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From the President
IPS Provides Timely Occasion for Setting Post–September 11 Goals
Psychiatric News
Volume 36 Number 21 page 3-27
Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpAs I write this column, I am attending APA’s 53rd Institute on Psychiatric Services in Orlando, Fla. It has been a comforting experience to be here. In spite of continued terrorist threats and rumors running rampant at times, attendance for this meeting has been excellent with far fewer cancellations leading up to the meeting than any of us expected. (Coverage of the institute will begin in the next issue of Psychiatric News.)

The theme of the meeting, "Multidisciplinary Roles in the 21st Century," could not have been more appropriate and well timed. I would direct each of you to the October edition of Psychiatric Services in which Jeff Geller, M.D., provides a case study and asks professionals in different mental health disciplines to state their contributions to the collaborative care of the patient. Many psychiatrists at the meeting stated that they had had more collaboration in the last four weeks with professionals from other mental health disciplines than in the previous four years.

During the institute, Harvey Bluestone, M.D., and Paula Panzer M.D., the chair and vice chair of the institute’s Scientific Program Committee, respectively, responded to the needs and desires of attendees. A special program track on the sequelae of September 11 was initiated. A series of discussion groups was added that included topics around the diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, special populations such as children, the impact on systems of care in this country, and looking out for each other as we help our patients deal with their individual issues. One session dealt with the pressures and prejudices faced by residents and general members who are Arab American or Muslim, or who look like they might be. Speakers at these sessions brought very powerful and poignant examples from their clinical practice, for example, children being afraid or refusing to continue treatment with a Muslim psychiatrist. Others felt the need to de-identify with their heritage and dress because of confrontations both in and out of their work setting. It is clear to me that we as a profession are not doing enough to help our members and our society deal with these complicated and intensely prejudicial issues.

Many recommendations came out of these special sessions. We must redouble our efforts to support our international medical graduates, residents, and members to deal with the anger, stigma, and prejudice to which they are subjected. In many parts of the world, U.S. medical graduates may now have much of that prejudice aimed in their direction.

We also discussed the issue of diagnosis and the concern of making pathological the normal reaction of a large number of people to these horrific acts. There is clearly an opportunity to help more individuals understand the need for parity and to increase the use of V codes and receive appropriate reimbursement for their use.

While members were appreciative of the information on APA’s Web site, we were asked to redouble our efforts in this area.

In my opening remarks at the awards ceremony at the institute, I said to the residents, "You are being summoned by history to take a leadership role in helping this country deal with traumas that have occurred and the symptoms that are yet to come."

As I sat listening to the residents and others discuss what lies ahead and what we should be doing as a profession to prepare for it, I became suddenly filled with pride. The 1,000 attendees at the institute had made their point. Each had made a personal decision to not allow the fanatical cowards who attacked our civilization to deter them from coming to their professional meeting and advancing their professional knowledge so that they could be better able to treat those among us with mental illness. These members who came to this meeting four weeks after September 11 are my kind of people. They are my people. ▪

Anchor for JumpAnchor for JumpAs I write this column, I am attending APA’s 53rd Institute on Psychiatric Services in Orlando, Fla. It has been a comforting experience to be here. In spite of continued terrorist threats and rumors running rampant at times, attendance for this meeting has been excellent with far fewer cancellations leading up to the meeting than any of us expected. (Coverage of the institute will begin in the next issue of Psychiatric News.)

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