0
Members in the News
Psychiatry Fellow Gets Insider’s View of Congress
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 17 page 14-14

Jeanne Spurlock, M.D., who was a deputy medical director of APA, cared deeply about—and worked hard to impact—the often-overlooked issues of racial disparities in health care, children’s health, and the relationship between mental health and being part of a minority group.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Erika Goodwin, M.D.: "I have learned how vital health policy is to every human being and how health policy sets the pace for who lives or dies."

Spurlock would undoubtedly be extremely gratified that this year’s Jeanne Spurlock Congressional Fellow, psychiatrist Ericka Goodwin, has spent much of her Capitol Hill tenure working on just those issues.

Now in its second year, the six-month fellowship is sponsored by APA, the American Psychiatric Foundation, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. It is named for the late deputy medical director who for 17 years headed APA’s Office of Minority and National Affairs. Spurlock died in 1999.

The fellowship is open to general psychiatry and child psychiatry residents in years PGY-2 through PGY-4. Each fellow receives a $20,000 stipend and is reimbursed up to $2,500 for moving expenses to Washington, D.C.

Goodwin, who recently completed a general psychiatry residency at Morehouse School of Medicine, spent her fellowship in the office of Rep. Donna Christensen, a Democrat who represents the Virgin Islands. Christensen is also a family physician—a background that has turned out to be a major asset in her role as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust, a group that recommends health-related issues for the Congressional Black Caucus’s legislative agenda.

Goodwin explained that her fellowship duties have ranged from the mundane—answering phones—to the advanced—advising Christensen on pending and potential health-related legislation and meeting with lobbyists and representatives of professional, advocacy, and other organizations.

A major project that Goodwin coordinated was a "roundtable discussion" in which representatives of 40 organizations—including labor unions and professional organizations—and House and Senate staff discussed universal access to health care. She said that the discussion was a "warm-up for the Health Care Access Rally," which was held on Capitol Hill on April 29 (Psychiatric News, June 6).

Goodwin noted that she also worked on congressional briefings on racism in public health care, hepatitis C and HIV co-infection, stigma surrounding children with mental illness, and reproductive health care disparities between black Americans and white Americans.

Goodwin said that her Capitol Hill experience exposed her "to the wide range of public health [issues] and how public health intersects with the field of medicine." She added that the Spurlock fellowship has been "an invaluable lesson on how the federal government works and a wonderful tool to understand how to advocate successfully for physicians and their patients."

She believes that she made a particularly important contribution, she told Psychiatric News, in "being able to facilitate contact between major mental health organizations and the Congressional Black Caucus and Congresswoman Christensen." She added that during the fellowship her "skills in being a physician were probably used more than skills specific to being a psychiatrist."

"Above all," Goodwin emphasized, "I have learned how important and vital health policy is to every human being and how health policy sets the pace for who lives or dies."

She also had some advice for future Spurlock fellows: "Most of the work of the Hill is not glamorous, but it is important to be part of the team and to work hard," she said. "There are so many types of opportunities on the Hill that it is crucial to have an idea of what you would like to gain from the experience, and then do your best to tailor the fellowship to fit your interests."

When her tenure on Capitol Hill ended on June 30, Goodwin began a child psychiatry fellowship as an APA/AstraZeneca fellow at Children’s Hospital in Boston.

More information about the Spurlock Fellowship, including application instructions, is posted on APA’s Web site at www.psych.org/med_ed/spurlockfellowship2002.pdf.

Anchor for JumpAnchor for Jump

Erika Goodwin, M.D.: "I have learned how vital health policy is to every human being and how health policy sets the pace for who lives or dies."

Spurlock would undoubtedly be extremely gratified that this year’s Jeanne Spurlock Congressional Fellow, psychiatrist Ericka Goodwin, has spent much of her Capitol Hill tenure working on just those issues.

Interactive Graphics

Video

NOTE:
Citing articles are presented as examples only. In non-demo SCM6 implementation, integration with CrossRef’s "Cited By" API will populate this tab (http://www.crossref.org/citedby.html).
Related Articles
Articles