It’s a safe bet that not many district branches say goodbye to their executive director the way the Ohio Psychiatric Association (OPA) did. But then not many executive directors retire with the tenure and record of accomplishment of Philip Workman.
"OPA Friends and Associates" presented this gift to Phil Workman at his retirement party.
Workman was retiring after 20 years at the helm of the 1,052-member district branch.
A special commendation approved by the APA Assembly last November and presented to Workman at the retirement dinner highlighted some of the reasons that he was held in high regard by so many Ohio psychiatrists, patient advocates, and lawmakers.
It cited his extensive lobbying efforts in the state legislature, for example, where he became a valuable resource on all issues related to mental health. He also organized and led the Ohio Psychiatric Physicians Political Action Committee. Because of the efforts of this committee, Workman told Psychiatric News, the OPA is "now considered a major player [in the state legislature]. We are at the table. Our advice and expertise are sought. We are able to gain access to legislators."
The commendation hails his extensive patient advocacy work as well, noting that in 1984 he was a leader in organizing the Fair Benefits Coalition, now 30 members strong and known as the Coalition for Healthy Communities. The group’s work to end the insurance industry’s discriminatory coverage of mental health and substance abuse care. He stated that this is one of the accomplishments of which he is most proud.
Two years ago, Workman’s devotion to the fight for better mental health care won him the Mental Health Champion award from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill of Ohio.
In 1995 APA recognized his contributions with the Area 4 Warren Williams Award. Workman had served on APA committees that studied the APA dues structure, developed procedures by which APA began to share nondues revenue with its district branches, and assessed ways to improve APA’s information services.
His retirement agenda, he noted, includes working with mental health advocacy organizations, playing golf, completing "a long list of household projects," and spending Ohio’s brutal winter months in the Florida sun. ▪
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