As you may have already suspected, APA's 2007 annual meeting in San Diego
is very important to me, and I hope it will be for you as well. I was elected
APA president by 74 percent of the vote, so I not only wish but
expect to see many of you in San Diego.
In this column, I will highlight the features of the 2007 annual meeting
that I hope will persuade you to register for the meeting now and
start making your travel plans. The program has been drafted with you in mind,
around the rallying flag of "Addressing Patient Needs: Access, Parity,
and Humane Care."
I have planned a series of Presidential Symposia on key topics representing
some of my own scientific priorities and presidential initiatives for this
year's meeting. Among them: "The APA International Symposia on the Role
of Ethics in World Psychiatry," "Women Leaders in APA and
Beyond," and "Current Research Advances: APA/NIMH/NIDA/NIAAA/NAMI
Perspectives." Two other Presidential Symposia will be jointly held with
psychiatric organizations important on the world stage—"Health
Inequalities for Persons With Mental Problems and Intellectual
Disabilities," in collaboraton with the Royal College of Psychiatrists;
and "Focusing on European Psychiatry," in collaboration with the
Association of European Psychiatrists.
The William C. Menninger Memorial Lecture at the Convocation of Fellows
will be delivered by Nobel Laureate John F. Nash Jr., Ph.D., the brilliant
mathematician whose experience with mental illness was depicted in the 2001
film "A Beautiful Mind" (see box on page 2). Dr. Nash's
presence is a symbol of how I've approached the planning of this
meeting—putting patients at the center of my theme.
At many annual meetings, one of the federal institutes collaborates with
APA on presenting a special track of sessions that translate research findings
into clinical practice. This year, it's the National Institute on Drug Abuse
(NIDA) that is working with us to present cutting-edge information on the
science and treatment of addictions. Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA's director, will be
one of the main lecturers in the track (see page 14). Topics include
obesity and drug addiction, drug treatment in the criminal justice system,
functional assessment of the adolescent brain, the role of prenatal nicotine
exposure as a developmental vulnerability, and factors involved in the
comorbidity of substance abuse and psychiatric disorders.
The psychiatrists selected to participate in this year's Distinguished
Psychiatrist Lecture Series are Dr. William Carpenter, Dr. John Krystal, Dr.
Dolores Malaspina, and Dr. Leah Dickstein. Dr. Dickstein will dedicate her
lecture to the late Dr. Marian Butterfield, who was active in APA since
serving as the member-in-training trustee in the mid-1990s. More recently, she
chaired the Scientific Program Committee for the 2004 and 2005 annual
meetings. Those of us who had the privilege to know and work with her are
saddened to have lost a caring friend and dedicated colleague way too
Two well-known advocates for people with mental illness in the poltical
arena will present lectures as part of the Outside Lecture Series: U.S. Rep.
Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Kitty Dukakis, wife of former Massachusetts Gov.
and presidential candidate Michael Dukakis (see page 2). Rep. Kennedy has
long been a supporter of mental health parity in Congress, and Mrs. Dukakis
recently published another book about her experience with mental illness,
Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy.
With its rich Spanish heritage, San Diego is the ideal place to host an
event that has particular meaning for me: Hispanic Day, a daylong scientific
and social event that will be held Saturday, May 19 (see
page 31). Symposia are
being presented by APA's Committee of Hispanic Psychiatrists, American Society
of Hispanic Psychiatry, Latin American Psychiatric Association, and Spanish
Psychiatric Society. All APA members are invited to attend; registration is
Another event new to the annual meeting was created with the future of
psychiatry in mind. On Tuesday evening, May 22, APA's Division of Education
will host a joint reception with representatives of academic departments of
psychiatry. I expect this event to become a valuable addition to the meeting
because it offers a rare opportunity to bring psychiatry educators together to
get to know one another and thus encourage communication and exchange of ideas
on an ongoing basis.
Don't forget to take some time out from scientific sessions to move your
mind from the cognitive realm to the emotional: Dr. Richard Kogan will once
again delight us with a piano performance and discussion of the psychological
underpinnings of a musical genius in a forum on Monday, May 21, at noon. This
year Dr. Kogan will perform the music of Leonard Bernstein, with particular
focus on "West Side Story," and elaborate on the interplay of this
great musician's mind and his compositions.
As this issue of Psychiatric News will show you, APA's 2007 annual
meeting will be a memorable one. Please take time to peruse the preliminary
program and learn more about the beautiful city in which you'll be staying.
Remaining indoors in the San Diego Convention Center may be the biggest
challenge you'll face all week!
As your president and friend, what will make me most happy is to see as
many APA members as possible in San Diego in May. I look forward to this hope
becoming reality. ▪