For six days in May, more than 17,000 psychiatrists and others learned that
the notion of Southern hospitality is far more than a long-lived stereotype as
they sampled Atlanta's diverse cultural offerings, dining choices from haute
to down home, and rich history during APA's 2005 annual meeting.
And that was just the icing on a meeting that provided hundreds of
opportunities to learn the latest in cutting-edge brain science and every
imaginable aspect of the field of psychiatry from starting a practice to
closing one, and from treating children to treating the elderly. Many of the
sessions focused on the meeting's theme, "Psychosomatic Medicine:
Integrating Psychiatry and Medicine," which was chosen by APA President
Michelle Riba, M.D.
In her last formal address as president, Riba highlighted the success APA
achieved in the last 12 months in several key areas such as improving mental
health on college campuses, strengthening psychiatric education, and battling
psychologists' push for prescribing privileges.
Her successor, Steven Sharfstein, M.D., challenged psychiatrists to place
themselves in the vanguard of reforming a health care system that has gone
badly astray. He emphasized the need for psychiatrists to engage in advocacy
that will lead to restoring patients' needs to the prominent place they merit
on the nation's health care agenda—an arena in which insurers and
pharmaceutical companies now wield far too much decision-making power.
Next year's annual meeting will move north of the border to Toronto, always
one of the most popular meeting sites with APA members.