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From the President
Hundreds of Members Volunteer Expertise on Behalf of Patients At APA's Fall Component Meetings
Psychiatric News
Volume 41 Number 22 page 3-3

FIG1Earlier this fall, about 400 APA members gathered in Washington, D.C., to labor intensively on behalf of their fellow APA members, our patients, and the profession of psychiatry. The occasion was APA's annual fall component meetings, where members of APA's councils, committees, task forces, and work groups use their collective knowledge and experience to study the many issues that impact our profession and patients and then set strategies to address them.

This year's meetings, which I helped organize, were very satisfying. I was pleased to see the faces of the dozens of new members whom I had appointed during my year as president-elect. Together these faces show the diversity of the APA membership in terms of ethnicity, race, gender, age, country of origin, country of training, and sexual orientation. The sum of their life experiences and unique perspective that each brings to their APA work will help us be more sensitive to the needs of all mentally ill people and the barriers to care they face so that we can work to improve access to high-quality psychiatric treatment.

Needless to say, all of APA's component members worked very hard during the fall meetings, and I'd like to thank them for taking time away from their practices and their families to work as volunteers for their Association. At a group reception for component members, I had the opportunity to share ideas and feelings with old and new colleagues, as well as to relax and have some well-deserved fun during a long weekend of intense work.

One of my assignments as president of APA was to organize the plenary session following the group breakfast on Saturday morning. For this year's session, I invited three individuals to make presentations on high-priority areas for our Association:

Another individual spoke at the fall meetings on the importance of psychiatrists' involvement in the legislative process—Rep. Charles Norwood (R-Ga.). At a group luncheon, the dentist and cosponsor of federal mental health parity legislation told attendees that physicians need to be involved in advocacy efforts "to protect the patients in this country from an increasing third-party presence."

Finally, I was particularly pleased to see so many members-in-training—about 75 in all—participate in the fall meetings. Including psychiatry residents and fellows in all aspects of our organization is an investment in psychiatry's and APA's future. Those of us involved in residency education should support their participation as an important part of the educational experience.

The conclusion of the fall meetings marks the start of months of intense labor interspersed by phone and e-mail communication among our component members. I am grateful not only to them, but also to the many other members who serve APA at the local level, for stepping up to the plate and giving something back to their profession, with little recognition or reward.▪

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