This will be my final column as your APA president. It has been a privilege
and honor to serve you this past year. I have learned a lot and would like to
take this opportunity to thank you and share with you some of the important"
teaching points" I
• Ask for help. You will get it.
There have been many times throughout this year when I have needed advice,
support, and help with certain projects, plans, and ideas. We, in APA, are
fortunate to have talented and giving members who are always ready to extend a
For example, as the controversy unfolded over the use of antidepressants in
children in the past year, many child and adolescent psychiatrists came
forward to lend their wisdom and experience regarding the best approaches to
addressing the myriad problems that arose. APA leaders, members, and staff,
along with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) and
patient advocacy groups, stood ready with their expertise. One of the results
was the development of educational materials for patients, families, and
clinicians now available at<http://parentsmedguide.org/>.
I especially want to thank Dr. David Fassler, Dr. Darrel Regier, and the
members of the APA-AACAP task force that developed the educational materials,
along with APA staff Eugene Cassel, Nick Meyers, Paula Johnson, and Lydia
• Be proud of our APA medical director and APA staff.
We are the best in the business. Under the direction of Dr. Jay Scully, we
have a superbly run APA. I have had the great opportunity to work with staff
in every department of APA, and I was continually impressed by their knowledge
and dedication. But in addition to Jay, in particular I'd like to thank his
staff—Rosalind Keitt, Sandra Moore, and Alec Soto—and the staff in
the Department of Association Governance—Margaret Dewar, Laurie McQueen,
Carol Lewis, Yoshie Davison, Ardell Lockerman, and Alexandra Braslavskaya.
These are the people who worked with me almost every day during my
presidency—and a lot of late nights as well!
• Our education programs are superb—let's build on this
Under the leadership of Dr. Deborah Hales, assisted by Kathleen Debenham
and Nancy Delanoche, we are extremely proud of the Education Summit that
brought together leaders in psychiatric education last month to develop a
strategic plan for medical education in psychiatry. (A report on the summit
will appear in the next issue.) Our new CME journal, Focus, is highly
regarded. Our annual meetings, under the direction of Cathy Nash and with the
support of an amazing staff—Jill Gruber, Vernetta Copeland, Gwynne
Jackson, Joan Hoy, Olga Damschen, and others—continue to be highly
valued by not only our members but also psychiatrists throughout the
• Our leaders are hardworking, dedicated colleagues.
We need to treasure our leaders. Members of APA's Assembly and Board of
Trustees and district branch and state association officers, executive
directors, and staff are all working to help our patients. We have a
streamlined governance, and we are working hard to achieve better outcomes for
our patients and our profession. We recognize the importance of APA as the
leading voice for American psychiatry and are unified in trying to make sure
that we are heard by policy-makers, funding agencies, and others regarding the
important academic, clinical, and educational needs of our members and our
• APA's affiliated organizations are providing us with a depth and
breadth to our organization that are remarkable.
These organizations include the American Psychiatric Institute for Research
and Education (APIRE), American Psychiatric Publishing Inc. (APPI), and the
American Psychiatric Foundation (APF). They provide an incredible richness and
diversity to our programs and capabilities. My thanks to the leaders of these
organizations—for APIRE, Dr. Herb Pardes and Dr. Darrel Regier; for
APPI, Dr. Tom Wise, Dr. Bob Hales, and Ron McMillen; and for APF, Dr. Altha
Stewart and Steve Rubloff.
• We are the sum of our parts.
Our allied psychiatric organizations and advocacy groups make APA stronger,
so that we can speak for all of psychiatry and our patients. I will not name
the groups because there are so many, and space is limited, but they all
contribute in important ways to APA's ability to address the many issues that
impact patient care and access, the profession of psychiatry, psychiatric
education, research, public education, and more.
I want to thank you, our members, for helping me do my job throughout the
year. Many of you sent e-mails, called, and wrote letters to let me know what
was important to you and to your patients. You identified issues that you
believed APA needed to review so that you could fight harder and smarter with
your local legislators and other groups. I know that many of you volunteered
precious time to work on behalf of APA—on both the national and local
levels—and for that I sincerely thank you.
There is still much to do. We will be in the excellent hands of Dr. Steven
Sharfstein as our next APA president. Thank you for an incredible year.▪