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Professional News
Psychiatry Gains Influence Through AMA Posts
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 10 page 23-24
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APA Trustee-at-Large Patrice Harris, M.D., will begin a one-year term next month on the AMA’s Council on Legislation.

John McIntyre, M.D., former APA president and currently APA’s senior delegate to the AMA’s House of Delegates, announced last month that the AMA board of trustees had appointed Patrice Harris, M.D., to a one-year term on the AMA’s Council on Legislation.

Harris, an APA trustee-at-large, was appointed only three years ago by former APA President Daniel Borenstein, M.D., to serve as an alternate delegate to the AMA house.

Harris will bring considerable legislative knowledge to her post at the AMA. She is a member of the legislative councils of the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association and the Medical Association of Georgia. Perhaps the most valuable asset Harris will bring to the AMA council, she told Psychiatric News, is her experience as a lobbyist to the Georgia state legislature. During the first three months of each year, Harris is a lobbyist at the state capitol, primarily on behalf of children and adolescents. The rest of the year she maintains a private practice specializing in the treatment of children and adolescents. She has taken on legislative issues in the Georgia state house ranging from achieving parity to combating psychologist prescribing and attempting to win better care for children covered under Medicaid.

"Patrice Harris is an outstanding addition to the AMA Council on Legislation," APA Medical Director James H. Scully Jr., M.D., told Psychiatric News. "Dr. Harris is a star, and it is wonderful that the AMA has recognized her. We think this will be the beginning of her rise to additional positions of leadership within the AMA."

McIntyre noted that Harris will represent not only APA, as well as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (AAPL)—the other two psychiatric societies with voting delegates in the AMA House—but all of psychiatry, and indeed all of medicine.

As a member of an AMA council, Harris will join several fellow APA members in either appointed or elected positions within the AMA: Carolyn Robinowitz, M.D., who was elected in 2001 to a four-year term on the Council on Scientific Affairs and is a longtime APA delegate to AMA; Jo-Ellen Ryall, M.D., who was re-elected in 2002 to a four-year term on the Council on Constitution and Bylaws and is currently its vice chair; and Priscilla Ray, M.D., who was elected in 1999 to a seven-year term on the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

In addition, during next month’s election process, APA member Emmanuel Cassimatis, M.D., will stand for re-election to a second four-year term on the Council on Medical Education. Cassimatis is a retired Army colonel who is a delegate from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States.

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Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., is hoping to be the first psychiatrist to win election as vice speaker of the AMA’s House of Delegates.

By far, however, the most visible psychiatrist at this year’s House of Delegates meeting will be Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., current chair of APA’s Council on Advocacy and Public Policy and former speaker of the APA Assembly. Lazarus, a longtime delegate to the AMA from the Colorado State Medical Society, is running for the position of vice speaker of the House of Delegates. Lazarus told Psychiatric News that the vice speaker—the number two job in the AMA’s policymaking body—"works alongside the speaker, directing the activities and business of the house. In addition, both the speaker and vice speaker sit as nonvoting members of the AMA board of trustees."

His opponent is John A. Fagg, M.D., a plastic surgeon from North Carolina and the chair of the AMA’s Council on Constitution and Bylaws.

Lazarus is believed to be the first psychiatrist to vie for the vice-speaker’s position. Currently president of the Colorado Medical Society (CMS), Lazarus is sponsored for the election by the CMS and has been endorsed by APA, AACAP, AAPL, American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Clinical Neurophysiology Society, and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

"APA has been actively and successfully working toward an enhanced voice within the house of medicine and toward working more closely and cooperatively on such national issues as parity, scope of practice, and equality within treatment settings of our patients served by health maintenance organizations," Lazarus said. "And it is critical that our colleagues in the AMA are supportive of the goals and missions of APA."

Lazarus and Cassimatis are not APA delegates in the House of Delegates, but rather psychiatrists representing other organizations there, noted that APA has been very effective at increasing the visibility of mental health concerns through working closely with all members of the psychiatric caucus, made up of nearly 60 psychiatrist delegates in the house.

Lazarus said his election would "be a statement of respect for both psychiatry as a profession and for APA as an organization, and would greatly enhance the voice of not only APA but all of psychiatry within the house of medicine."

Noting that the vice speaker is one of the most important positions within the AMA, Scully added that the position "leads to election to the [AMA] board of trustees. We hope to have a psychiatrist on that board soon, and Jeremy would be a great choice."

More information on the AMA’s annual meeting and its election process is posted on the Web at www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/10187.html.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

APA Trustee-at-Large Patrice Harris, M.D., will begin a one-year term next month on the AMA’s Council on Legislation.

John McIntyre, M.D., former APA president and currently APA’s senior delegate to the AMA’s House of Delegates, announced last month that the AMA board of trustees had appointed Patrice Harris, M.D., to a one-year term on the AMA’s Council on Legislation.
Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., is hoping to be the first psychiatrist to win election as vice speaker of the AMA’s House of Delegates.

By far, however, the most visible psychiatrist at this year’s House of Delegates meeting will be Jeremy Lazarus, M.D., current chair of APA’s Council on Advocacy and Public Policy and former speaker of the APA Assembly. Lazarus, a longtime delegate to the AMA from the Colorado State Medical Society, is running for the position of vice speaker of the House of Delegates. Lazarus told Psychiatric News that the vice speaker—the number two job in the AMA’s policymaking body—"works alongside the speaker, directing the activities and business of the house. In addition, both the speaker and vice speaker sit as nonvoting members of the AMA board of trustees."

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