
Mrs. Davenport was a longtime Bethesda resident.
Her husband of 64 years, retired Army Col. Clarence M. Davenport, died in 2007. Survivors include three children, Elizabeth McKune of McLean, Va., who is a former ambassador to Qatar, Stephen Davenport of Oklahoma City and Richard Davenport of Montclair, N.J.; and four grandchildren.
— Adam Bernstein