Jo-Ellyn = experience, enthusiasm, and energy. Because I believe that psychiatry is a part of the House of Medicine, my experience includes six years as vice speaker and speaker of the Missouri State Medical Association, three years as speaker of the American Medical Women’s Association, chair of the APA Bylaws Committee, vice chair of the AMA Council on Constitution and Bylaws, delegate to the AMA from Missouri, and MSMA Parliamentarian since 1993. After serving the Assembly as representative from my DB, I am currently the deputy representative of Area 4.
My enthusiasm for organized medicine began when I joined the Eastern Missouri Psychiatric Society (EMPS) as a member in training. Soon I was elected president of EMPS. Since 1986 I have been co-chair of the Mental Illness Awareness Coalition of Metropolitan St. Louis, which educates the public in creative ways such as a preview talk on Robert Schumann at a St. Louis Orchestra Concert on an exhibit of the brain at the Science Center. For two years, I was the psychiatric expert on a weekly spot called "Your Mental Health" on our NBC-TV station.
My energy helps me maintain a solo private practice, teach medical students at Washington University in St. Louis as an assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, serve as a board examiner in psychiatry, and lecture to primary care physicians about psychiatric treatments. My love of traveling and flying a private plane had me venture to Alaska to lecture and fly over mountains and glaciers looking for bears. In the past I worked in state-funded inpatient and outpatient settings. My home has been St. Louis since medical school days, but I was born and raised in New Jersey. Recently I brought my mother to St. Louis so I could supervise her care in her nursing home. In my spare time I play.
Our Assembly is the most democratic and representative body in our American Psychiatric Association. Our Assembly has a tremendous amount of energy that needs to be directed so that our deliberations and action papers will be heard and will be approved by the Board of Trustees.
With my experience, I can guide the deliberations to accomplish our goals.
The role of speaker-elect is to know the rules, in this case Robert’s Rules of Order, to be fair and impartial in allowing the debate to occur, and to make clear rulings from the podium. If the speaker-elect is a consensus builder, our Assembly will do the right thing.
Because of my experience in the AMA, I drafted the template for our reference committees that allow all our Assembly members to focus on action papers and reduce editing on the floor of the Assembly. The Area Councils provide caucuses that can further deliberate on the business and provide camaraderie.
We have looked inward. What is the proper size of the Assembly? Should we have deputy representatives? Much of this discussion has been entertained because the budget is getting smaller, and we must be fiscally responsible, but not fiscally driven. I favor the current representative model, which provides deputy representatives, MITs, and ECPs with experience in APA governance, so that they will become the next generation of leaders. We need to harness the energy and enthusiasm of these younger members to keep our Assembly vital. We can find creative ways to live within our budget. We need to invite our Area trustees to the Council meetings, but not make them the deputy representative.
APA has done several things to improve efficiency and conserve funds. The move to Arlington, Va., will enable the various departments to communicate more effectively. Under my direction, our Bylaws Committee met entirely by e-mail and phone calls, at no expense to APA, to prepare the amendments to the Bylaws that are before the Assembly in May. Producing a product without costly face-to-face meetings is desirable and fiscally wise. New members will join a new, leaner, cost-effective APA that supports them, and current members will renew.
We need to look outward to advocate for our patients and those who cannot advocate for themselves. As public affairs representative of my district branch, I spoke to Mental Health Association meetings, NAMI audiences, and hospital auxiliary meetings and community groups about mental illness. My lecture on "Treatment of Mental Illness" is still aired on television in St. Louis. I had a weekly television spot, "Your Mental Health," for two years and 104 programs. In addition to educating the public, we need to inform our legislators about mental illness and the impact of not treating those patients. They need to know the difference between psychiatrists and those who would imitate us. My legislators in Missouri know me on a first-name basis. APA needs a strong PAC. We need to get the attention of our state and federal legislators so that they will ask us for information about mental illness. If we advocate for our patients, we will advocate for our profession: mental health parity, access to care, psychologist prescribing privileges, reasonable budgets for state departments of mental health, tort-reform changes. I help coordinate the yearly Mental Illness Awareness Day in our state capitol. This year we are fighting lethal cuts in Medicaid spending and mental health appropriations.
Our Assembly is the fount of great ideas. I would be honored if your elected representatives choose me to be the Assembly speaker-elect. "Remember, Ryall knows the Rules." ▪