Professional News
Psychiatrist's New Job Confers Influence Over High-Profile Issues
Psychiatric News
Volume 44 Number 3 page 1-30

Psychiatrist Saul Levin, M.D., a longtime member of the AMA House of Delegates and the AMA's Section Council on Psychiatry, has been named vice president of science, medicine, and public health at the AMA.FIG1

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Saul Levin, M.D.: "A lot of the initiatives President Obama has said he wants to implement will fall under my area of jurisdiction at the AMA." 

Credit: Mark Moran

The appointment, which became effective last month, places Levin in a position to oversee AMA activities in three important, overarching areas of medicine: science, research, and technology; disaster preparedness; and medicine and public health.

Levin has been associated with the AMA's policymaking House of Delegates for nearly 20 years, much of it as a delegate to the Section Council on Psychiatry. He was also a member of the AMA's Council on Long-Range Planning and Development.

"We are delighted that Dr. Levin will be bringing his experience and talents to this extremely important role at the nexus of clinical medicine, science, and public health," said Modena Wilson, M.D., M.P.H., senior vice president of professional standards for the AMA, in a statement released at the time of Levin's appointment.

In the area of science, research, and technology, Levin is helping to develop scientific policy for the AMA. Among the organizations with which he is working is the United States Adopted Names (USAN) Council. This council, sponsored by the AMA, the United States Pharmacopeial Convention, and the American Pharmacists Association, serves the health professions in the United States by selecting simple, informative, and unique nonproprietary names for drugs by establishing logical nomenclature classifications based on pharmacological or chemical relationships or both.

In the area of disaster preparedness, Levin will oversee the Center for Public Health Preparedness and Disaster Response, including the AMA's new journal, Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness.

In the area of public health, Levin is responsible for coordinating AMA policy regarding physician health, health care disparities, aging and community health, and healthy lifestyles and primary prevention. He will also work closely with the Council on Science and Public Health, which is chaired by past APA President Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D.

The council provides information and recommendations on medical, scientific, and public health issues, and recently it has taken on such high-profile issues as violence, obesity, legalization of marijuana, substance abuse, and use of TASERs by law enforcement and health care personnel.

With a new presidential administration vowing to reform the nation's health care system, developments in some of those issues will make headline news.

"It's a very exciting time," Levin told Psychiatric News. "A lot of the initiatives President Obama has said he wants to implement will fall under my area of jurisdiction at the AMA—from science, research, and technology to aging and disaster preparedness."

Levin previously served as president and CEO of Medical Education for South African Blacks, an international organization that provided scholarships to black South African students who planned to study health sciences. Before that, Levin spent 10 years as president and CEO of ACCESS Consulting International Inc., a health and human service policy, program, and research consulting firm. Prior to founding ACCESS, he served as an appointee in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in Washington, D.C.

Levin said he hopes his experience with substance abuse issues can help to spark a renewed focus on the subject at the AMA.

Members of the Section Council on Psychiatry expressed delight with Levin's appointment, citing exceptional credentials he brings to the position.

"I've known Saul since he was a resident in psychiatry and was active in the resident and then the Young Physicians Section [of the AMA House of Delegates]," Robinowitz told Psychiatric News. "He has the experience and knowledge of how the AMA works to serve as a bridge between psychiatry and the whole house of medicine. And he has a special interest in public health and in the conditions that psychiatrists treat but sometimes fall through the cracks with other specialties.

"He has a broad understanding of how public policy influences outcomes and supports the translation of science into clinical care as well as into policy that serves the greater public. His unique experience in terms of alcohol and substance abuse prevention and early intervention, and his work in HIV and health disparities, will inform the work of the Council [on Science and Public Health] and the entire AMA." ▪

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Saul Levin, M.D.: "A lot of the initiatives President Obama has said he wants to implement will fall under my area of jurisdiction at the AMA." 

Credit: Mark Moran

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