Letter to the Editor
Membership Information
Psychiatric News
Volume 38 Number 21 page 38-38

In the August 1 issue APA Medical Director James H. Scully Jr., M.D., devoted his column to APA’s Membership Department. He began with such questions as, What are the requirements to become a distinguished fellow? How does one become a member? Is it true that dues are waived for residents? He noted there is a project to streamline the membership process and described what each of the department’s 12 staff members do at APA.

It would be helpful for APA members to have a brochure that, in fact, answers the most commonly asked questions. Such a pamphlet might include answers to the following questions: How does one apply for membership? What part does the local chapter, district branch, or state association play in the process? How does one become a member as a medical student, resident (member-in-training), early career psychiatrist (ECP), or later? How does one advance from the category of member to fellow to distinguished fellow and so on?

Moreover, it would be helpful to know the ranges of local dues, APA dues, and various discounts available, as well as what benefits derive from membership.

With this information made easily available to all members, many of the complaints about the cumbersome and confusing nature of membership would be cleared up. Rather than waiting for one more pilot project, it would be helpful to recruit and retain members by providing as much information as possible.

Susan Kuper, director of APA’s Membership Department, responds:

I would like to thank Dr. Gudeman for his excellent suggestions. Though the Membership Department currently has available a brochure called "An Invitation to Membership," which is mailed to prospective members when inquiring about membership, this brochure does not specifically address all of the questions posed in Dr. Scully’s column or in Dr. Gudeman’s letter.

APA’s Web site does contain information on the membership application process, qualifications for membership, categories of entry membership, and CME requirements for members. To address the inclusion of Dr. Gudeman’s suggestion, however, the "Join APA" page of the Web site now has a link to "Frequently Asked Questions" for prospective members, and the "Members Corner" section of the Web site has a link to "Frequently Asked Questions" about membership dues and status. We also plan to condense the FAQs into a printed brochure that can be mailed to prospective members.

The FAQs for prospective members are posted at www.psych.org/apa_members/nonmemberfaqs.cfm, and the FAQs for members are posted at www.psych.org/apa_members/memberfaqs.cfm.

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