Last month about 370 APA members gathered in the nation's capital to plan
and discuss the initiatives that enable APA to work on behalf of psychiatrists
and their patients. These members were participating in APA's annual fall
APA's 70 councils, committees, task forces, and other components work
diligently at the fall meetings—and throughout the year—to address
the major issues of importance to psychiatry today. They include issues
related to specific populations, such as minorities, the elderly, children,
seriously mentally ill individuals, and people involved in the criminal
justice system; psychiatric education and research; the full range of
psychiatric treatments; and advocacy and public education. In addition,
members of several components discussed plans for their sessions scheduled to
take place at APA's 2006 annual meeting.
Meeting attendees came to a plenary session on Friday, September 9, to hear
Anthony Ng, M.D., chair of APA's Committee on Psychiatric Dimensions of
Disaster, discuss the actions APA is taking to support district branches that
were incapacitated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina (see story on facing
page). For example, APA, through Ng's committee, coordinated relief efforts
with a number of federal, state, and professional organizations and"
advocated for disaster psychiatry" with these organizations and
"We need to take an active role in supporting our colleagues,"
Ng said. "Many of us have lost jobs and practices in affected
Some of the repercussions from Hurricane Karina (and later Rita) that APA
faces include "long-term public health and human services needs"
and "tremendous psychiatric needs that we will be seeing for years to
come," he said.
Attendees also heard from Harold Ginzburg, M.D, J.D., M.P.H., a
psychiatrist who fled New Orleans when Katrina struck and has been assisting
with disaster-relief efforts in the Gulf Coast region.
"We can look at this situation as something that gives us the
opportunity to create a better life and better circumstances" for the
hurricane victims, he said.
Al Gaw, M.D. (right), Bhasker Dave, M.D., and Lorrie Garces, M.D., at
the meeting of the Committee on Public Funding for Psychiatric
Tyson Boudreaux, M.D., M.P.H., at the meeting of the Council on Minority
Mental Health and Health Disparities
Harold Ginzburg, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., at the plenary session
From left: Andrea Berntson, M.D., and Cassandra Newkirk, M.D., at the
meeting of the Council on Social Issues and Public Psychiatry
From left: Jerald Kay, M.D., Lorraine Siggens, M.D., and John Vanin,
M.D., at the meeting of the Task Force on Mental Health on College