FIG1 APA members can look with
satisfaction on all of its journals and publications. But now is an especially
good time to take pride in Psychiatric Services, the monthly
publication with a distinctive mission to serve the interests of psychiatrists
and their patients in the public sector.
For 23 years, it has been under the caring and able editorship of Dr. John
A. Talbott. Today it has a circulation of 24,000 and a growing international
reputation: one-tenth of its manuscript submissions come from a country other
than the United States.
Now, with John's retirement, the reins are being turned over to Dr. Howard
H. Goldman, a nationally respected leader in mental health services and
economics research. Regular readers of the journal will take heart in knowing
that the exemplary path the journal has forged in these areas under John's
leadership is already being continued and extended by Howard.
Much has changed in the landscape of public and community psychiatry, and
the journal has changed with it. First titled Mental Hospitals, and
later Hospital and Community Psychiatry, the journal has reflected
the day-to-day challenges of public sector psychiatry while illuminating its
future direction and opportunities.
Despite the changes in the field over the years, there has been a reliable
constancy in the journal's dedication to "psychiatry in the
trenches." It has been a resource for expert information on
deinstitutionalization, care in the community, treatment of schizophrenia and
co-occurring disorders, homelessness and mental illness, and the results of
many community-based demonstration projects. John brought a new academic rigor
to the journal while maintaining and sharpening its focus and thematic
clarity. He instituted a system of peer review for manuscripts and over time
helped to define more clearly the journal's target audience. And it was during
his tenure that the journal became an important outlet for publishing the
findings of mental health services research.
Health services research looks at how the provision of health care"
hits the ground running," how funding and the organization and
configuration of services influence the treatment of patients. In the field of
mental health, where public policy decisions have had an enormous—and
often deleterious—impact on the provision of care for some of our
sickest and most needy patients, mental health services research is an
invaluable tool for discerning where the challenges and opportunities lie.
As Dr. Steven S. Sharfstein, APA's president-elect, said recently in a
front-page article in Psychiatric News, "From science to public
policy, [Psychiatric Services] became the resource for the clinician
and administrator in the fight for resources and attention."
Now, in Howard Goldman, the journal has an editor who can quickly fill
John's large shoes and begin walking around in them.
Appointed by a search committee, Howard has been associated with the
journal for many years and was a member of the Psychiatric Services
Editorial Board from 1993 to 2001; he has also served as a peer reviewer and
editor of the journal's State Mental Health Policy column.
Since the late 1970s, Howard has been a policy consultant and has been
involved in numerous editorial activities. Most recently, he served as an
advisor to President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. In
addition, he was senior scientific editor of "Mental Health: A Report of
the Surgeon General," for which he received the Surgeon General's
Medallion. He served on the Task Force on Health Care Reform during the
Clinton administration and has been elected to membership in the National
Academy of Social Insurance and the Institute of Medicine.
Howard has been on the editorial boards of several journals in addition to
Psychiatric Services, including the American Journal of
Psychiatry and Health Affairs. He is the editor of five editions
of Review of General Psychiatry, a text for medical students.
Howard will build on his predecessor's legacy by continuing to strengthen
the scientific rigor of Psychiatric Services. Already he has expanded
the review process to include columns, so that now virtually all of the
content is peer reviewed. Readers may also look forward to more studies that
are paired with the columns; in this way the journal can provide both
empirical data and lengthier descriptions of service programs for clinicians
who are designing and administering programs and demonstration projects.
Howard hopes to continue the practice of publishing articles and columns
around a theme that is consistent over an entire year. And while services
research is the heart of the journal, Howard looks forward to retaining the
important clinical information that has always been available in its
Finally, all of us at APA hope members will take advantage of the fact that
Psychiatric Services is now available for free, as a benefit of
membership. Members interested in receiving the journal can find the request
form online at<www.psych.org/ps>.
Just print out the form and complete it, then sign and fax as instructed on
Psychiatric Services reflects with distinction on APA's mission
and its members. Its past contributions to public and community psychiatry are
a source of pride; its future is a promise of hope and excitement. ▪