FIG1 If psychiatrist Jeffrey
Akaka, M.D., approaches you, don't be surprised if you get a pack of macadamia
nuts and an invitation to the Aloha State.
Akaka, an APA delegate and member of the Section Council on Psychiatry to
the AMA House of Delegates and a Hawaii native, has been tireless in urging
the AMA house to return to Honolulu periodically for its interim meeting in
In turn, Akaka and his colleagues in the Hawaii Medical Association and
Hawaii Psychiatric Medical Association have translated the goodwill—and
significant tourist revenues—the meeting has generated into political
capital with Hawaii's legislators in ongoing battles over psychologist
prescribing in that state.
During the House of Delegates meeting in Chicago in June (Psychiatric
News, July 16), delegates overwhelmingly approved a resolution to return
to Honolulu in 2007 or 2008 for the interim meeting. The resolution was
sponsored by APA, along with the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law
and the Hawaii, Alaska, California, and Kansas state delegations.
The resolution was not without opposition from some delegates, who said the
cost of the meeting to the AMA, along with the clinical time lost in travel,
made return to Honolulu unsupportable. Other delegates said that the Hawaii
meeting has sometimes been perceived by other AMA members as a junket.
But just as many delegates testified to work that has been accomplished by
the House of Delegates in a meeting devoted to advocacy and legislative
issues. The tide turned when representatives from the Hawaii Medical
Association reported that a pledge of financial and logistical support to
defray costs of the Honolulu meeting had been obtained from the convention
Akaka told delegates that the meeting was reaping political rewards with
the state's leadership. At the 2003 interim meeting in Honolulu, he said, the
Hawaii Medical Association facilitated a scope-of-practice panel involving the
chair of the Hawaii Senate's Education Committee, a Democrat, and the state
House of Representatives' minority leader, a Republican.
"From the 2003 interim meeting through now, and throughout the entire
subsequent legislative session, not a single crash-course psychology
prescribing bill has been introduced in either the House or the Senate of the
state of Hawaii," he told AMA delegates.
Akaka's work in bringing leaders of psychiatry and medicine together with
political leadership in his state is regarded by some of his colleagues as a
political masterstroke. ▪