Government News
American Psychiatric Foundation Bolsters Mission of APA
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 7 page 4-4

FIG1 This year marks the 15th anniversary of the American Psychiatric Foundation (APF), the educational and philanthropic arm of APA. In leading an organization of the size and complexity of APA, leveraging the unique strengths of each of our subsidiary organizations is crucial to our overall success. Over the years, the foundation has matured into a valued partner in our work on behalf of the profession of psychiatry and our patients.

The foundation bolsters APA's mission, fostering a collaborative relationship in key areas including public education about mental illness and its treatment, research to improve access to care, mental health in underserved communities, outreach to medical students, and disaster-recovery efforts.

In 2005 the APF awarded more than $250,000 in grants to community-based organizations whose innovative programs promote the early recognition and treatment of mental illness. From high schools to college campuses, from remote rural communities to urban neighborhoods, the foundation supports initiatives that combat stigma, provide accurate information about mental illness, and encourage people in need to seek treatment.

A $700,000, five-year APF grant to the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education (APIRE) will be used to assess barriers to mental health care and identify strategies to improve access to treatment. Foundation funding has enabled APIRE to pursue projects concerned with improving quality of care and access to evidence-based psychiatric treatments, improving treatment of depression in primary care and psychiatric practice settings, and advancing the treatment of schizophrenia.

The APF has responded to unmet needs by creating grants and awards that encourage medical students, psychiatrists, and mental health professionals to work with underserved populations and make significant contributions to their communities.

The Helping Hands Grant Program, launched in 2005, serves the dual purposes of promoting psychiatry among medical students and supporting students' giving back to their communities through charitable mental health services. The first $5,000 Helping Hands grants were awarded to students at Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, New Jersey Medical School, and University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. These initiatives include student-run efforts to improve understanding of mental health issues among middle-school students, mental health literacy screening as part of routine health care at a community health center, and a program to improve identification and treatment of postpartum mood disorders. The grants are supported through an unrestricted educational grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc.

To recognize the outstanding work of psychiatrists and mental health professionals in raising awareness of mental illness and increasing access to care in underserved minority communities, the foundation annually presents the APF Awards for Advancing Minority Mental Health to clinicians and programs. Four recipients each receive a $5,000 award. The 2005 recipients were Alejandro (Alex) Kopelowicz, M.D., of Granada Hills, Calif.; the Family Practice and Counseling Network Behavioral Health Department of Philadelphia, Pa.; Terry Reilly Health Services Farmworker Mental Health Program in Nampa, Idaho; and United Indian Health Services of Arcata, Calif. The awards were made possible by an unrestricted educational grant from Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc.

In response to the devastating impact of hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, the APF and APA collaboratively formed the Disaster Relief Fund for Psychiatrists to assist psychiatrists and psychiatry residents who have been adversely affected by disasters such as hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. This initiative provides grant funding of up to $2,500 to allow psychiatry residents to continue their medical training and to help psychiatrists rebuild their practices.

The breadth of the foundation's work grows each year, as does its value to APA. I encourage you to join your colleagues in supporting these efforts through a charitable, tax-deductible contribution to the foundation. For more information, visit the APF Web site at<www.psychfoundation.org>.

We value your ideas, support, and membership! ▪

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