Association News
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 8 page 11-11

FIG1 Scranton, Pa., is my hometown, and I grew up amid a loving, extended family. I lived, worked, and studied in Belgium for 10 years, between B.A. and M.A. degrees in literature and art at Pitt and Columbia, and Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Psychiatry residency was at the Institute of Pennsylvania Hospital, where I was chief resident and attending psychiatrist. Since 1988, I have maintained a private practice in general and adolescent psychiatry and psychoanalysis.

I served as director of medical student education at the Institute, and also supervised and taught courses for the residents, and was active in AAP and ADMSEP. I am on the faculties of the University of Pennsylvania and the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, and on the Committee on University and Medical Education of the American Psychoanalytic Association.

In 2003, I became regional medical director for mental health care in the Philadelphia prison system, where I took on the responsibility of reorganizing a large system with four treatment levels, earning accreditation by NCCHC. I am now at the Horsham Clinic Child and Adolescent Acute Partial Hospitalization Program.

I've been on the Executive Council of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society almost continually since 1987 and was DB president in 1998-99. I chaired numerous committees and remain a member of the PPS Ethics and Disaster committees as well as Assembly rep.

Since 2000, I've served on the APA Scientific Program Committee, chairing the subcommittees on workshops and clinical case conferences, and was vice chair of the 2004 annual meeting in New York. Other APA work includes the Committee on DB Relations, Work Group to Study the Dues, Task Force on Revenue Sharing, and the APA and Assembly Nominating Committees. For two years I chaired the Assembly Reference Committee on Enhancing the Scientific Basis of Psychiatric Care/Governance.


Dear Fellow Psychiatrist: Why do we belong to a professional organization? The answer used to be collegiality, mutual enrichment, professional identity. While these are still true, I think the best answer nowadays is advocacy. For example, when I was president of the Pennsylvania Psychiatric Society, we sued a group of insurers. We improved credentialing practices for our members, and new federal case law was written, establishing the right of professional organizations to sue on behalf of their patients. We cannot accomplish as individuals what we do when we stand together.

Yet one achievement can dim in comparison to constant attempts to undermine or interfere with good clinical practice, to curtail the crucial flow of research funding, to legislate what hasn't been earned through rigorous training. It is rare for a district branch alone to be successful; we look to APA's Government Relations to help us in Washington and at home. Hundreds of members volunteer their time to be a part of our system of trustees, councils, components, and task forces. APA reaches out to partner with other national organizations advocating for those who cannot possibly counter, on their own, forces that impinge on care. Our members, through personal service, through contributions to special APA funds, bring disaster relief to the South, where we must ensure that offices, clinics, and training programs are reestablished.

The Assembly consists of voting representatives from every district branch, every allied organization, minority and underrepresented membership, and national ECP and MIT delegations. Ideas calling for action in areas of vital concern to members are brought forth, discussed and debated, and sent throughout APA. I believe that the Assembly, with its forum for reaching national consensus, should have an even greater role in the prioritization of our APA resources—thoughtful prioritization, based on the shared knowledge of local needs and experiences, the health of our organization, and considered investment in the future of our profession. And I believe a good leader facilitates consensus, and promotes and sustains the group will in forward movement.

There is an evolving trend in our governance that I have seen through personal experience. In the late 1990s, APA presidents began to invite various DB presidents-elect to speak to the Board and to convene annual DB officer orientations. Mutual, direct information exchange was the beginning of much-needed growth, addressing stagnation in our membership and morale. The first Committee on District Branch Relations was founded, provisions were made for equitable infusions of APA funds into local activities, and there is now a substantial revenue-sharing item embedded in our annual budget. I believe that every aspect of APA has been going through this process of increasing relevance to individual members.

I want to continue in this direction, for I believe our strength comes from our base, from our membership upwards. A strong, well-functioning Assembly is the organizational epitome of individual expression transformed and enhanced by group process. I would be honored to serve you well in the office of its recorder.

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