Psychiatry is moving up in the House of Medicine. Psychiatrists scored four
valuable election victories at the annual policymaking meeting of the AMA
House of Delegates in Chicago in June, putting psychiatry in key
In addition, APA President Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., became chair-elect of
the AMA Council on Science and Public Health (CSPH). The CSPH reports on
medical, public health, and scientific issues that affect the practice of
medicine, the public health system, quality of patient care, and the
translation of scientific research into medical treatment.
Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., a former speaker of the APA Assembly, was elected
speaker of the House of Delegates, in which position he will preside over its
meetings. Lazarus's experience with the AMA is extensive, having most recently
served as vice speaker. He has also been chair of the AMA Board Task Force on
Health System Reform, vice chair of the AMA National Advisory Council on
Violence and Abuse, and chair of the AMA Foundation's "Uniting for the
Future of Medicine" campaign steering committee.
This year, Lazarus helped lead the AMA's advocacy to get coverage for the
uninsured as the AMA's principal spokesperson for the Health Coverage
Coalition for the Uninsured. He represented the AMA in the 2007 Ride for World
Health, speaking about the need to make covering America's uninsured a top
national priority. In addition, Lazarus provided AMA testimony against
predatory contracting practices at the National Conference of Insurance
John McIntyre, M.D. (left), poses with psychiatrist Jeremy Lazarus,
M.D., who was elected speaker of the AMA House of Delegates.
John McIntyre, M.D., chair of the Section Council on Psychiatry and a
former APA president, won a closely contested election to the AMA's Council on
Medical Services, which recommends policies and actions for consideration by
the AMA House of Delegates on socioeconomic factors that influence the
practice of medicine.
For instance, the house last month approved a report written by the council
that urges continued AMA support for the State Child Health Insurance Program
(SCHIP) as a priority. The report also calls on AMA to support efforts to
expand coverage to uninsured children who are eligible for SCHIP and to
support the program's reauthorization this year.
McIntyre told Psychiatric News that his goal as a council member
is to help the AMA push for a policy ensuring that "every person has
real access to high quality, affordable health care.
"Specifically, that has to include full coverage of individuals with
mental illness," he added.
McIntyre noted that the AMA is already on record as supporting parity for
treatment of mental illness. "I want to help those principles get
translated into actual programs and policies that are specific in terms of
including mental illness," he said.
Also winning election to the Council on Science and Public Health was
psychiatrist Stuart Gitlow, M.D., M.P.H.
Gitlow is an addictions expert who has a degree in public health. He said
he hopes to help the council apply critical judgment regarding methodology and
other study criteria when assessing research brought before the CPHS."
What I hope to accomplish is to make it so the council's output is
based not only on an objective review of the literature but of how that
literature was developed," he said.
At least one psychiatrist is now sitting on six of seven AMA governing
councils. And psychiatrist Jo Ellen Ryall, M.D., ended her term on the Council
on Constitution and Bylaws last month, leaving that the only council without a
McIntyre congratulated the section council for its efforts—supported
by APA staff, especially Eugene Cassel, J.D., director of APA's Division of
Advocacy—in helping to build psychiatry's strength within the House of
Delegates over the last few years.
"I think psychiatry has really reached a position of very significant
influence in the House of Delegates," McIntyre said.
In addition to McIntyre, Robinowitz, and Gitlow, these other psychiatrists
serve on AMA councils: Patrice Harris, M.D., Council on Legislation; Saul
Levin, M.D., Council on Long-Range Planning and Development; Dudley Stewart
Jr., M.D., Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs; and Emmanuel Cassimatis,
M.D., Council on Medical Education. ▪