From the President
I Am My Mother's Daughter
Psychiatric News
Volume 43 Number 11 page 3-3

In this, my inaugural presidential column, I thought I would introduce myself. Some of you know me personally, but most of you don't.

I was born in Chicago, where I have lived for 63 of my 64 years. After our father died, my t wo younger brot hers and I were raised by our mother. She had rebelled against her Orthodox Jewish family, participated in the famous International Harvester strike, and probably flirted with joining the Communist Party. She remained a devout and active leftist. She was also fascinated by psychoanalysis and fond of making unwelcome interpretations of our behavior.

My husband, Harold, and I met in statistics class in college in 1961, when we were 20 and 17 years old, respectively. Unlike our daughters and their friends, I was in a big hurry to have a family. After Harold finished law school, we had an income and could afford a nanny. We managed to time my first pregnancy so that I would deliver on the "off quarter" between my third and fourth years of medical school. But I hated being separated from our toddler during my every-third-night-on-call pediatric internship, and a year after having a second daughter and finishing my PGy-3, I took a leave of absence, which stretched out for eight years and included two more daughters. I cherish the luxury of those years, and I wish all my young colleagues could afford to combine psychiatry and parenting, two supreme experiences, as they wish.

After finishing my psychiatry residency, over the years I have covered the educational spectrum: both psychoanalytic training and a master of public health degree. On the University of Chicago faculty, I was director first of the consultation-liaison service and then of the Office of Psychiatric Education, both medical school and residency. Next, I worked for the State of Illinois Department of Mental Health as medical coordinator for mental health services (essentially chief medical officer). My last job was as chair of the Department of Psychiatry at a large community teaching hospital. So I have come to the APA presidency with experiences in common with most of you: in academia, the public sector, the private office, and the general hospital, encompassing education, clinical care, policy, and administration. Currently I have a small practice, occasionally serve as an expert witness on a variety of issues, and get paid to do some writing and lecturing. Serving as APA president-elect in the past year was nearly a full-time job, and I know the coming year will be even busier.

My practice and academic focus is on psychiatric aspects of women's reproductive health. My mother's daughter, I have a deep commitment to the underserved and unserved, to the interests of women and underrepresented minorities. I know that there is a wide spectrum of interests and priorities among APA member s. Some of you think APA's main responsibilit y is to improve your professional lives: decrease your hassles, increase your incomes. Others think APA should concentrate on advocating for people with mental illnesses, particularly those least able to advocate for themselves. Both those positions have my attention and respect.

I've worked my way through most of the governance of APA. I know how APA works, but most of you may be unfamiliar with its inner workings. It is my responsibility as your president to represent all the members of APA: to let you know what we are doing, which is a very great deal, and to learn what you need us to do. I hope to meet many of you as I travel around the country and the world in the coming year. I will take your concerns to the other elected leaders and staff of APA, to the media, and to the halls of government.

Now that I've introduced myself, I'm hoping you will feel comfortable contacting me when you have a question or concern. My e-mail address is nstotland@psych.org.▪

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