Information on Host City and Meeting Highlights
Take Your Heart–and Mind–To San Francisco!
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 4 page 2-85

San Francisco has always been one of the most popular host cities of APA’s annual meeting—each time the meeting is held there, attendance records are broken, and this year is expected to be no different.

To those APA members who have contributed to breaking those attendance records, the city’s picturesque charm and bounty of cultural and culinary attractions irresistibly endure. This issue of Psychiatric News will remind those members about all that San Francisco has to offer and (it is hoped) entice first-time visitors to make exploring this grand city an important part of their annual meeting experience.

"San Francisco is the perfect location for this year’s annual meeting," said Geetha Jayaram, M.D., chair of APA’s Scientific Program Committee and an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, "but it’s only one of the reasons that members should take time out of their busy schedules to come to the meeting. This year’s theme, selected by APA President Paul Appelbaum, M.D., is ‘The Promise of Science, the Power of Healing.’ The scientific program will emphasize the numerous advances that psychiatry has made in both research and clinical practice while also focusing on the integral role that psychiatrists play in the healing process."

Another reason that members should come to the meeting is collegiality, she said. "The annual meeting is an important opportunity for members to meet and exchange information—both formally and informally—with colleagues and respected leaders in many areas of psychiatry. With so much pressure on practitioners these days to see more patients while spending less time with them and the many hours eaten up by dealing with third-party payers, we as psychiatrists are spending less time staying connected with each other."

The scientific program will once again feature a wide diversity of topics presented in different formats, from lectures to debates. While the names of sessions that Jayaram put on the "must-see" list is extra long this year, she noted that there are a number of topics that are particularly "trendy" or cutting edge this year, among them: weight management of patients on psychotropics, the use of antipsychotics as mood stabilizers, the interplay of cardiovascular disease and mood disorders, transcultural and cultural competence issues, and patient safety.

New this year is the format "Focus Live." This format is composed of two sessions on the same topics covered, respectively, in the first two issues of APA’s new journal, Focus. This goal of this peer-reviewed journal is to help psychiatrists stay up to date on the latest information on a wide range of psychiatric disorders and maintain board certification. The first "Focus Live" session, which deals with bipolar disorder, will be held on Tuesday, May 20, at 9 a.m. in room 106, exhibit level, Moscone Center. The second session, on substance abuse, will be held that same day in the same location at 11 a.m. Both will be cochaired by Deborah Hales, M.D., director of APA’s Division of Education, Minority, and National Affairs, and Mark H. Rapaport, M.D.

While Jayaram noted that the Scientific Program Committee is still lining up outside lecturers for the meeting, so far of interest are Charles Krauthammer, who has agreed to give this year’s William C. Menninger Memorial Lecture at the Convocation on Monday, May 19, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., in Hall E, exhibit level, Moscone Center (see box on page 2), and actress and author Carrie Fisher (see page 13). Fisher will discuss her experience with mental illness and the difficulties she encountered until she was correctly diagnosed as having bipolar disorder at a special event sponsored by the American Psychiatric Foundation on Tuesday, May 20.

Always popular among meetings goers are the debates. There are two this year: "Resolved: Personality Disorder Nomenclature Should Be Deleted in DSM-V," to be held on Monday, May 19, at 9 a.m. Squaring off are John M. Oldham, M.D., of the Medical University of South Carolina, who will take the affirmative viewpoint; and Roger Peele, M.D., of the Montgomery County (Md.) Department of Mental Health. Former APA president John McIntyre, M.D., will serve as moderator.

The other debate is "Resolved: Racism Is a Mental Disorder." This debate, to be moderated by Jayaram, will be held on Tuesday, May 20, at 9 a.m. Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D., of the Judge Baker Guidance Center in Boston, will argue the affirmative viewpoint against Robert T.M. Phillips, M.D., the medical director of Forensic Consultation Associates Inc. and a faculty member in the University of Maryland’s Law and Health Care Program.

The annual meeting also gives APA members an opportunity each year to update themselves in various areas of general medicine. These sessions have become increasingly important because of the growing body of knowledge demonstrating what psychiatrists have long known—that the mind and body are inextricably linked. This year’s topics are menopause, club drugs, cross-cross cultural issues in psychopharmacology, and yogic breathing.

One of the most enduringly popular sessions at the annual meeting combines entertainment and education in a forum presented by psychiatrist and classical pianist Richard Kogan, M.D. Each year this Juilliard-trained pianist presents a lecture on a famous composer and performs illustrative pieces from that composer’s body of work. This year Kogan will present "Music and the Mind: George Gershwin" on Monday, May 19, at noon in Golden Gate Hall B, B-2 level, Marriott. Come early—this session is always standing-room-only long before Kogan sits at the keyboard.

Moving beyond the customary array of clinical updates, another forum will examine a topic that has gotten much attention for the past few years: "The Placebo Effect: Science, Belief, and Clinical Practice." It will be held on Monday, May 19, at noon in room 306 in the Moscone Center. Philip Muskin, M.D., of Columbia University will chair the session along with Andrew Leuchter, M.D., of the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA. Participants will include David Spiegel, M.D., of Stanford University and Howard Fields, M.D., of the University of California at San Francisco.

"Placebo has been a puzzling phenomenon for many years," said Muskin. "The power of a person’s belief in a treatment can influence whether the person obtains a benefit. There may be no greater example in medicine of mind over matter than placebo. In this forum we will discuss the science of placebo, demonstrating how the brain looks during a placebo response."

Another fascinating session, said Muskin, raises the question, Does life imitate art? Phillip Resnick, M.D., will chair a case conference discussion on Wednesday and Thursday, May 21 and 22, about a patient who committed a crime in another personality in the session "A Case of Murder and Dissociative Identity Disorder: Real or Malingered Mental Illness?" Videotaped material of the patient will be shown during the first part of the case conference. On the second day the group will show and discuss a major motion picture in which the theme very much resembles this case. Both sessions will be held from 9 a.m. to noon in room 120, exhibit level, Moscone Center.

More information on the meeting, including registration and housing reservations forms, can be accessed on APA’s Web site at www.psych.org by clicking on the annual meeting logo on the homepage.

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