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Association News
Institute Focuses on Disparities, Garners Rave Reviews
Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 7 page 17-17

Last year's APA Institute on Psychiatric Services (IPS) in Atlanta was a big hit, according to an analysis of the evaluation forms turned in by those who attended APA's fall meeting.

Despite somewhat lower attendance than the past few years, respondents gave very positive marks to the Atlanta setting and the less-crowded venue. The vast majority of respondents also rated the meeting's sessions as excellent.

The 2004 IPS was the second held in conjunction with the American Association of Community Psychiatrists, some of whose members sat on the APA Scientific Program Committee and helped to plan the meeting sessions.

Total attendance was 1,487. The theme was "Mental Health Disparities in the Community." More than 150 sessions were offered in a variety of formats, including multimedia sessions, which used film and video as teaching tools.

Topics on which IPS sessions focused included assertive community treatment, homelessness, cultural competency, and HIV/AIDS psychiatry.

A report from APA's Department of Continuing Medical Education (CME) highlighted these and other data from the meeting, including comments from attendees. Kathleen Debenham, M.A., who is director of that department, prepared the report.

"The Scientific Program Committee put together an outstanding program that clearly resonated with meeting attendees," Debenham told Psychiatric News. "The program provided a needed forum for discussion of mental health disparities in the community, along with new approaches to problem-solving that attendees could implement in their own work settings."

General evaluation forms were placed in all registration packets and distributed at a variety of locations at the meeting. A computerized evaluation survey allowed meeting registrants to complete the evaluation online. In addition, forms were mailed after the meeting to those who did not respond on site.

Ninety-eight percent of the 453 registrants who completed the general evaluation survey rated the overall quality of the educational sessions as excellent and said the sessions met their educational objectives.

About 96 percent of respondents thought that the industry-supported symposia provided an unbiased view of the topics covered, and 95 percent said that multiple views were presented within those sessions.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents agreed that their professional effectiveness will be enhanced as a result of the sessions they attended.

According to the evaluation results, 65.8 percent of the respondents were psychiatrists. Psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists, and nurses made up 16.5 percent of respondents, as compared with 10 percent last year.

One question on the evaluation form asked whether the 2004 IPS was the first institute they had attended. Approximately 53 percent of respondents indicated that they had come to previous institutes, and, of those, 28 percent had attended more than 10 meetings.

"The [evaluation] data indicate there is a strong core of physicians and mental health professionals who find the meeting an extremely valuable experience," Debenham said.

After reviewing evaluation scores and comments, Department of CME staff made several recommendations for the 2005 institute. These recommendations include continued involvement of the Scientific Program Committee with the local district branch and its members early in development of the meeting and capitalizing on access to local resources for IPS faculty.

The 2005 Institute on Psychiatric Services will be held October 5 to 9 in San Diego. Information about the 2005 IPS is posted on APA's Web site at<www.psych.org/edu/ann_mtgs/ips/05/index.cfm>.

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