I have regularly attended and been a presenter at APA's annual meeting for
close to 40 years. The 2006 meeting in Toronto, however, was quite special for
me, since I became president of APA at the end of the meeting.
The attendance at the meeting was excellent, with 18,360 registrants. The
number of psychiatrists, psychiatry residents, and medical students totaled
15,173; of this number, 5,591 were APA members. The highest number came from
New York, at 750, followed by California at 419, Pennsylvania at 298, and
Massachusetts at 246.
To crunch the registration numbers further, of the 1,276 psychiatry
residents who attended the meeting, 67 percent were APA members, and of the
191 medical-student registrants, 42 percent were APA members.
A remarkable success of the Toronto meeting was the number of international
psychiatrists who attended—7,588, representing 88 countries. Of that
total, 1,372 were APA members. Canadian registrants totaled 1,606, of whom 744
were APA members. Besides Canada, the highest number of international
registrants came from Spain (594) and the Netherlands (451).
While I am very pleased with the turnout of the meeting—particularly
the newest members of the profession and those who aspire to join us
someday—I would like to see more APA members at future meetings. The
attendance of APA members reached high points at the meetings for which I
chaired the Scientific Program Committee—the 1999 meeting in Washington,
D.C., at 7,322, and the 2000 meeting in Chicago at 6,631. For those meetings,
I had made an effort to reach out to APA members and encourage them to attend.
I have asked the members of this year's Scientific Program Committee to look
for ways to do the same for the 2007 meeting, which is being held in San Diego
May 19 to 24. That APA members attend our annual meeting is important to the
organization and the field of psychiatry, but also to me. APA belongs to its
members, and I want to be sure that I and other leaders in the Association are
providing opportunities for you to share your issues and concerns—and
successes—with us and giving you the kind of CME experience that exposes
you to the latest research findings in psychiatry and their application to
And how did these thousands of registrants stay busy during the meeting's
six days? There were about 600 scientific sessions and hundreds more new
research offerings. A highlight of this year's program was a track of sessions
organized by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism on the
theme "Rethinking Alcohol Use Disorders: Science, Diagnosis, Treatment,
In addition, there were 99 CME courses, and almost three-fourths of the
available seats were filled. One interesting note is that APA members
accounted for 68 percent of course registrants compared with 37 percent of the
overall meeting registrants. Undoubtedly, APA members value the topics and
content of the courses offered at our annual meetings; we need to pay more
attention to that fact in planning future meetings. Another interesting note
is that 62 percent of the attendees at the industry-supported symposia were
APA members. Despite the concerns about the involvement of the pharmaceutical
industry at our annual meetings, 97 percent of the registrants who responded
to the meeting's evaluation survey agreed that the content of these symposia
was excellent and balanced.
These were among the reasons that respondents said they attended the 2006
As we look to the future, we need to pay attention to what we have learned
from the attendees at the Toronto annual meeting. Undoubtedly, our annual
meeting has become the "premier" scientific meeting for
psychiatrists not only in the United States but also in the whole world. This
success, however, also carries a major responsibility. We must strive to
provide information collected through scientifically rigorous methods in an
environment of professional integrity and exacting ethical standards. As your
president, I look forward to providing the necessary leadership to achieve
this goal. I will also do my best not only to maintain the number of
international psychiatrists who come to our annual meeting but also to
increase the attendance of our U.S. members.
As you may know by now, my theme for the 2007 annual meeting is"
Addressing Patient Needs: Access, Parity, and Humane Care." To
me, access, parity, and humane care—especially humane care—are key
ingredients to the delivery of care that is high quality. It is through
research that knowledge is created, and through education that it is
disseminated and translated into high-quality care. I look forward to seeing
all of you in San Diego next May. ▪