In retrospect it may be no surprise that I became a psychiatrist, although
I was not sure I could attend college, much less medical school. I was raised
in northwest Montana by my divorced mother, grandparents, and two stepfathers.
My first stepfather was a logger. We moved often. My family experienced
poverty, alcoholism, depression, even suicide.
Frequent moves and multiple schools made socialization difficult, but I
excelled academically. When I was 15, an educator asked whether I had
considered medicine as a career. A fire was ignited, although it was a
circuitous route to medical school. After putting myself through college and
graduate school, I moved to Washington and worked while taking pre-med
I entered medical school considering surgery or medicine but found
psychiatry challenging, and believed I could help suffering patients. In
residency I met my husband, from an Eastern family of psychiatrists. We shared
a love of academic and clinical psychiatry and the outdoors. We started
careers at Denver General; later, I moved to the university. When our twins
were born, I entered private practice. We have raised three children, one
daughter entering medical school and another taking pre-med. Our son is
interested in public policy.
Grateful to have risen from my background, I strive to give back and
encourage others. A clinical professor, I teach medical students and as an
ABPN examiner work for professional standards. I advocate for psychiatry in
Colorado, APA, and the Assembly, particularly to improve access to care
(scarce in my childhood) and to help our members work. Additionally, I
volunteer for my community and college and have been honored as a
Distinguished Alumnus(a) and a "5280 Top Doc" by medical
I believe we must all give back. In the final analysis I hope my"
best job" has been raising children who will give back.
We are the Assembly, not red and blue DBs. We may be from different regions
with problems unique to rural or urban areas, but we are an institution united
to advocate for our patients and profession. I am honored to be a candidate
for Assembly recorder.
In the years I have served as Colorado representative, this Assembly has
evolved to a position of greater effectiveness and power sharing, especially
with the BOT. Recently it appeared we were being marginalized and in danger of
inadequate funding. Appointed to a special task force, I participated in
brainstorming. Our voices were heard. Assembly representation on the BOT has
increased, and a more balanced APA budget has secured Assembly financing. Yet
some DBs remain underfinanced, and with the new grant protocol, not all DBs
receive funds. I favor some return to the block grants for more equitable
revenue sharing, a solution some on the Council on Member and DB Relations
Inadequate funding threatens not just our DBs but our profession at its
roots. Decreasing reimbursements, access limitations, and aggressive efforts
of nonphysicians to expand scope of practice interfere with our members'
ability to care for patients and demoralize many. In many arenas (Assembly
floor, reference committees, and councils), I have voiced my views and vision,
particularly about the negative impact of managed care and the need for
parity. As chair of the Managed Care Committee during very contentious times,
I favored meeting with the major managed behavioral health companies—not
because I agreed with their draconian measures, but because I believe in
dialogue. I believe if you don't talk, you don't accomplish. I learned to
mediate significant differences of opinion while allowing participation of all
factions. These experiences are invaluable to Assembly leadership.
I support greater diversity in our leadership, reflecting gender,
ethnicity, and sexual orientation. We have become more inclusive (ECPs, MITs,
and allied organizations). But we can do better.
I believe we have consensus about many problems: threats to patients due to
psychologists' prescribing, managed care, the need for full parity, universal
coverage, confronting stigma, and the misperception of psychiatry. But we do
not have universal solutions. We are thinkers and talkers. We can do this
together. I ask for your vote.
The following is a list of my Assembly and APA activities: