My second quarter as APA president has been, in my opinion, very productive
and effective. In this column I'd like to highlight some of the activities
undertaken and issues successfully addressed during this period.
To start with, APA's 2006 Institute on Psychiatric Services (IPS), held
last October in New York City, was the best institute ever conducted in its
58-year history. The attendance was close to 2,300 and included more than
1,000 APA members. I will not dwell on the details of this scientific meeting,
since I devoted a column to this very successful event in the January 5
The November 2006 meeting of the APA Assembly was also quite successful,
and my report to this body was well received by the Assembly members and
leadership. The presentation by Dr. Suzanne Vogel-Scibilia, president of the
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), and the discussion that followed
very much helped to integrate my priorities for my presidential
year—that is, improving access to care, achieving parity for coverage of
mental illness treatment, and ensuring humane care for all Americans.
The presentations of Dr. T.K. Li, director of the National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, at the Board of Trustees meeting in October, and
of Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, at
the Board meeting in December, were outstanding and helped to cement further
the relationship between APA and the federal institutes.
Also at its October meeting, the Board approved expanding the role of the
Assembly on the Board by granting voting rights to the speaker-elect. This
decision, in my opinion, will greatly benefit the Board and Assembly
relationship. In addition, an excellent report from the Task Force to Review
Psychiatric Needs in Underserved Areas was presented by the task force's
chair, Dr. Nada Stotland, and approved by the Board. The Board also renewed
the contract of APA's medical director, Dr. Jay Scully, for seven years.
At both the October and December Board meetings, substantial progress was
made with respect to the planning process of DSM-V. The
DSM-V Task Force (steering body) and the planning of the
DSM-V work groups moved ahead very nicely. It is my hope that by the
Board's meeting in March, all members of the DSM-V work groups will
be in place and at work. This project, as you all well know, is an essential
piece of APA's future.
Prior to the December Board meeting, the leadership of APA and NAMI came
together in a "summit meeting." The outcome was a full commitment
from both organizations to collaborate in areas of common interest focusing on
patient care issues. A joint group was appointed to develop a strategic plan
to work on parity, access to care in the Veterans Affairs system, and Medicaid
expansion at the state level (Psychiatric News, January 19).
Likewise, a preliminary social gathering of the leadership of our
Association and the American Psychological Association took place the next
evening. A Board work group led by Dr. Stotland was appointed to explore
potential areas of collaboration based on common interests and focused on
Four other major reports were also presented at the December Board meeting.
The report presented by Dr. Marcia Goin, chair of the Work Group on
Subsidiaries, led to the approval of appointing each of APA's three immediate,
voting, past presidents to the Board of Directors of one of APA's three
subsidiaries (American Psychiatric Publishing Inc., American Psychiatric
Institute for Research and Education, and American Psychiatric Foundation).
This decision will improve the communications and policy decisions between APA
and the three subsidiaries.
The report presented by Dr. David Fassler, chair of the Board Work Group on
Public affairs, led to the Board's approving a reorganization and expansion of
APA's public Affairs activities. The third report, also presented by Dr.
Fassler, chair of the Board Work Group on Parity, led to the approval of
making parity a very high priority among the issues to which APA's legislative
activities will be directed.
The fourth report was presented by Dr. William Carpenter, chair of the
Board Work Group on APA's Relationship With Commercial Entities, and was very
well received by Trustees, who referred it to APA's Council on Education and
Lifelong Learning and Division of Education for implementation.
I should underscore once more that I would not have been able to accomplish
so much in such a short time if it were not for the outstanding support that I
have received so far from the Board, Assembly, APA staff (especially the
medical director), and, above all, you, the APA membership. It continues to be
an honor for me to serve our organization and profession. ▪